The race for Florida’s 15th Congressional District has been surprisingly close, but a new poll being circulated by Dover state Rep. Ross Spano shows he’s in good position to keep the traditionally-Republican seat from flipping on Election Day.
The Remington Research Group poll found Spano, currently in his third term representing Hillsborough’s HD 59, with 47 percent support among likely CD 15 voters. Former prosecutor and General Counsel for the Florida Department of Citrus Kristen Carlson, the Democratic nominee, came in 6 percentage points behind.
Though Spano’s score comes in a point behind a generic Republican candidate, his lead falls well outside the poll’s margin of error and falls in line with other recent polls of the Central Florida district.
A Club for Growth poll published on Oct. 9 found Spano with a 46-39 percent lead over Carlson in the R+13 district, while a late-September measure from Democratic-leaning pollster Bold Blue Campaigns pegged the race at 49-46 percent, advantage Spano.
A month ago, Carlson touted her own internal poll that showed her on top by a single point.
Thus far, no major poll has shown either candidate with majority support, and with 12 percent of voters undecided RRG’s poll there’s still plenty of wiggle room left for a comfortable GOP win or a major Democratic pickup.
When it comes to political handicappers, however, the thought is most of those voters will break toward Carlson on Election Day.
The heretofore “safe Republican” seat is currently listed as a “toss up” on Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight. According to their model, Spano would prove victorious five out of nine times given the current lay of the land, but his projected vote share of 50.4 percent comes in just eight-tenths of a point higher than Carlson’s.
CD 15 covers parts of Hillsborough, Lake and Polk counties and is considered to be a heavily Republican district. U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, who is giving up the seat after four terms, won his most recent re-election bid by 15 points. The district also voted plus-10 for President Donald Trump two years ago.
In addition to the lack of an incumbent, Carlson’s strong fundraising and deep ties to Polk County, home to 40 percent of district residents, have made the 2018 race quite competitive.
There was more good news for Spano further down the RRG poll: Trump’s favorability rating. More than half of the 1,369 voters polled said they had a positive view of the president while 45 percent felt otherwise, giving the first-term POTUS a plus-6 favorability rating.
The Governor race was also in his corner. Former Congressman Ron DeSantis, the Republican nominee, led Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum 51-44 percent with the remaining 5 percent undecided.
Spano and Carlson each scored a plus-5, though fewer voters were familiar with the candidates. Of the 53 percent who had an opinion on Spano, 29 percent saw him favorably and 24 percent didn’t. More than three-fifths of voters had no opinion on Carlson, but those who did liked her by 22-17 percent margin.
RRG’s sample was made up of 40 percent Republicans, 36 percent Democrats and 24 percent unaffiliated voters. The polls has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.64 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.