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UNF Poll: Nelson Slightly Leads Scott In Florida Senate Race

Nelson and Scott talk to reporters
Nelson (left) and Scott (right) talk to reporters.

Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) is in the lead, with Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott trailing close behind in a theoretical matchup for this fall’s U.S. Senate election, according to a UNF poll released Wednesday.
The Public Opinion Research Lab surveyed registered Florida voters. Of likely voters in 2018,  48 percent plan to vote for Nelson, while 42 percent plan to vote for Scott. About 7 percent don’t know who their choice will be.

Scott has not officially filed to run for Senate, but he is term-limited as Florida governor and has been widely rumored to be planning a run.

Asked whether they like or dislike the way Nelson is doing his job as senator, 52 percent of registered voters somewhat or strongly approve, with 20 percent disapproving. At the same time, 63 percent like how Scott is handling his job as Florida governor, with 31 percent disapproving.  

Head of the UNF Public Opinion Research Lab Dr. Michael Binder said the high level of job approval for both Senate candidates is unusual and points to a hotly contested race.  

“Even though it appears Nelson has a reasonable lead in the poll, the election results will

ultimately get determined by who shows up in November,” Binder said in a news release. “Historically, Republicans have enjoyed a turnout advantage in midterms, but with the current mood of the country, and a large number of Republican retirements, Democrats are optimistic about an impending blue wave.”

Nelson’s is the only Senate seat for Florida up for election this year. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is serving a term that ends in 2023.

The UNF poll also found 43 percent of respondents approve of the job President Donald Trump is doing, with 53 percent disapproving.