UNF Poll: Gillum leads governor’s race, Senate race tied

A new poll by the University of North Florida (UNF) shows Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum leading former Congressman Ron DeSantis in the race for governor. Gillum leads 47% to 43%, just outside of the poll’s margin of error of +/- 3.95. This is the latest poll showing the Democrat leading the Republican candidate for governor.

The poll also shows a dead even race for the U.S. Senate between incumbent Senator Bill Nelson and Governor Rick Scott. Both candidates are tied at 45%.

This poll nearly mirrors a survey released last week by Florida Atlantic University.

“It’s still early in the election season, and even though Gillum has a small lead a lot can happen in the next 6 weeks. Nelson and Scott are currently tied, but one bit of hope for Nelson is that more Democrats are unsure who they will vote for – and partisans will come home in November. With polling numbers this close, the candidates that are most successful getting their voters to the polls are the ones who are going to win,” said Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF. “Historically, Florida has had very close statewide elections, and this year is shaping up to be no different.”

The UNF poll gives Republicans a projected 1.3% turnout advantage over Democrats (40.8 to 39.5) with independents making up nearly 20% of the electorate in Florida. This is more closely aligned with party turnout in past midterm elections in Florida.

In the governor’s race, Gillum is currently doing a better job winning his base in the Democratic Party, getting 85% support. In contrast, DeSantis only has support from 81% of registered Republicans.

The Senate race is as tight as every other recent poll has shown. Despite a wave of ads from Gov. Scott’s campaign hitting Sen. Nelson, the race is tied. With third party groups from both sides attacking each other, there’s no indication this race will change in the coming weeks.

In both races, independents will play a factor but 2018 appears to be a “base” race. Right now in the governor’s race, Gillum is winning that battle.