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UNF Poll: Rick Scott Vs. Bill Nelson For U.S. Senate Would Be A Close Match and WJCT News
Sen. Bill Nelson (R-Fla.) and Gov. Rick Scott (D-Fla.)

As political insiders look to whether term-limited Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) will run for the U.S. Senate, a new UNF poll out this morning shows that if he does, incumbent Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) will have a tough battle ahead.

The University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab’s survey asked registered voters about the hypothetical matchup. Registered Democrats in the poll intended to vote for Nelson at 66 percent, while 68 percent of registered Republicans said they would vote for Scott. 

“Like most statewide races in Florida, the senate race between Nelson and Scott is going to be too close to call all the way until Election Day,” said Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF.

Although many political observers believe Scott will run, he has not announced his candidacy.

The poll looked at job approval ratings with 59 percent strongly or somewhat approving of the job Scott is doing. Nelson’s approval rating was lower at 35 percent.

Registered voters were also asked about how they thought President Donald Trump is doing on the job. Fifty-nine  percent of voters questioned strongly or somewhat disapprove of how the president is handling his job.

Opinions varied widely when broken down by party with Trump scoring a 72 percent approval among registered Republicans but receiving a just 33 percent approval among registered Democrats.

“Donald Trump is just as divisive in Florida as he is across the rest of the country, but as long as he maintains support from Republicans, I wouldn’t expect any major changes in his administration,” Binder said.

The poll was conducted Wednesday, Oct. 11, through Tuesday, Oct. 17, with 838 completed surveys from Florida registered voters. UNF said the survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.39 percentage points.

To see the all the survey questions, including breakdowns by party along with a look at Sen. Marco Rubio’s (R-Fla.) approval ratings and a question about income taxes, click here.

For crosstabs by partisanship, sex, age, race, and education click here.

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.