Latest poll: Democratic race for Florida governor is as close as ever

Jeff Greene, Andrew Gillum Gwen Graham, Philip Levine, Chris King

With eight days before Election Day in the race for the Democratic nomination for Florida governor, three candidates, including a surging Andrew Gillum, are separated by just six points.

Leading the field is former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham at 27 percent. Right on her heels is former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine at 25 percent. Those two have been atop nearly every poll in months, and began looking like they were locked in a two-person battle.

But now Gillum, who rallied in Orlando and Tampa last week with U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders and launched a new TV commercial pushing his progressive message, has surged to 21 percent, a marked improvement from two weeks ago when the Tallahassee Mayor was in fourth at 12 percent.

Palm Beach billionaire Jeff Greene is starting to fade in our tracking poll, dropping to fourth place at 15 percent. In our previous survey, Greene was at 23 percent and in second place.

Chris King, despite his sharp message and his fierce yearning to make an impression with voters, is in the low single digits, while six percent of Democratic voters are still undecided.

The survey was conducted by St. Pete Polls for Florida Politics on August 18 and 19 and finished with a sample size of 2,202.

The numbers in this survey get even more interesting when you look at the breakdown of those who say they’ve already voted. Going by that number, the race is even tighter, with Graham and Levine tied atop the field. And not just rounded-up tied, but down-to-the-tenth-of-a-percent tied at 27.8 percent. Gillum is third at 20 percent.

Buoying the top three candidate’s strong showings are their favorability ratings with Democratic voters. Graham, Levine, and Gillum each have favorability ratings north of 50 percent, while both Greene and King are upside down.

The past several weeks have seen numerous negative TV commercials and mailers, through which the candidates have been attacking each other.

This latest poll suggests they’re working.

Everyone’s favorability ratings fell, some sharply.

Gillum’s has solidly emerged as the best-liked Democrat in the field: 50.4 percent of those polled said they have a favorable opinion of him, while just 11.2 percent have an unfavorable view of him. That gives him favorable-unfavorable overall rating of 39.2.

Levine is second, with 31.4 percent more respondents liking him than not liking him.

Graham’s overall favorability rating was 23.6.

Greene and King both were underwater, with more respondents saying they have unfavorable ratings than favorable ones.

Election Day is Tuesday, August 28.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.


  • Tracy s Faulkner

    August 20, 2018 at 9:44 am

    I hope, more than anything, that whoever wins the primary has the financial backing to beat the trumpublican in the race. Gillum is, in my opinion, the best option for Florida, but needs far more money to combat the trumpublicans. I think Greene should put all that money where his mouth is and financially support whoever wins the primary. I’m voting for Gillum.

    • jean

      August 20, 2018 at 10:12 am

      Gillum for Governor. Sued twice by the NAR and he WON!!

      • Dwayne Gordon

        August 20, 2018 at 5:14 pm

        Desantis or Putnam all day over demacraps

        • Craig Murden

          August 22, 2018 at 12:55 pm

          DeSantis makes a good foot soldier for the orange haired wannabe president and since most of his staff and supporters will be in jail the Repuglicans need more sycophants to ensure America and Florida floating away in the sea of algae !

      • Susan

        August 21, 2018 at 4:29 pm

        We’ve absoltely got to get past this money obsession as a nation, particularly money in politics. This is going to completely ruin us as a country if something doesn’t change soon. Real people need to have power and representation in our government, not a handful of lobbyists and corporate elites. That’s the core of all our problems and it’s simply not sustainable.

        “Money doesn’t vote: people do.” – Andrew Gillum

      • Susan

        August 21, 2018 at 4:33 pm

        He is a rare combo of genuine honesty and political know-how. He and other progressives like him are the key to unlocking the culture war stalemate and right-wing resurgence we’re suffering.

    • Daniel T Buckley

      August 20, 2018 at 1:58 pm

      Green and Levine both are idiots who inundate the airwaves with anti-Trump rhetoric. They must have found out that most Floridains don’t like Trump and are capitalising on it. I’m sick of seeing BOTH of them on TV. I’m voting AGAINST both of them!!!

    • Diane H

      August 21, 2018 at 3:05 pm

      I voted for Graham, but whoever wins the Democratic nomination has my enthusiastic support.

    • Anthony Watkins

      August 25, 2018 at 6:10 am

      Greene IS a trumpkin

    • Gretchen Gordon

      August 26, 2018 at 12:16 pm

      Tracy, whichever candidate wins the primary will have the financial backing of the Democratic party – which will change everything, even for Gillum. Don’t back the candidate who can “buy” the race, back the candidate who will be the best for the state. Gillum is clearly a progressive, not “republican lite” … I hope you are talking to your Dem friends since word-of-mouth is a very effective way to promote him, by us “regular folks” who can’t contribute $000s to his campaign. Go Gillum!

  • Tracy s Faulkner

    August 20, 2018 at 9:46 am

    I’m voting for Gillum. He’s not a millionaire. He keeps his word (showed up for the NAACP when no one else did). He’s articulate and “outspoke” anyone in the field at all the debates/forums I saw. He needs the financial backing to overcome the trumpublican nominee. I think Greene should put his money where his mouth is and back whoever wins the primary for the purpose of turning Florida finally BLUE!

    • Daniel T Buckley

      August 20, 2018 at 2:02 pm

      Get Green And Levine off the Damn television!

    • Laurie

      August 21, 2018 at 4:47 pm

      “outspoke” lol good word- Hell yeah, he debates brilliantly and has more charisma than all four candidates put together lol- it’s so easy for him because he’s actually genuine like a good representative should be!!!

  • Chuck O’Neal

    August 20, 2018 at 10:11 am

    Truth is it really doesn’t matter what Gillum promises voters unless he can win the general election. To date he and Levine have only won city-wide elections in areas that between R’s and D’s are over 65% Democratic voters. King and Greene have never won an election. Graham won in 2014, unseating a Republican in a district that went for Romney by over 7% in 2012. So we can bat around who would do what better than the other, but only Graham can win a razor tight election in a state than has voted red for governor in every election since 1994.

  • Lino

    August 20, 2018 at 10:29 am

    I hope everyone learns from Jeff Greene that Dems do not like attack ads. His have been non-stop and we don’t want another trump, which this seems to signify.

    • ASARRA

      August 20, 2018 at 2:54 pm

      First candidate scratched off my list. If you cannot represent yourself in an intelligent, compassionate, honest and respectful manner my vote goes to one who will.

    • Anthony Watkins

      August 25, 2018 at 6:14 am

      Sadly, attack ads seem to be helping the other lying scumbag in the race: Levine.

  • Pam

    August 20, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    I hope the Republican wins cuz I don’t want to see Florida turned into another California where you can’t even own a straw 🙂 just look at the State of California do you want Florida to be like that? Beautiful weather beautiful to rain and voted the worst living conditions in America in 2018. That’s what the Democrat Party brings everywhere they go. Just look at the cities they run Atlanta Baltimore Chicago St Louis Detroit all hell holes and in the state of California… if you notice Democrats flee the most liberal places… now you want to turn Florida into a place like all of those places most transplants left? Vote Republican save the state Florida.

    • alberta

      August 20, 2018 at 5:43 pm

      As a Republican, I must say even to me you sound like a racist fool. Get used to it the times are changing and there isn’t a thing you can do about it, but be miserable.

      • Barb Donaldson

        August 21, 2018 at 9:10 am

        Thanks to you, a reasonable Republican for your comment. Atlanta a hell hole? It’s one of the most economically thriving areas in the whole country.


      August 20, 2018 at 6:57 pm

      Ignorance is its own reward, Pam. Democrats saved your sorry ass from a Great Depression II in 2009, Democrats gave you Social Security and Medicare, Democrats gave you Obamacare, which the Caliban-in-Chief is desperately trying to destroy. For every 1000 uninsured, 1 will die an unnecessary, premature death. You’re not only voting against your economic interest, Pam, you’re voting against your very life. Suicide by ballot.

    • Susan Henry

      August 24, 2018 at 4:51 pm

      Pam, Florida has been a Democratic state for most of its history.

  • Dan Piela

    August 20, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Gillum has the most experience in the executive branch and overall. He’s not only laid out his agenda, but also how he’s going yooooo do it and how it will be paid for!
    Anyone can make promises, showing how to make them a reality goes a LONG way!
    Also, his plans will add more than $1 BILLION to public schools and overall DOUBLE the revenue of Florida!
    Finally, Gillum is beholden to his voters and ONLY them! That goes a VERY VERY LONG way with me!

  • South Florida Scene

    August 20, 2018 at 1:02 pm

    Likable, does not translate into Viable, Democrats are famous for voting for the popular one only to be trounced in November by Republicans, let me be brutely frank, Florida is not a blue state not even a purple state, Trump won Florida in 2016, Florida will never vote for Governor an African American or a person with a Jewish sounding name, most of Florida is not South Florida


      August 20, 2018 at 3:27 pm

      Apparently you are unaware that Obama carried Florida twice. You might want to reconsider your post.


      August 20, 2018 at 3:30 pm

      Sorry, I thought Obama was African American. I guess a lot of Floridians were similarly confused in 2008 and 2016.

    • Susan

      August 21, 2018 at 4:36 pm

      Holy shit you are misinformed or deluded. Just google it. Florida has been purple for a long time…. Hell, it was the only Union stronghold state in the south during the Civil War.

  • Daniel T Buckley

    August 20, 2018 at 2:01 pm

    I’m voting AGAINST both Levine and Green!

  • Gardner

    August 20, 2018 at 4:18 pm

    I like Gillum, Levine and Graham. Gillum and Levine have executive branch government experience as Mayors. Graham has 2 years as legislative branch experience as a Congressman ( She did not run for a 2nd term…not sure why. The seat went Republican when see choose not to run). The question is who can win in November. The last 20 years democrats have run moderate candidates playing it safe and lost. Doing the same thing and expecting different results is dumb. If the black, brown, young and poor that typically are not engaged in politics and do not vote because they are not inspired don’t vote in November…Ron DeSantis (Trump Surrogate) will be the next governor of the state of Florida. The Democrat that can capture the hearts, minds and get those new voters to the polls will win in November. Not the one that stands on stage and says the same old democratic talking points.

  • Joyce Johnson-Bendowski

    August 20, 2018 at 5:13 pm

    Unfortunately, I am voting the person I think has best chance of beating the Republican candidate. That would be Gwen Graham.
    I would love to vote my heart’s candidate Andrew Gillum but don’t think he has a chance of beating the republican. Democrats GET OUT AND VOTE!

    • Ahmed

      August 21, 2018 at 1:23 am

      People voted for Hillary Clinton thinking she is the only one who can beat Donald Trump or Republicans and we know what happened. Gwen Graham is a lite republican candidate or moderate. Florida already put those kind of candidate in the past and lost. We need a true progressive to win in Florida. Vote for Andrew Gillum.

      • Gerri Bell

        August 22, 2018 at 3:21 am

        Amen 🙏. We must make sure we get out & vote for Gillum.. He is the best for Florida’s needs. We need a Governor to be for all the people in Florida. We can’t afford not to have him. Please everyone we must vote for him to bring it home. Vote for Gillum!!! Amen 🙏


    August 21, 2018 at 1:07 am

    Gwen Graham is the People’s Governor. Everyone else is in it for themselves.


    August 21, 2018 at 6:59 am

    Ahmed is right. Not surprisingly, Patrick Murphy, another Republican lite who couldn’t even beat Little Marco, just sent me an email exhorting me to vote for Graham, claiming that Repugs were terrified she’d win the primary. My response:

    “Here’s one thing I agree with Republican on. That said, I’m not sure that Republicans really mean it when they claim to be afraid of Graham because Gwen Graham is dumb as a post. The only thing that she can say is “I’m a mom I’m a mom I’m a mom.” DeSantis will wipe the floor with her.

    Moreover I would never vote for someone, at least in the primary, who is Republican lite, as Graham proved by voting against Obama 40% of the time. But then again I guess you know something about Republican light, don’t you, Mr. Murphy?

  • Tania

    August 21, 2018 at 11:01 pm

    Printed t-shirts for males are wonderful informal put on.

  • Todd

    August 22, 2018 at 4:42 pm

    I voted for Levine, but whomever the democratic nominee ends up being – has my vote and 100% support!

  • Marilyn

    August 26, 2018 at 9:14 am

    Voted for Levine, but will support ANY Dem who wins the nomination! Definitely cannot support ANY Trump Republican, DeSantis, sucks so does Scott. who is corrupt. He only cares about themselves!Rebuplican party is now down to 25% of the population of the country.! Everyone with any dignity left and became Independepent and Dems. Trump is only looking out for Israel for Evangelicals and not for Jews! Doesn’t care about Palestinians.
    Vote Blue across all ballots. Protect women’s rights! Make sure the senate receives ALL Kavanaugh writings before he is confirmed! Trump is facing charges from his Foundation in SDNY, and Illegal Campaign Finance Charge Charges made prior to his election! This could be a huge problem, as well as Muellers report!

Comments are closed.


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