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UNF Poll: Gillum Leads In Governor’s Race; Nelson, Scott Tied

Campaign photos
Left to Right: Andrew Gillum (D), Ron DeSantis (R), Rick Scott (R), Bill Nelson (D)

Democrat Andrew Gillum has a slight lead over Republican Ron DeSantis in the upcoming Florida gubernatorial election while Sen. Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott are neck and neck in the Senate race, according to a new poll of likely voters from the Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida.

The poll shows that 47 percent of respondents say they plan to vote for Gillum while 43 percent plan to vote for DeSantis in the race for governor. Another 10 percent say they’re not sure who they’ll be voting for come November.


Related: UNF Poll Questions And Results


Among registered Democrats, 85 percent of respondents said they plan to vote for Gillum, six  percent for DeSantis and nine percent said they don’t know who they’ll vote for. Among registered Republicans who participated in the poll, 11 percent said they’ll vote for Gillum, 81 percent for DeSantis and 8 percent said they don’t know.


When it comes to the upcoming U.S. Senate race, 45 percent of likely voters said they’d be voting for the Democratic incumbent, Bill Nelson, and 45 percent said they’d vote for Republican Rick Scott. Another eight percent said they didn’t know who they would vote for.


Of likely voters who are registered Democrats, 78 percent said they will vote for Nelson, 9 percent said they’d vote for Scott, and 13 percent said they weren’t sure. Among registered Republicans, 12 percent said they plan to vote for Nelson, 83 percent said they’ll vote for Scott and 4 percent said they didn’t know who they would vote for.


“It’s still early in the election season and even though Gillum has a small lead, a lot can happen in the next six weeks. Nelson and Scott are currently tied, but one bit of hope for Nelson is that more Democrats are unsure who they will vote for and partisans will come home in November,” said Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF in an email to WJCT News. “With polling numbers this close, the candidates that are most successful getting their voters to the polls are the ones who are going to win. Historically, Florida has had very close statewide elections, and this year is shaping up to be no different.”


When respondents were asked what they thought the most important issue was in Florida, education led the way with 20 percent. That was closely followed by health care and the environment, both of which polled at 18 percent.


“Democrats across the state have been highlighting both health care and the environment, a message that appears to resonate with a lot of voters,” said Binder.


Brendan Rivers can be reached at, 904-358-6396 or on Twitter at @BrendanRivers.

Special Projects Producer Brendan Rivers joined WJCT News in August of 2018 after several years as a reporter and then News Director at Southern Stone Communications, which owns and operates several radio stations in the Daytona Beach area.