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Election 2018: Florida Senate

Florida Senate: Nelson (D) 45%, Scott (R) 44%

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and retiring Republican Governor Rick Scott are in a virtual tie in the hotly contested U.S. Senate race in Florida.

The first Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone and online survey of Likely Florida Voters finds Nelson with 45% support to Scott’s 44%. Five percent (5%) prefer some other candidate and six percent (6%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Among voters who say they are certain to vote in the upcoming election, Nelson leads 46% to 44%.

Forty-seven percent (47%) of voters in the Sunshine State say the upcoming election is a referendum on President Trump’s agenda, while slightly fewer (43%) say it’s more about the candidates and issues. This compares to 48% and 38% respectively among voters nationwide.   

Nelson leads 50% to 43% among voters who say the election is a referendum on Trump. Scott is ahead 49% to 40% among voters who see the election as more about the candidates and the issues.

Trump carried Florida in the 2016 election by just over a percentage point. Fifty percent (50%) of the state’s voters now approve of the job he is doing; 50% disapprove. This includes 40% who Strongly Approve and 43% Strongly Disapprove, giving the president a job approval index rating of -3. This is higher approval than he earns nationally in the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll.

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The survey of 800 Likely Voters in Florida was conducted on September 10-11, 2018 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Rasmussen Reports will release its first numbers on the Florida gubernatorial race tomorrow.

Scott, who is term-limited and stepping down after two terms as governor, earns 82% of the Republican vote in the state. Nelson, a member of the U.S. Senate since 2001, has 77% Democratic support and leads 49% to 31% among voters not affiliated with either major political party.

Scott leads among men; Nelson among women. The governor has the edge among middle-aged voters, while those under 40 and seniors prefer the incumbent. Nelson has a wide lead among blacks. Scott is ahead among whites, Hispanics and other minority voters.

Florida voters share similar opinions of both candidates. Nelson is viewed favorably by 48% and unfavorably by 42%. This includes 25% with a Very Favorable opinion and 25% with a Very Unfavorable one.

For Scott, favorables are 49%, unfavorables 45%, with 33% who hold a Very Favorable view of him and 30% who have a Very Unfavorable one.

Sixty-three percent (63%) of Florida voters rate the U.S. economy good or excellent these days, while just eight percent (8%) describe it as poor.  Sixty-three percent (63%) also offer a positive assessment of their own personal finances; 11% say their finances are poor.

Scott has the support of the majority of voters who rate their personal finances as good or excellent.

When Florida voters are given a list of eight issues and asked which is most important to their vote, 23% say the economy, followed by government ethics and corruption (15%). Illegal immigration and taxes and government spending are the priority for 13% each. Social issues (8%), the environment (8%), education (6%) and school safety (6%) round out the list. Five percent (5%) say some other issue concerns them most.

Scott leads among voters who put the economy, taxes and government spending and illegal immigration first. Nelson has the advantage among voters most concerned with school safety, education, the environment, social issues and government ethics and corruption.

Democrats continue to hold a slight lead in the latest Rasmussen Reports Generic Congressional Ballot.

Thanks to our citizen sponsors, additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are open to the public.

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