A new poll released Tuesday morning shows a hypothetical matchup between Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott is a toss-up with the election just over a year away.
The poll conducted by the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab shows 37 percent of the registered voters surveyed said they plan to vote for Nelson, while 36 percent said they support Scott.
On the topic of job approval, 59 percent of those surveyed strongly or somewhat approve of the job Scott is doing as governor, 28 percent disapprove. Nelson’s approval rating stands at 35 percent, with 15 percent saying they disapprove.
What should be alarming to Nelson is that 49 percent, almost half of those surveyed, say they are not sure how Nelson is doing as a U.S. Senator.
“Like most statewide races in Florida, the senate race between Nelson and Scott is going to be too close to call all the way until Election Day,” said Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF. “The one major concern for Democrats has to be the public’s lack of awareness of Nelson. When a three-term sitting U.S. senator has almost half of the sample unable to assess his job approval, you have a problem.”
A poll conducted in February by UNF’s Opinion Research Lab had Nelson up by six percentage points over Scott.
The survey just released Tuesday was conducted between Oct. 11-17 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.39 percentage points.
Scott, who must step down as governor after next year due to term limits has not officially announced that he is running for the Senate, but he is expected to challenge Nelson.
A poll conducted by the Florida Chamber of Commerce last month showed Scott leading Nelson, 47 percent to 45 percent.
For more on the UNF survey, click here.