Quinnipiac poll: Andrew Gillum starts with 3-point lead over Ron DeSantis - Florida Politics

Quinnipiac poll: Andrew Gillum starts with 3-point lead over Ron DeSantis

Democrat Andrew Gillum is opening the fall Florida Governor’s race with the leanest of leads over Republican Ron DeSantis, according to a new poll released Tuesday from Quinnipiac University.

The poll, the first Quinnipiac has conducted since last Tuesday’s primary, reflects the results of last week’s Public Policy Polling survey: Gillum has an edge built from Florida’s independent voters as partisan voters cling tightly to their nominees.

In the new poll, Gillum drew 50 percent and DeSantis 47 percent, with only 3 percent of voters saying they don’t know or are undecided at this point. The difference is within the margin of error but also marks the second time in two polls this past week in which Gillum, the surprise, upset winner of the Democratic primary, has come out on top versus the longtime Republican favorite.

The remarkably small group of undecided voters nine weeks out was further backed up by a Quinnipiac question that found that very few voters think there is any chance they’ll change their minds between now and the Nov. 6 Election Day.

“Mayor Andrew Gillum came out of his upset victory in the Florida Democratic primary with a head of steam,” Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, stated in a news release.

“Neither man was well-known before their primaries, but since then the race has become a center of political attention in the state,” Brown continued. “Now, 97 of 100 voters say they will vote for one of the two men, a highly unusual situation this far from the actual voting. Just as unusual, more than 90 percent of Gillum and DeSantis voters say they will not change their minds and are dead set in supporting the candidate they now favor.”

The poll was conducted last Thursday through Monday of 785 Florida likely voters with live interviews over both landline and cell phones. The margin of error is 4.3 percent, according to Quinnipiac.

Gillum received a “favorable” rating from 46 percent of those surveyed, and an “unfavorable” rating from 33 percent. DeSantis was seen favorable by 45 percent and unfavorable by 43 percent.

Gillum is overwhelmingly carrying Democratic voters, with 93 percent supporting him. Likewise for DeSantis with 92 percent of Republican voters backing him. The difference comes from independent voters leaning toward Gillum, by a spread of 55 percent to 42 percent.

Quinnipiac University Poll is reporting that it found little “Trump effect”: 22 percent of voters said their decision in the race will be more to express support for the president and 24 percent say their vote for governor will be more to express opposition. But 51 percent said Trump is not an important factor in the governor’s race.

At the same time, 47 percent of those surveyed said they approved of Trump’s job performance, while 51 percent disapproved.

The economy was cited as the most important issue by those polled, topping the list at 23 percent. Immigration and health care followed, each cited by 14 percent; gun policy, 13 percent, environment, 12 percent; and education, 10 percent.

Scott Powers is an Orlando-based political journalist with 30+ years’ experience, mostly at newspapers such as the Orlando Sentinel and the Columbus Dispatch. He covers local, state and federal politics and space news across much of Central Florida. His career earned numerous journalism awards for stories ranging from the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster to presidential elections to misplaced nuclear waste. He and his wife Connie have three grown children. Besides them, he’s into mystery and suspense books and movies, rock, blues, basketball, baseball, writing unpublished novels, and being amused. Email him at scott@floridapolitics.com.
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