Gillum Leads DeSantis In New UNF Poll; Rick Scott And Bill Nelson Senate Race A Toss-Up

Oct 30, 2018

Andrew Gillum continues to lead in the latest governor’s race poll from the Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida.

The poll of likely voters, released Tuesday, shows 49 percent of respondents plan to vote for Gillum, the Democratic nominee, while 43 percent plan to vote for the Republican candidate, Ron DeSantis. Seven percent of voters said they are undecided.        

The margin of sampling error for the total sample is +/- 3 percentage points.  

Among non-party affiliates and other party likely voters, 56 percent plan to vote for Gillum, 31 percent for DeSantis and 13 percent are undecided. 

The poll also showed Sen. Bill Nelson with a slight lead over Gov. Rick Scott in the upcoming Senate election for the state of Florida. 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.

“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 6.”

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 regards to the election 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.

The survey also showed that a supermajority of respondents support restoring the voting rights of individuals with felony convictions after they have served their sentences, a measure known as Amendment 4. Sixty-nine 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,” said Binder.

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”. Sixteen percent don’t know how they will vote.

“The CRC 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 noted.

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. Four percent don’t know.

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