TALLAHASSEE — Less than two weeks before the November 8 election, Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio hold double-digit leads over their Democratic opponents, a new poll shows.
In the race for governor, DeSantis is ahead of Democratic challenger Charlie Crist by 14 percentage points, 55%-41%, according to a poll released Wednesday morning by the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab. Less than 1% of those surveyed said they would vote for someone else, and 4% were undecided or refused to answer.
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In the U.S. Senate race, the poll found that Rubio was well ahead of Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings, 54%-43%. Just 3% said they didn’t know who they preferred or refused to answer.
“The surprise in these numbers is that a statewide race in Florida is closer to a blowout than a recount,” said Dr. Michael Binder, PORL faculty director and UNF political science professor. “Florida has become a red state, it will likely take an exceptionally weak Republican candidate for Democrats to win statewide — and Rubio is not a weak candidate.”
Republicans in other statewide races were running way ahead of their Democratic opponents, too.
In the attorney general race, GOP incumbent Attorney General Ashley Moody leads Democrat Aramis Ayala by 14 points, 50%-36%, according to the poll, though 14% also said they were undecided or refused to answer.
The race for agricultural commissioner is tighter. Republican Wilton Simpson leads Democrat Naomi Esther Blemur by 5 points, with 17% saying they were undecided or refused to answer.
“The Attorney General and Agricultural Commissioner races are a little less exciting for most folks, and these tend to go down party lines,” Binder said. “As is the case with a lot of these races, the outcome will largely come down to who turns out the most voters — Republicans or Democrats — and it looks like Republicans are going to win that fight.”
Voter fraud and the 2020 election
The poll also asked respondents about their thoughts on the prevalence of voter fraud. Half said President Biden definitely won the 2020 election, while 19% said former President Trump had won.
The poll surveyed 622 likely Florida voters from Oct. 17 through Oct. 24, and has a margin of error of 4.7 percentage points.
Other recent polls also show DeSantis and Rubio with large leads with only weeks to go before the November 8 election.
A Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy poll found that DeSantis was winning overwhelming support among Republican voters and No Party Affiliated voters. The same poll showed Rubio with a 6-point edge over Demings.
In an appearance Monday morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe show — before the UNF polls were released — Crist was asked about previous polls showing him trailing DeSantis. He dismissed them, noting that a poll days before his landslide win over challenger Nikki Fried in the Democratic primary showed her ahead by four points.
“All I care about is the poll that happens on Election Day,” said Crist. “That’s what really matters in our country. And thank God for that. I look forward to November 8th.”
USA Today Network-Florida government accountability reporter Douglas Soule is based in Tallahassee, Fla. He can be reached at DSoule@gannett.com. Twitter: @DouglasSoule
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