With less than two weeks before the August 28 Republican Primary, a new poll shows the race between Ron DeSantis and Adam Putnam has tightened. The poll shows DeSantis leads 40% to 38% with 16% undecided. Conventional wisdom says to consider the poll an outlier because every other public poll shows DeSantis with a double-digit lead over Putnam in the governor’s race. Plus the current dynamics of the race wouldn’t have caused such a large shift in public opinion.
That being said, the polling company Survey USA has an “A” rating in FiveThirtyEight’s Pollster Ratings. The survey was conducted on behalf of Spectrum News Networks.
It interviewed 558 likely Republican primary voters over the past three days. The margin of error is +/- 5.2 percentage points.
The same reason Putnam is helped in this poll, could be the same reason Putnam is hurt on election day – voters 18-34. That age demographic favors Putnam over DeSantis 54-22. Republican primary elections tend to skew to an older demographic, which favors DeSantis.
The survey certainly has the ability to energize Putnam supporters who haven’t had a lot to cheer about lately. Putnam, the state’s Agriculture Commissioner, was the frontrunner in the race until President Donald Trump endorsed Congressman DeSantis in late June. Since then, the dynamics of the race have flipped. President Trump also came to Tampa in July to publicly endorse DeSantis. Putnam has been forced to go negative, running TV commercials critical of DeSantis’ support of a national sales tax. Putnam is currently running a positive TV commercial touting his “Florida First” campaign theme. For DeSantis, he’s running positive ads that mostly focus on Trump’s endorsement.
We’ll know soon enough if the Survey USA poll is an indicator of a shift in the race, or simply a bad poll. At least one other public poll is currently in the field and will be released in the coming days.