Poll: Key Senate race in Florida tied

Poll: Key Senate race in Florida tied

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) and Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonNASA names DC headquarters after agency's first Black female engineer Mary W. Jackson NASA, SpaceX and the private-public partnership that caused the flight of the Crew Dragon Lobbying world MORE (D-Fla.) are neck and neck in the state's 2018 Senate race, according to a new poll released Thursday.

According to the poll by Jacksonville, Fla.-based firm Mason-Dixon Polling and Strategy, Nelson and Scott are tied at 44 percent, while only 12 percent of respondents remained undecided. 

Scott is finishing his final term as governor and has not formally declared a bid for the Senate. But speculation has swirled that he will run for Nelson's seat, and President Trump has encouraged him to do so.

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Nelson's strongest support comes from Democrats, women, blacks and Hispanics, according to the poll, while Scott has the backing of Republicans, men and whites.

The Florida senator led Scott slightly in another Mason-Dixon poll in February — 46 percent to 41 percent.

But the current poll shows an increase in support for the governor and shows he is seen more favorably than Nelson. Forty-four percent of respondents said they view Scott favorably, while 38 percent said they have a favorable opinion of the Nelson.

The poll comes more than a month after Hurricane Irma swept through the state. Another Mason-Dixon poll, reported this week by the Miami Herald, found that a majority of Floridians approve of Scott's handling of the storm.

The poll was conducted from Oct. 17 to 19 and surveyed 625 registered voters in Florida by phone. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.