Governor Rick Scott’s lead over Senator Bill Nelson has swelled to six points, Scott’s largest lead to date. A new poll released Tuesday by the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative shows Scott leading Nelson 45 to 39 percent with 16 percent undecided in the November general election showdown. Scott has led in 5 of the 7 public surveys released since May. The Real Clear Politics poll of polls shows Scott with a 1.2% lead.
The FAU poll has some concerning trends for the three-term Democrat senator. Governor Scott leads among independents by 19%, 44-25. While Scott’s popularity rating is at 48%, Nelson is underwater with more voters disapproving of him than supporting him (35-36 percent).
Nelson has been in embroiled in controversy over comments he made in early August claiming Russians had penetrated an unknown number of county election systems. Governor Scott called Nelson out on that accusation, saying he either leaked classified information or wasn’t telling the truth. In a letter sent Monday night to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner, the heads of the FBI and Department of Homeland Security disputed Nelson’s claims.
A recent survey also found Nelson with just a single digit lead with Florida Hispanics, a key constituency for a Democrat running for statewide office. Add to that Governor Scott has more campaign cash on hand and is running TV commercials, as the new poll indicates, Nelson is in the biggest fight of his four-decade political career.