Putnam Leads DeSantis While Graham Holds Her Lead As Primary Nears

Florida Politics – Putnam rolls past DeSantis with a week to go before the primary


With a week to go until the Florida gubernatorial primaries, a new poll shows close races on both sides.

St. Leo University released a poll on Monday which showed Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam taking 38 percent while U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., gets 30 percent in the Republican primary. While 5 percent back other candidates, 27 percent are still undecided. When leaners are included, Putnam leads 52 percent to 41 percent.

“It’s clear that the Trump endorsement and visit to Florida gave a boost to DeSantis,” noted Frank Orlando, the director of the St. Leo University Polling Institute. “Many polls around the time gave him a lead over Putnam, but our poll here is consistent with other recent polls that the effect of the endorsement has faded a bit and that we are in for a close finish. Since DeSantis was relatively unknown throughout the state, the endorsement might have meant that people automatically gave him their support in light of the Trump endorsement, but that support has melted a bit since voters have gotten to know more about his candidacy. It will be interesting to watch if President Trump’s Midas touch in GOP primaries continues or if Adam Putnam can use the fact that he’s won statewide in the past to win.”

Most other recent polls have shown DeSantis ahead of Putnam.

The poll also has former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla., ahead on the Democratic side.

Graham takes 26 percent followed by former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine with 19 percent. Billionaire Jeff Greene takes third with 12 percent followed by Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum with 10 percent. Businessman Chris King gets 3 percent while 4 percent back other candidates. More than a quarter of those surveyed–26 percent–are undecided.

When leaners are included, Graham pulls 31 percent, followed by Levine with 22 percent, Greene with 17 percent, Gillum with 15 percent and King with 5 percent.

“The large field for Democrats made it difficult for Graham to lock up a large portion of the electorate to the point where, even with leaners, she’s still only attracting around one-third of the voters in the field,” Orlando said. “On the other side of the coin, she’s fortunate that her competitors are splitting the vote up relatively evenly. She’s definitely not out of the woods yet though, with a week to go.”

Looking ahead to November, Putnam matches up well against Graham and Levine. Putnam takes 36 percent while Graham gets 31 percent and 24 percent are undecided. Against Levine, Putnam does better, getting 37 percent while the Democrat takes 30 percent and the rest undecided.

Graham leads DeSantis, besting him 36 percent to 31 percent with 24 percent undecided. Levine takes 34 percent while DeSantis follows with 30 percent and the rest are undecided.

“As it stands now, our data shows that the GOP would have a better shot at holding the governorship if Putnam secures the nomination,” Orlando said. “While President Trump has done well in anointing GOP nominees, his preferred candidates have not fared as well in general elections. We see that on display here with Putnam leading head-to-heads against Graham and Levine, and with DeSantis losing both potential head-to-head races.”

The poll of 500 Florida voters was taken from August 10 through August 16 and had a margin of error of +/ 4.5 percent.


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