Poll: Marco Rubio holds just a 2-point edge on Val Demings

demings vs. rubio
Swing voters remain tightly split.

Sen. Marco Rubio holds just a 2-percentage-point edge over Democratic challenger Val Demings, according to a new survey released Wednesday morning.

The Senate remains the favorite for reelection, leading with 48% to Demings 46%, according to the latest numbers from St. Pete Polls. That leaves his lead within the poll’s 2.2% margin of error, and the two-term incumbent sits below a critical 50% support level.

The first major poll of the election cycle pegging Rubio and Demings head-to-head, the Florida Politics-commissioned survey was conducted Monday and Tuesday. Results include responses from 2,068 registered Florida voters, weighted based on demographics of active voters. St. Pete Polls results appear in polling indexes for major aggregators FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics.

Demings, an Orlando Representative to Congress, filed in June to challenge Rubio in next year’s high-profile Senate race. While she faces other Democrats, her entry into the race largely cleared the primary of other major names.

The poll shows Rubio’s edge comes from holding the Republican base together better than his opponent. He wins over 82% of all Republicans surveyed and 15% of Democrats. Meanwhile, Demings holds the support of over 79% of Democrats and attracts support of under 14% of GOP voters.

Swing voters remain tightly split, with just over 46% backing Rubio and just under 46% going to Demings. More than 8% of those voters have yet to pick a favorite.

Of note, Demings, if elected, would be only the second woman to serve Florida in the Senate; Republican Paula Hawkins served one term but lost reelection in 1988. Yet Rubio holds a significant edge among female voters. Almost half of those surveyed back the incumbent’s reelection while only 44% support Demings.

On the other hand, the male Senator also loses his own demographic, with 48% of men favoring Demings and under 47% sticking with the incumbent.

The Cuban-American Rubio wins over 49% of the Hispanic vote to Demings’ 45%, a critical bloc in the swingy Sunshine State that often turns on the sentiments of South Florida’s culturally diverse voters.

Demings, who would be Florida’s first Black Senator, holds almost 80% of the support of Black voters to Rubio’s 15%. All other racial demographic groups favor the Republican.

Rubio last appeared on the ballot in 2016, when he defeated another Democratic Congressman, Patrick Murphy, with 52% of the vote.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected].


  • Ed

    August 18, 2021 at 7:43 am

    The fact that Biden picked that idiot Kamala Harris over Demings doesn’t bode well for Val.

  • Domino

    August 18, 2021 at 7:58 am

    Gillum by 5.

  • Johny Reb

    August 18, 2021 at 8:29 am

    Anyone but a Demorat

  • Elias

    August 18, 2021 at 9:57 am

    Just noticed a spelling mistake. Think you meant to say “The Senator remains the favorite”

  • Charles Marker

    August 18, 2021 at 10:42 am

    Any polls of Ellison head to head with Rubio? Or Ellison vs Demings in the primary for that matter.

  • Matthew Lusk

    August 18, 2021 at 11:13 am


  • Sonja Fitch

    August 18, 2021 at 11:41 am

    Little Marco has to go. Little Marco does not have the courage to represent the common good and the truth. Val for US Senator Representing all of Florida!

  • Carlton Huffman

    August 18, 2021 at 12:52 pm

    Any poll showing that kind of gender breakdown is a garbage poll. I could buy the overall margin but for that specific reason, so put me in the Rubio is up big column.

  • PeterH

    August 18, 2021 at 4:40 pm

    News from the Lincoln Project!

    Turns out, Ron DeSantis’ whole “my freedoms” shtick was a con. Of course it was. The whole reason he’s been so anti-mask and vaccine mandates?

    DeSantis has gotten over $10m in campaign funds from the biggest investor in Regeneron, a COVID treatment.

    DeSantis knows he’s got to win his primary next year to have any shot at running for President. So he’s going full MAGA and getting people sick.

    When people get sick, Regeneron makes more money.

    When Regeneron makes more money, Ron DeSantis raises more campaign money.

    Rinse and repeat.

  • Ocean Joe

    August 18, 2021 at 6:52 pm

    Credit to zombe for correctly predicting this in a comment a day ago, I would not have thought it close. Florida loves worms like Rubio, whose only moment of character was when he pointed out how small Don’s hands were and how “dangerously unprepared to be president” he was, as proven by his failure to deal with covid, and who capped his reign of stupidity with a brutish, white supremacist fueled smash and grab on our capitol in the midst of certifying an election because the spoiled brat could not accept losing and has CONvinced millions of Americans of the same.
    But I digress, Demmings could be an outstanding senator, a total opposite to the completely worthless Scott.

  • martin

    August 19, 2021 at 10:43 am

    Val, tell us again how your service weapon went missing?

  • Jessica

    August 19, 2021 at 11:18 am

    Florida Politics really needs to mention the other candidates, such as progressive, Allen Ellison! Rubio is straight, fascist garbage, and Val Demings didn’t put in any legislation until she started running for Senate. Her claim to fame is the Impeachment. She was elected in an extremely democratic leaning district & the only thing she has that Republicans like is her law enforcement background, but she didn’t really didn’t do much to break the issue of systemic racism, even with her husband as the Sheriff in the same area, while she was Chief of OPD. She also knows that Allen Ellison will destroy her in a debate. He’s a small business owner, born & raised in a RED agricultural community, has done a ton of philanthropic work, and can reach more Republicans than she can. We need new blood in the game.

  • Alex

    August 19, 2021 at 5:24 pm

    I hope he packed away some cash in Aruba, because he’s gonna be looking for a job.

  • Dennis Tabella

    August 19, 2021 at 11:48 pm

    Rubio has a 0 rating with the Humane Society on animal protection legislative issues. Val Demings has been as high as 100%. If you don’t care about those that can’t defend themselves, you have no business in the Senate.

  • Joanne Murphy

    August 20, 2021 at 3:36 pm

    I cannot believe Rubio, who believes that a rape victim should not be allowed to get an abortion if the rapist impregnates her, is leading among female voters. Maybe too many of them don’t know his views??

Comments are closed.


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