Post-primary Dem poll shows Gillum leading DeSantis in Florida
Democrat Andrew Gillum leads Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis (Fla.) by 5 points in the race for the Florida governor’s mansion, according to the first publicly released poll since the state’s primary elections on Tuesday.
The survey was commissioned by Florida Democratic consultant Christian Ulvert and conducted by the Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) from Aug. 29-30 — just after Gillum and DeSantis secured their parties’ nominations. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
Forty-eight percent of the 743 voters surveyed chose Gillum, the current mayor of Tallahassee and a self-styled progressive, in the match-up, while 43 percent said they would cast their ballots for DeSantis.
Among independents — a massive voting bloc in the state — Gillum leads DeSantis by 34 points, the poll found.
Gillum also beats out DeSantis in favorability among Florida voters. Forty-five percent said they have a favorable opinion of the Tallahassee mayor, while 41 percent reported a favorable view of DeSantis.
The poll provides a snapshot of the earliest days of the race between Gillum and DeSantis.
Gillum notched a stunning upset victory over former Rep. Gwen Graham (D-Fla.) in Tuesday’s Democratic gubernatorial primary, edging out a field of more moderate Democrats and putting him on track to become the first black governor in Florida’s history.
Gillum is backed by progressive firebrand Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who made a trip down to Florida earlier this month to stump for the mayor. Gillum long lagged behind his primary opponents in public polls, but mounted a late-in-the-game comeback that pushed him to victory on Tuesday.
DeSantis, a three-term congressman who won the endorsement of President Trump, handily defeated Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam in the state’s Republican gubernatorial primary on Tuesday.
The primary victories by two populists from different ends of the political spectrum tee up a bitter proxy fight between two diametrically opposed camps — that of Trump and that of Sanders.
The PPP survey released Thursday pegs Trump’s support among Florida voters at 46 percent, while disapproval is slightly higher at 49 percent. DeSantis has cast himself as a reliable defender of Trump and his agenda, leaving open the question of whether he can win over more-moderate voters in the state who may see the president unfavorably.
The poll also showed a dead heat in the Senate race between incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) — 46 percent and 45 percent, respectively.
Nelson is considered among the most vulnerable Democratic senators up for reelection this year and faces a formidable challenger in Scott, a wealthy two-term Florida governor who has the backing of Trump.