Nelson holds slight lead over Scott in Fla. Senate race: poll

Nelson holds slight lead over Scott in Fla. Senate race: poll
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Sen. Bill NelsonClarence (Bill) William NelsonThe most expensive congressional races of the last decade Lobbying world Bottom Line MORE (D-Fla.) holds a slight lead over his likely Republican opponent in his race for reelection, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

Nelson leads the poll with 46 percent of Florida voters, the poll released Tuesday says, while Gov. Rick Scott (R), who has not announced a bid, is close behind at 42 percent. 

The Democratic senator enjoys a more comfortable lead among independent voters, with 46 percent of independents favoring Nelson and 33 percent favoring Scott. 

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Scott has yet to confirm whether he will challenge Nelson but has said he will announce his decision at the end of the state's legislative session. Florida politics experts widely expect him to run for Nelson's seat.

Florida's leaders have been embroiled in the aftermath of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, which took the lives of 17 people and left more than a dozen others injured. 

Survivors of the shooting, Democrats and gun control advocates have called for stricter regulations. 

Scott, who has long been aligned with the National Rifle Association (NRA), has been forced to re-evaluate his gun control stances. 

The governor on Friday unveiled a $500 million plan to prevent future school shootings. The proposal would raise the age to purchase all firearms in the state to 21, a move opposed by the NRA. 

While Scott has maintained he does not support banning assault weapons, he has said he wants to keep guns away from those with mental health problems or who threaten themselves or others.

Scott grappled with a mass shooting nearly two years ago at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, which left 49 people dead. 

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted Feb. 23-26, among 1,156 Florida voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.6 percentage points.