Poll shows Marco Rubio leading Val Demings, but finds momentum for the Democrat

demings vs. rubio
Can Demings' momentum turn the race around?

Sen. Marco Rubio leads Democratic challenger Val Demings 50% to 42%, according to a poll from Center Street. But pollsters say there is still room for the race to change before Election Day.

“Marco’s still the favorite, but what’s interesting is that he’s sort of stalled out,” said Center Street Co-Founder Jacob Perry. “He has a motivated base of voters locked in, but he’s not making any new pitch to draw in new voters.”

The poll found Rubio at 50% among likely voters, but when polling all Florida voters, the race was closer, with Rubio at 45% and Demings at 40%.

The results when compared to the centrist organization’s last poll in March also showed Demings with the momentum, with a 13% swing in her favor among registered voters.

“The other issue is that there’s no constituency that’s particularly excited about Rubio,” Perry said. “Democrats obviously don’t like him, but neither do Trump Republicans. Val outraised him two to one, but also outspent him, and that spending really paid off in building her Awareness numbers.”

The poll comes out a day after Demings announced she raised $12.2 million in the second quarter of 2022. Crosstab data from the new survey suggests a field that’s still malleable and Demings gaining steam in the persuasion game.

“Demings demonstrates real strength in candidate Favorability, as she is +16 among those aware of her,” said Center Street Chief Analytics Officer Kurt Jetta. “But she still has gaps in Name Awareness, even with the 12-point improvement. She’ll need to build her 77% to 95% to be at parity with Rubio. With an opponent who has decent Favorability in his own right, Demings will need to outraise and outspend to have a chance to win in November.”

Of note, Demings leads in the poll among voters unaffiliated with either major party, with 37% going to her and 29% favoring Rubio. A full 33% of those independent voters remain undecided for the moment in a race where the challenger has proven she can out-fundraise the incumbent.

The poll also shows more Democrats on the fence than Republicans. About 10% of Democratic voters and 13% of those who voted for Democrat Joe Biden for President remain undecided. By comparison, just 7% of Republicans say they haven’t made up their mind, and the same goes for 10% of those who voted for Republican Donald Trump in 2020.

Jetta suggests the greatest opportunity for Demings may be that Rubio suffers from high unfavorable ratings. While 46% of voters view him favorably, 37% view him unfavorably. For Demings, 42% view her favorably but just 26% view her unfavorably. Moreover, 27% of voters have a “very unfavorable” view of Rubio, while only 15% say the same of Demings.

Far more voters register no opinion about Demings than Rubio. About 32% of voters are neutral about the Democrat. Just 17% say the same of the Republican. That at least leaves an opportunity to bring more people to Demings’ camp as the election draws closer.

Center Street dedicates itself to fighting candidates who encourage tribalism, and co-founder Perry was previously a Republican strategist based in Tallahassee who worked with Florida politicians.

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].


  • Tom

    July 13, 2022 at 8:48 am

    Shocking, Republican with a sizable lead but according to Dem media spin, the other has supposed “momentum” please. Did Dumings find her gun? Are Hispanics abandoning Rubio? Really? What a sandbag, independents not for Rubio? Really. Just more Adam Schiff polling.

    • Piran

      July 13, 2022 at 1:38 pm

      It aligns with current polling. Trumpian Republicans are not swooning for him like the good Governor DeSantis, and NPAs in FL are notoriously fickle

  • Don’t Look Up

    July 13, 2022 at 8:51 am

    Senate seats in Georgia and Pennsylvania are up for grabs because of poorly performing unqualified Republicans. Let’s make it a trifecta. There are certainly good reasons to throw Marco under the Republican clown bus.

    • Bill

      July 14, 2022 at 7:26 pm

      Not going to happen. Rubio wins.

  • Tom

    July 13, 2022 at 9:56 am

    Typical Manchurian reply.
    Biden’s at 29% approval Florida, Dumings, chameleon or fraud no chance.

    In PA, Biden’s at 40%, in GA he’s in low 30’s approval. We are in a recession now and by Labor Day worse. GOP wins at least one.

    40 to 70 new House seats will flip to GOP.
    10 yr majority in Congress. Senate will flip, 53 to 55 senate seats GOP.

    9% inflation, more like double digits.
    It’s the economy stupid, but for stupid manchurians it’s lollipops.

    Enjoy the ass kicking.

    • Raymond

      July 15, 2022 at 3:06 pm

      Hey Tom, happy to see you rooting for a recession and bad news for our country. Unfortunately it’s your party that is taken with Vlad and his dictorial losing ways, as the Democrats fight for Democracy! Val pulls ahead and beats the boring little Marco, and brings back some decency to your once great state! And by the way, Nikki Fried is gonna win too! All this while your boy gets fitted for a orange jump suit…

  • Michael Paris

    July 13, 2022 at 11:02 am

    What momentum Schorsh? What a stupid column. Did you go to journalism school Ogles, or are you just an activist.

  • tom palmer

    July 13, 2022 at 3:45 pm

    It is still too early to take a lot of polling seriously. Nevertheless, Marquito has been unimpressive and if Demings can get her act together, she might have a shot.

    • Michael

      July 14, 2022 at 7:27 pm

      She doesn’t.

  • Phil Morton

    July 14, 2022 at 3:41 am

    Demings is in a primary, Rubio is not. We’ll see how the race looks on August 24th.

    • Tom

      July 14, 2022 at 4:36 am

      LMAO, loser Morton appears.
      Yes, Dumings can use time to look for her firearms. Primary, she’s a loser.

  • Tom

    July 14, 2022 at 4:40 am

    It aligns with nothing recent.
    Rubio is clearly the leader on domestic and foreign policy.

  • Jose

    July 14, 2022 at 1:36 pm

    If Val Deming switched parties and ran as a pro-gun/pro law enforcement RINO, she might have a chance.

    IMHO, Deming is not as Woke as she is running, but going woke, going to lose.

    I love these send money to Dem with a chance polls..lol

  • Cwl

    July 14, 2022 at 5:54 pm

    Why does she always hide the fact that she is a liberal Democrat. If you watch her ads, you would think she was Donald Trump reincarnated. Sorry democrats! You can’t hid the fact you are out of touch with reality and the American voters!

  • John

    July 19, 2022 at 4:31 pm

    No surprise. Who can possibly be excited with Little Marco? The Trumptards? hardly. The despicable Rino’s? maybe just a little bit. Ohh, I got it…I got it, the Christian Right, right?

    Val is going to give this guy a run

  • JJ

    July 23, 2022 at 9:32 am

    Robio is notihng more than a party azzwipe idiot. The guy is worthless

Comments are closed.


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 @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704

Sign up for Sunburn