Connect with us
Bill Nelson, Rick Scott: one of the more interesting races in 2018.


Florida Chamber poll has Bill Nelson edging Rick Scott

Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson has a two-point lead over Republican Gov. Rick Scott in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, according to a new poll released Friday by the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

The chamber’s poll, conducted Sept. 19 through Monday and released at the chamber’s 2018 Future of Florida Forum meeting in Orlando Friday, gives Nelson 48 percent and Scott 46 percent, which falls within the 4.4 percent margin of error the chamber cited.

That makes it the third poll released this week that has Nelson ahead, though by a much narrower margin than the Quinnipiac University Poll released Tuesday and also tighter than the Marist/NBC News poll, also released Tuesday.

The Chamber’s poll was of 622 Florida voters.

The poll also found modestly positive voter approval for both candidates’ job performances: 50 percent said they approved of Scott’s job performance, while 46 percent said they disapproved, giving the second term Governor a plus-4 favorability rating; 46 percent said they approved of Nelson’s performance, while 41 percent disapproved, giving him a plus-5. About one in seven respondents were unsure about Nelson, however, while only 4 percent were indecisive about Scott.

Also of note: The poll put the job performance of President Donald Trump underwater by a 51-46 percent margin. Trump has been vocal in his support of Scott during his Senate campaign, going so far as to stump for him and  Ron DeSantis, the Republican vying to succeed Scott in the Governor’s mansion, during a late-July rally at the Florida State Fairgrounds in Tampa.

The Nelson vs. Scott election is one of the most-watched races in the fall, as national Democrats look to defend 10 sitting Democratic Senators in states carried by Trump two years ago.

According to a recent analysis by Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight, Nelson is the “most vulnerable” of the two dozen Dems seeking another term in November.

“It might seem surprising that the fundamentals calculation regards Florida’s Bill Nelson as the most vulnerable Democratic incumbent since Florida is quite purple and there are Democrats up for re-election in some genuinely red states” … “Nelson has a very good challenger in Florida Gov. Rick Scott; one way our model accounts for candidate quality is by looking at the highest elected office the opponent has held, with races against current or former governors or senators falling into the top category.”

Still, that analysis pegged Nelson as leading Scott by a tenth of a percentage point.

Written By

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

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.

Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Renzo Downey, Rick Flagg, A.G. Gancarski, Joe Henderson, Janelle Irwin, Jacob Ogles, Scott Powers, Bob Sparks, Andrew Wilson.
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn

Receive our team's agenda-setting morning read of what's hot in Florida politics. Delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday.