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UNF poll: Gillum leading DeSantis in governor's race

Sen. Bill Nelson narrowly leading Gov. Rick Scott in Senate race

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Democrat Andrew Gillum has a six-point lead over Republican Ron DeSantis heading into the last week of Florida's gubernatorial election in Florida, according to a new poll of likely voters by the Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida.

Ths same poll found Sen. Bill Nelson with the narrowest of leads over Gov. Rick Scott in the race for U.S. Senate.

The survey also shows that a supermajority of respondents support restoring the voting rights of individuals with felony convictions after they have served their sentences.

The poll, comprised of likely Florida voters, shows that 49 percent of respondents plan to vote for Gillum, the Democratic candidate in the upcoming election for Florida governor, while 43 percent plan to vote for the Republican candidate, DeSantis. 

Of those likely voters, 7 percent don’t know who their choice will be. Among Democrats, 87 percent indicate they plan to vote for Gillum, 7 percent for DeSantis and 6 percent don’t know where they’ll cast their vote. 10 percent of Republican likely voters say they will vote for Gillum, while 84 percent indicate they’ll vote for DeSantis; 7 percent don’t know. Among Non-Party Affiliates (NPA) and other party likely voters, 56 percent plan to vote for Gillum, 31 percent for DeSantis and 13 percent are undecided.

Race for governor poll

In the U.S. Senate race, when asked who they would vote for if the election were held today, 47 percent of likely voters indicated they would vote for Nelson, the Democratic candidate, 46 percent would vote for Scott, the Republican and 7 percent didn’t know. Of Democratic likely voters, 81 percent claim they will vote for Nelson, while 9 percent for Scott; 7 percent don’t know. Among Republican respondents, 10 percent say they will vote for Nelson, 86 percent for Scott and 5 percent don’t know.

Race for U.S. Senate poll

The poll of 1,051 likely voters has a margin of error of +/-3 percent.

“Almost 3 million people have already voted, and Gillum is clearly leading in the gubernatorial race. The senate race with Nelson and Scott is neck and neck, and the few remaining undecided voters are going to play a pivotal role in the outcome,” said Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF. “The big leads that both Gillum and Nelson have among NPA/Others highlights the importance of having the right amount of independents in your poll. Currently, less than 18 percent of ballots cast have been by NPA/others, we estimate that number will be 19 percent by November 6th.”

When asked about the election for Florida attorney general, 47 percent plan to vote for Ashley Moody, the Republican, and 40 percent of respondents indicated that they would vote for Sean Shaw, the Democrat; 13 percent don’t know. In the race for the Florida commissioner of agriculture, 43 percent of likely voters plan to vote for Nikki Fried, the Democrat, 41 percent for Matt Caldwell, the Republican, and 17 percent don’t know.

“Moody appears to have a comfortable lead in the Attorney General race, but the Agricultural Commission race is much tighter. Fried has a small lead, but there are a lot of undecided voters in both of the lower information cabinet races,” Binder stated.

Additionally, the poll reveals that respondents continue to show high support for restoring felon voting rights. When asked whether they would vote “yes” or “no” on a proposition to restore the voting rights of Floridians with felony convictions, 69 percent of likely voters claimed they would vote “yes” on the proposition, with 23 percent voting “no.” Only 8 percent didn’t know how they would vote.

Regarding race, 93 percent of African-American respondents indicated they would vote “yes” on the amendment, while 66 percent of white respondents and 61 percent of Hispanic respondents claimed they would vote “yes” on the proposition.

“Compared to our most recent poll in September, support for Amendment 4 has slipped a couple of points, but it still remains well above the 60 percent mark required for passage. Republican support has fallen by 9 percent, most likely due to some prominent Republican candidates expressing hesitation about the amendment,” Binder said.

When likely voters were asked about banning offshore oil drilling and adding restrictions on vaping, 48 percent indicated that they would vote “yes,” while 36 percent say they will vote “no”. 16 percent don’t know how they will vote. Of Democratic likely voters, 55 percent say they will vote “yes,” 33 percent will vote “no,” and 12 percent don’t know. 38 percent of Republican likely voters say they will vote “yes,” 42 percent will vote “no,” and 20 percent don’t know. 

“The CRC (Constitution Revision Commission) bundled amendment that combines an offshore drilling ban and a workplace vaping ban has very little chance of passing based on these results. It’s extremely rare for a ballot measure to garner more support in an election than it does in polling leading up to the election,” Binder said.

Regarding Trump’s job approval, 45 percent of likely voters indicate that they approve of the way that Donald Trump is handling his job as president, while 51 percent disapprove. 4 percent don’t know. 

For details about the methodology of the survey and additional cross-tabs by sex, race, partisanship, education and age, visit http://www.unf.edu/coas/porl/2018FL2Fall.aspx

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013 and reports every weekday for The Morning Show.