New polling suggests the U.S. Senate race on top of Florida ballots could be a dead heat.
Progressive outfits released a new poll showing 46% of Florida voters plan to vote for Democratic challenger Val Demings, the same percentage who intend to support Republican U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio’s re-election. The survey results were published by the Florida Communications and Research Hub, a collective effort of Progress Florida and Florida Watch.
The poll was taken between Sept. 22 and 27 and includes responses from 2,860 registered voters. Pollsters report a slim 1.83 percentage point margin of error. That pegs the race as a genuine tie.
The organizations commissioning the poll suggest that means a divisive political environment has put the race in play, and that the same goes for the Governor’s race, where Democrat Charlie Crist is challenging Republican incumbent Ron DeSantis.
“While Gov. DeSantis has engaged in inhumane political stunts to get himself on Fox News, Democrats like Charlie Crist and Chief Val Demings have been putting forward policies that will better the lives of all Floridians,” said Florida Watch Executive Director Josh Weierbach.
“Florida remains a razor-thin, battleground state and Democrats are in position to win by focusing on how the political ambitions of Ron DeSantis and Marco Rubio are helping drive the housing affordability crisis in our state with out-of-control property insurance rates and rent hikes and their support for extreme bans on abortion without exceptions for rape and incest.”
Demings’ team cheered the results.
“Chief Demings is running to represent all Floridians, while Marco Rubio continues to fail them every chance he gets,” said Demings Press Secretary Devon Cruz. “Floridians know this race is between a cop on the beat versus a career politician who doesn’t show up for work. Floridians want a leader in the United States Senate who will fight to lower costs, lower crime, and protect their constitutional rights. Chief Demings will be that Senator.”
Pollsters said in a memo they weighted the race for a Republican-leaning electorate, with 41% of respondents as registered Republicans and 37% registered Democrats.
The poll did find Rubio, a Cuban American Senator, polling better than his GOP compatriot DeSantis among Hispanic voters. The demographic favors Rubio by 5 percentage points, while DeSantis boasts just a 2-point edge.
As for Demings, the good and bad news is that a substantial number have no strong feelings about the Orlando Congresswoman. About 35% of voters ages 18 to 35 cannot identify Demings. Similarly, about 29% of Hispanic voters do not know anything about the Democrat.
That leaves an opportunity to overtake Rubio by educating voters about herself, though time is ticking with the Nov. 8 General Election just over a month away.