Poll: Nelson, Scott running neck-and-neck in Florida Senate race


Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) and Gov. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) are running neck-and-neck in the Sunshine State’s widely watched Senate race, according to a new WCTV poll released Thursday

Nelson, who is seeking his fourth term in the Senate, has support from 46 percent of Florida likely voters, while 45 percent support Scott. That edge is within the poll’s 3 point margin of error.

{mosads}Both candidates have net-positive favorability ratings, with likely voters finding Nelson favorable by a 43-41 margin with 11 percent neutral and five percent who are unfamiliar with the senator. Likely voters find Scott favorable by a 45-41 margin with 11 percent neutral and four percent unfamiliar with the governor.

Voters also give Scott high marks for his response to Hurricane Michael, which struck Florida earlier this month. About 64 percent of likely voters approve of the way Scott responded to the storm, while only 18 percent disapprove.

President Trump’s popularity in the state could also help Scott. About 53 percent of likely voters approve of the job Trump is doing as president, while 44 percent disapprove. The president won the state by a just over one percent in 2016.

While Scott has refrained from making the president a central part of his campaign, wary of alienating Hispanic voters who may be turned off by Trump’s rhetoric regarding immigration, Trump has made his support for him clear.

“Rick Scott of Florida is doing a fantastic job as Governor. Jobs are pouring into the State and its economic health is better than ever before. He is strong on Crime, Borders, and loves our Military and Vets. Vote for Rick on Tuesday!” he tweeted in August before the state’s primary.

Of the 10 Democratic senators defending seats this midterm cycle in states Trump won in 2016, Nelson is considered one of the most vulnerable. Democrats hope an energized base, fueled by national antipathy toward Trump, will help overcome Scott’s massive war chest.

The Cook Political Report rates the race as a “toss up” and an average of polls compiled by RealClearPolitics, which does not include the WCTV poll, has Nelson up 3.2 points.

Strategic Research Associates, LLC, which conducted the poll, surveyed 800 likely voters from Oct. 16-23. The poll has a margin of error of 3.46 percent.

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