Tracking Time – An update on Florida’s biggest races
Bottom Line: We’re now just 46 days away from the general election and 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 three polls roll in within the past week. Here’s the current average.
- Nelson: 45%
- Scott: 45%
- Other 4%
- Undecided: 6%
Oddly we’re seeing third party support grow in this race which always causes me to be skeptical. Historically more people polled say they’ll vote for third party candidates than actually do so the challenge becomes figuring out how many are true third-party supporters and how many are simply not wanting to throw support behind Nelson or Scott with pollsters and determining how they’ll break on Election Day. Obviously, this remains a horse race, but the historical trends slightly favor Rick Scott. In other words, if this were to remain a tied race on Election Day, the outlook with late deciding voters would likely benefit the Governor.
Of course, Rick 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 had four new polls roll in over the past week and they’re still all pointed in the same direction. An advantage for Andrew Gillum. Here’s an average of the most recent polling.
- Gillum: 48%
- DeSantis: 43%
- Other: 2%
- Undecided: 7%
The trend is in and without a doubt Gillum is the front-runner. He’s continued his streak of leading in every post-primary poll and just as importantly we haven’t seen DeSantis move the needle with undecided voters as of yet. That’s especially important because if Gillum maintains support in the upper 40’s, Ron will need to consolidate almost all currently undecided voters. What remains a big unknown is what these people will do. There’s a vast policy difference in these two candidates with no overlap. Undecided voters at this stage likely don’t like the options in front of them. If that maintains by Election Day, what does a “lessor of two evils” vote look like? The DeSantis camp should be extremely concerned at this point.
With both candidates beginning to roll out more defined policy ideas the contrast in candidates will quickly become clear for anyone who wasn’t already clear.