Florida Senate Polls Offer Different Results on Whether Rick Scott or Bill Nelson is Ahead

Two weeks to go until the general election and polls are showing a wide array of possibilities as Gov. Rick Scott challenges U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., who is running for a fourth term.

A poll of likely voters from Quinnipiac University released on Monday shows Nelson ahead of Scott 52 percent to 46 percent.

Nelson’s lead in the poll comes from leading with women 59 percent to 39 percent; among blacks 94 percent to 3 percent; among Hispanics 59 percent to 39 percent; and among voters outside the major parties 60 percent to 38 percent.

Scott takes men 54 percent to 44 percent and leads among whites 53 percent to 44 percent.

Nelson does slightly better with his party base than Scott does. Democrats break 93 percent for Nelson while 89 percent of Republicans back Scott.

Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, offered his thoughts on the poll.

“The Florida race is one of a handful of contests around the country that will decide control of the U.S. Senate. Sen. Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott have spent so many millions of dollars on television ads it is almost impossible to avoid seeing them,” Brown said on Monday. “At this point, Sen. Nelson’s six-point overall lead is built on his large margin among independent voters, 60 – 38 percent. If that margin holds up, the senator will be difficult to beat. Moreover, Sen. Nelson’s 20-point advantage among women is twice Gov. Scott’s 10-point edge among men.

“Nelson is just better liked. Florida likely voters view him favorably by 10 percentage points, and see Gov. Scott unfavorably by five points,” Brown added.

As Brown noted, Nelson does better with Scott in the poll when it comes to  favorability. A slight majority–51 percent–see Nelson as favorable while 41 percent view him unfavorably. Scott is upside down in the poll with 50 percent seeing him as unfavorable while 45 percent see him favorably.

The poll of 1,161 likely voters in Florida was taken from Oct. 17 through Oct. 21 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.

But other recent polls have different results. Florida Politics reported on a St. Pete’s Poll on Monday which showed Scott ahead 48.6 percent to 48.3 percent for Nelson.

The St. Pete’s Poll shows a narrow gender gap with men backing Scott 51 percent to 47 percent while women go for Nelson 49 percent to 47 percent. Scott leads among whites 57 percent to 41 percent and edges Nelson with Hispanics 50 percent to 47 percent. Nelson takes 80 percent of blacks while 13 percent of them back Scott.

The St. Pete’s Poll of 1,575 likely voters in Florida was taken from Oct. 20 through Oct. 21 and had a margin of error of +/- 2.5 percent.

CNN released a SSRS poll which was closer to the Qunnipiac Poll, showing Nelson up 50 percent to 45 percent with likely voters and ahead 49 percent to 45 percent with registered voters.

In the CNN poll of likely voters, Scott leads among men 52 percent to 44 percent while Nelson is ahead with women 55 percent to 39 percent. White voters go for Scott 55 percent to 41 percent while non-whites are for Nelson 68 percent to 25 percent.

According to the CNN poll of likely voters, both candidates have nailed down their party bases with 94 percent of Democrats for Nelson and 93 percent of Republicans are for Scott. Nelson leads among voters outside the major parties 48 percent to 42 percent.

The CNN poll, conducted by SSRS, of 872 registered voters was taken October 16 through 20 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.9 percent. The CNN poll of 759 likely voters was taken over the same dates and had a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percent.