A new poll by Quinnipiac University shows Democrat Andrew Gillum building his lead to 9-points over his Republican opponent, Ron DeSantis. It’s the largest lead of the general election contest and marks the first time either candidate has surpassed the key 50 percent mark. The survey shows Gillum with a 54 percent to 45 percent lead over DeSantis.
The latest results by Quinnipiac reflect a 6-point increase in Gillum’s lead over the university’s last poll released on Sept. 4. In that poll, Gillum held a much narrower 50 percent to 47 percent lead.
What made the difference in the latest survey? Women and independent voters.
Women favor Gillum over DeSantis by 20 points, 59 percent to 39 percent. DeSantis holds a slight lead among men, 51 percent to 48 percent.
Independent voters favor Gillum by 16 points, 56 percent to 40 percent. Ninety percent of Republicans back DeSantis, while 96 percent of Democrats back Gillum.
Gillum also holds significant leads among black and Hispanic voters. African American voters favor Gillum 98 percent to 2 percent. Hispanic voters support him 59 percent to 41 percent. White voters favor DeSantis 53 percent to 45 percent.
Of those voters surveyed, a large number of them say their minds are made up. Ninety-four percent say are set as to who they’re going to vote for in November’s contest for governor.
“Former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis appears to be outspending Mayor Andrew Gillum, his Democratic opponent, in television advertising by a sizable amount, usually a sign of a winning campaign,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Yet, all these TV ads don’t seem to be helping DeSantis’ campaign.”
“Those TV ads, run in an effort to introduce DeSantis to Florida voters, are airing at the same time his favorability numbers are sinking and Mayor Gillum’s are rising,” Brown added.
The poll shows Gillum doing much better than DeSantis in the eyes of the voters with Gillum receiving a high favorability rating, 55 percent to 41 percent. DeSantis’ favorability rating is slightly negative at 42 percent to 47 percent.
“When asked whether they view each of the candidates favorably or unfavorably, Gillum’s rating is 24 percentage points positive, and DeSantis’ score is 5 points negative. At this point, Gillum’s biggest asset is just that voters like him better. DeSantis is spending a lot for TV commercials, but they don’t seem to be effective.”
This year’s governor’s race has pitted two candidates from opposite ends of the political spectrum, progressive Gillum and conservative DeSantis. Of those voters polled, 39 percent say Gillum is too liberal and the same number, 39 percent, believe DeSantis is too conservative. Fifty-four percent believe Gillum is neither too liberal nor too conservative, while 52 percent feel DeSantis is too liberal or conservative.
The Quinnipiac University survey also asked if race relations would improve in Florida depending on which candidate won the governor’s seat.
Only 25 percent of the voters said race relations would improve if Gillum would be elected, 27 percent felt they would get worse and 43 percent believed they would remain the same.
If DeSantis is elected, just 13 percent thought race relations would improve, 38 percent said they would get worse and 45 percent say they would remain as they are now.
The Quinnipiac University Poll conducts nationwide surveys and polls in more than a dozen states on national and statewide elections, as well as public policy issues. The poll was conducted from September 20-24 and surveyed 888 Florida likely voters. It has a margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points.