Who's Florida's next governor? Revisiting last week's first look at the race
Bottom Line: With the primaries behind us and the general election around the corner we’re starting to receive our first round of general election data. Florida’s two biggest races this year are exact opposites of one another. A year ago, just about everyone thought we’d have a Nelson vs Scott match-up for the US Senate. A race featuring two of the biggest names in Florida politics. Conversely, a year ago, few Floridians were even familiar with the names Gillum and DeSantis let alone of the belief that they’d be their party nominees. First up Florida’s senate race:
We’ve had four polls roll in within the past week and the initial general election race couldn’t be any closer. In three of the four polls the race is tied and in the difference is only 1%. Here’s an average of the four.
- Nelson: 47%
- Scott: 47%
- Undecided: 6%
Somewhat notable is that for a month prior to the primaries, Governor Scott led every poll over Senator Nelson. Now that the primaries are behind us and most voters are engaged or engaging we’ve seen the race tighten up and Nelson with an ever so slight lead. Of course, Governor Scott isn’t accustomed to anything other than super-close races having won twice by 1%. Nelson hasn’t faced a serious challenger since his initial race in 2000, so it’s unclear how late breaking voters might break in this race. Switching gears to our Governor's race.
We’ve also had three polls roll in post-primaries and they’ve all pointed in the same direction. An initial advantage for Andrew Gillum. Here’s an average of those three.
- Gillum: 48%
- DeSantis: 45%
- Undecided: 7%
So, this race is a toss-up but with Gillum in the preferred position at the onset. Of these two races this is the one that I think could be susceptible to the most volatility in polling leading up to Election Day given the lower profile of both of these candidates statewide. This race has already been nationalized and will continue to be which also represents potential unknowns. Worth mentioning is that the Republican candidate for governor in Florida generally benefits from undecided voters on Election Day by just under 1%. That would mean that if we had a tied race on Election Day, DeSantis might have an advantage, but he starts this race needing to convince a majority of undecided voters of his candidacy. Something that was a strength of Gillum in the primary election.