By SUNSHINE STATE NEWS
In the final hours of the campaign, a new poll shows Democrats with the lead in the Florida gubernatorial race and in a crucial U.S. Senate contest just hours before the polls open.
Quinnipiac University released a poll of likely voters on Monday morning which shows U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., ahead of Republican challenger Gov. Rick Scott 51 percent to 44 percent. The same poll has Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democratic gubernatorial nominee, ahead of former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., 50 percent to 43 percent.
“Democrats Sen. Bill Nelson and Mayor Andrew Gillum have identical seven-point leads entering the final hours before Election Day in the races to be the next governor and U.S. senator from Florida,” said Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll. “Sen. Nelson has a 13-point edge among independent voters. Candidates with double- digit leads among independents rarely lose.
“There is little difference in the two races,” Brown added. “Both leaders ran up double-digit leads among women; whites went heavily for the GOP candidates while non-whites went even more so for the Democrats.”
Nelson gets 91 percent of Democrats while Scott gets 94 percent of Republicans but voters outside the major parties go for the Democrat 54 percent to 41 percent. Women prefer Nelson 53 percent to 41 percent while men are divided with the Democrat edging Scott 48 percent to 47 percent.
White voters go for Scott 55 percent to 41 percent but Nelson takes 87 percent of black voters and is up 59 percent to 31 percent with Hispanics.
As Brown noted, the poll of the gubernatorial race follows the same pattern as the Senate contest. Gillum leads with women 54 percent to 40 percent while men are divided with each candidate taking 46 percent of them. Whites back DeSantis 54 percent to 41 percent while Gillum gets 90 percent of blacks and is up 57 percent to 29 percent with Hispanics.
Both Gillum and DeSanits get 93 percent of their respective party bases while independents go for the Democrat 52 percent to 39 percent.
“Mayor Andrew Gillum and his challenger, former Congressman Ron DeSantis, are running exactly the same, 93 – 4 percent among self-identified members of each of their respective parties. But Gillum’s 13-point margin among independents is the difference in the outcome,” Brown said.
The poll of 1,142 likely voters was taken from Oct. 29 through Nov. 4 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent