New Poll: U.S. Senate and Governor’s Races Tight

A new poll shows Governor Rick Scott and Senator Bill Nelson are tied in the race for the U.S. Senate while Andrew Gillum narrowly leads Ron DeSantis in the race for Governor.

Governor’s Race

Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum leads Congressman Ron DeSantis 47%-45% in a new Gravis Marketing poll. Gillum’s lead is within the margin of error of ±2.8%. The lead expands to 51%-46% for Gillum when undecided voters are forced to choose one of the two candidates.

The survey of 1,225 registered, likely voters was taken August 29 and 30. That’s the same time when DeSantis was accused of making racially-charged remarks during an interview on Fox News. DeSantis denies his remarks were racially motivated but instead referred to Gillum’s progressive policy positions.

“Our polls have always showed Gillum was a serious primary contender.  I think the Democrat is much stronger than people realize,” said Doug Kaplan, Gravis Marketing President. “Unlike Gwen Graham, Gillum appears to have a more well-defined constituency which is a benefit.  Gillum has the chance to bring new voters and non-Presidential year voters out in droves such as Obama did in 2008 and, to a lesser extent, in 2012.”

According to the Gravis Marketing survey, Gillum leads among 18-29 year olds (42-35), 30-49 year olds (53-44). DeSantis and Gillum are tied among 50-64 year olds (47-47) and DeSantis leads among Floridians 65 and older (51-44%).

While Gillum has a base of support among liberals wing of his party and African-Americans, his surprise victory in the Democratic primary left him mostly unvetted in his position as Tallahassee Mayor, or his progressive ideology. Also largely unknown until after his win is the ongoing FBI investigation of public corruption within Tallahassee City Hall.

Senate Race

September Senate race

Senator Bill Nelson and Governor Rick Scott are locked at 47% in the new Gravis Marketing poll. When leaners are added in, Nelson leads 49-48. Both results are with the margin of error of ±2.8%.

Nelson’s approve/disapprove rating is tied at 44%/44%, while Governor Scott has a 52%-43% approval rating. Significant in the poll, Scott has a large lead among Florida Hispanics (57%-36%), a traditional base for Democrats. Nelson leads among African-Americans (61%-26%). Scott narrowly leads among White voters 49%-47%.

“With the race focused on Gillum and DeSantis, it somewhat neutralizes Scott’s fundraising advantage and ability to self-fund,” said Doug Kaplan, Gravis Marketing President. “Nelson will also likely gain from an increased turnout of African American, Hispanic and millennial voters.”
Florida voters – both Democrats and Republicans – are clearly engaged in the 2018 midterm elections. Turnout for the 2018 primary elections spiked over previous years. Democrat turnout was up 35% compared to the 2016 primary election and 81% compared to 2014. Republicans also saw gains. The GOP primary increased 13.5% compared to the 2016 midterm election and a 71% increase over 2014.
If anything, the Gravis Marketing poll shows Florida remains a purple state that is deeply divided.