The race for the U.S. Senate in Florida between Gov. Rick Scott and incumbent Bill Nelson is a dead heat, according to a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University. Independent voters tend to make a difference in close races and the poll suggests that could be the case in this race.
“The Florida Senate race, one of the most important this election year, is a dead heat,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Sen. Bill Nelson, the Democratic incumbent, faces the most difficult challenge of his long political career. He is locked in a 49 – 49 percent contest with Republican Rick Scott, Florida’s governor.”
A breakdown of the numbers shows that men favor Scott by 53 – 45 percent, while women favor Nelson by an identical margin, 53 – 45 percent.
White voters support Scott 55 – 44 percent, while black voters back Nelson 90 – 5 percent. Hispanic voters support Scott 59 – 39 percent.
“The campaign is a prototype of our nation’s political environment: Democrat Nelson carries women and black voters, while Republican Scott wins among men and white voters,” Brown added. “The key in close elections like this one often lies with independent voters. So far, Sen. Nelson has the edge with this swing group. The candidate who holds those voters in November is likely to win.”
The Quinnipiac poll shows Nelson leading among independents, 56 – 43 percent.
Among Republicans, Scott holds a 92 -7 percent margins, while Nelson leads among Democrats 89 – 8 percent.
With two months to go before election, most of the voters say they’re minds are made up with 92 percent saying they are firm in their decisions.
Nelson’s approval rating stands at 49 – 43 percent, while his favorability rating is 48 – 42 percent. Meanwhile Scott’s approval rating is at 51 – 46 percent and his favorability rating is at 49 – 47 percent.
Nearly half of the voters surveyed, 46 percent, said President Donald Trump will be an influence in the Senate contest, while 26 percent say their vote will be used as a show of support for Trump and 25 percent say it will be a show of opposition to the president.
From August 30 – September 3, Quinnipiac University surveyed 785 Florida likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percentage points, including the design effect. Live interviewers call landlines and cell phones.