Mason-Dixon Florida poll shows Rubio holding early advantage over Demings

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and U.S. Rep. Val Demings

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – New data released Wednesday by Mason-Dixon Polling and Strategy gives U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, a lead over his challenger U.S. Rep. Val Demings, D-Florida, as he aims for a third term in the U.S. Senate.

Of 625 registered Florida voters who were interviewed via telephone statewide between Feb. 7 through Feb. 10, the data shows 49% support Rubio and 42% support Demings. The remaining 9% were undecided.

The news release from Mason-Dixon notes that an incumbent running below 50% often leaves the door open for a challenger to significantly tighten the race under the right circumstances.

“Party registered voters appear to be dug in along partisan lines and recent elections suggest that pattern is likely to hold. The key for Demings to pull off an upset will be the ability to attract more unaffiliated voters,” the poll notes.

As of the poll’s release, independents were backing Rubio by 10 points (47%-37%).

The data shows that statewide, 95% of voters recognize Rubio and 68% are familiar with Demings. The poll notes that gap will shrink by the later stages of the race.

Additionally, Mason-Dixon notes that President Joe Biden’s low job approval rating with Florida voters will likely have a larger impact than name recognition.

Statewide, the poll’s data shows only 40% of Florida voters approve of Biden’s performance in office, while 55% disapprove. The remaining 5% are unsure.