Florida Poll Shows Margin-of-Error Races for U.S. Senate and Governor

Suffolk University/USA TODAY Network poll: Floridians want ban on semi-automatic weapons.

Both the U.S. Senate and governor’s races will come down to get-out-the-vote operations on election day because both races are too close to call, according to a Suffolk University/USA TODAY Network poll of likely midterm voters.

Democrats in both races lead by razor-thin margins. In the U.S. Senate race, incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson (45 percent) leads Republican Governor Rick Scott (43 percent), with 10 percent undecided and 2 percent refusing to respond. The margin of error on the poll is +/- 4.4 percentage points.

In the governor’s race, which features six candidates on the Florida ballot, Democrat Andrew Gillum (45 percent) leads Republican Ron DeSantis (44 percent) by just one point with the four other candidates combining for an important 1.4 percent, with 8 percent undecided and 2 percent refusing to respond.

Gillum led DeSantis among women (50 percent to 38 percent), young voters (50 percent to 34 percent), black voters (81 percent to 4 percent), and Hispanic voters (52 percent to 36 percent). DeSantis led among men (51 percent to 40 percent), older voters (61 percent to 31 percent), and white voters (53 percent to 37 percent). In the last seven days, both will vie for the votes of independents, where the undecided number is a significantly high 23 percent. Though 82 percent of voters said their minds are made up, just 64 percent of independents are sure, while 17 percent said they could change their mind, and 19 percent were undecided.

Voters said their top issues in the governor’s race are the economy (22 percent), health care (20 percent), education (19 percent), taxes (12 percent), corruption (8 percent), and gun control (7 percent).

The top issues in the Senate race are the economy and health care, tied at 25 percent, immigration (20 percent), corruption (11 percent), and gun control (8 percent).

President Trump

President Trump’s poll numbers fared better than in past Suffolk University polling of states around the country or in the USA TODAY/Suffolk University national poll released last week. Trump’s popularity in Florida was 45 percent favorable – 47 percent unfavorable, while 46 percent of likely voters approved and 46 percent disapproved of his job performance. In a similar split, 39 percent said they want their vote for Congress next week to support President Trump and his policies, while 39 percent want their vote to oppose Trump, and 17 percent said that their vote doesn’t have much to do with Trump and his policies.

Banning semi-automatic weapons

Eight months after the Parkland shooting, a clear majority (56 percent) want the next governor of Florida to move to ban semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15 rifle. Some 34 percent were opposed and 10 percent were undecided. Among gun owning households in the Sunshine State, 43 percent support the move to ban the weapons.

Record of polling success

In the 2016 Florida election for president, the Suffolk University poll showed a 1.4 percentage point lead for Republican Donald Trump over Democrat Hillary Clinton. Trump went on to win by 1.2 percentage points.


The statewide Suffolk University survey was conducted through live interviews of cell phone and land line users. All respondents indicated that they had already voted or were likely to vote in the November midterm election in Florida. The survey of 500 voters was conducted October 25 – October 28. The margin of error is +/-4.4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Centerwebsite. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310, dpaleologos@suffolk.edu.