A new poll of likely voters produces similar results as previous polls have shown in the contests for governor and U.S. Senate.

The latest survey comes from the Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida. The poll shows Democrat Andrew Gillum holding a slim lead over Republican opponent Ron DeSantis in the contest for governor. In the race for U.S. Senate, Gov. Rick Scott and incumbent Bill Nelson are locked in a dead heat.

In their bid to be Florida’s next governor, Gillum holds a 4-point lead over DeSantis. Gillum received the support of 47 percent of the voters surveyed compared to 43 percent for DeSantis. Ten percent of the respondents are still undecided.

Among Democrats surveyed, 85 percent said they would vote for Gillum, with 6 percent saying they’ll go with DeSantis and 9 percent saying they aren’t sure who they are going to vote for. The poll shows 81 percent of Republican voters surveyed favor DeSantis, with 11 percent choosing Gillum and 8 percent undecided.

In the race for the U.S. Senate, the poll results indicate the contest is a tie. Scott was chosen by 45 percent of the voters, while Nelson also received 45 percent. Eight percent of the voters remain undecided.

The poll shows that of Republican voters surveyed, 83 percent say they will vote for Scott with 12 percent choosing Nelson. Just 4 percent say they are undecided. On the Democratic side, 78 percent claim they will vote for Nelson, while 9 percent say they go with Scott. Thirteen percent of the Democratic voters remain unsure who they will select when they cast their  ballots.

“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,” said Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF.

“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,” Binder added. “Historically, Florida has had very close statewide elections, and this year is shaping up to be no different.”

The poll was conducted between Sept. 17 and 19.  Overall, there were 654 completed surveys with a total of 616 likely Florida voters, 18 years of age or older. The margin of sampling error for the total sample is +/- 3.95 percentage points.

The UNF Public Opinion Research lab also surveyed voters about their views on Amendment 4, the automatic restoration of voting rights for ex-felons. It found the amendment had overwhelming support from the voters polled. Seventy-one percent of those voters asked say they would vote yes on the proposition, while 21 percent say they would vote no. Eight percent are undecided.

The amendment is required to receive the support of at least 60 percent of the voters in order to become part of the Florida Constitution.

A breakdown of voters by race shows 82 percent of African-American respondents indicated they would vote “yes” on the amendment, while 69 percent of white respondents and 65 percent of Hispanic respondents claimed they would vote “yes” on the proposal.

“These results reflect the status of African-Americans as the population most directly affected by Florida’s felon disenfranchisement laws,” said Natasha Christie, chair of the Department of Political Science and Public Administration at UNF. “With such a large majority of likely voters saying they would vote “yes” on Amendment 4, this indicates views on this issue are becoming more progressive overall throughout the state, regardless of race.”

The UNF poll also asked voters what are the most important issues of this year’s election. Twenty percent said education followed closely by health care and environment tied with 18 percent.

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