Important headlines for July 16th – Nelson's right not to worry about current polling
Bottom Line: These are stories you shouldn't miss and my takes on them...
Hot Take: With the stakes in Florida and across the country this midterm election cycle this year, all high profile races seem to be gaining additional attention. This race is one of them. What I'm about to say is an oversimplification that's likely true. If Rick Scott beats Bill Nelson in this race it's all but certain that Republicans will control the Senate next year. The inverse isn't necessarily true given that Democrats already hold this seat, but it'd be a big win over a battle-tested and big time Republican in Rick Scott that'd likely indicate other key wins for Dems nationally. Now here's the thing. Nelson's generally right to shrug off much of the polling that's out there right now. You need look back no further than his last election to see why.
On July 16th 2012, Connie Mack held an average 3% lead over Bill Nelson in this race. No, Connie did not have the track record that Rick Scott does coming into this race, and yes there were new skeletons that emerged before the general election but there's a point to be made here... General election polling prior to primaries aren't highly predictive of outcomes. In that same 2012 race Nelson was leading by an average of 7% a month later after the August primaries in Florida and went on to win that race by 13%. That's a 16-point turnaround from today's date through the general election.
So, using history as a guide, anyone who's reading a lot into current polling is getting ahead of themselves. Once we get past our primaries there's a much greater historical connection between polling and outcomes.