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Dem polling shows Rubio in a dead heat

Dem polling shows Rubio in a dead heat
© Greg Nash

Internal Democratic polling obtained by The Hill shows Rep. Patrick Murphy (D) is tied with incumbent Republican Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSunday shows preview: All eyes on Biden administration to tackle coronavirus Rubio: Biden 'talking like a centrist' but governing 'from the radical left' The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds MORE in the pivotal battle for the Florida seat.

Polling conducted by Civis Analytics for Senate Majority PAC, a Democratic super PAC, shows Murphy in a statistical dead heat with Rubio. He has 45 percent support compared to Rubio’s 44 percent; 9 percent of voters are undecided. 

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Civis’s modeling shows undecided voters are more likely to break toward Murphy, projecting him to win with 51.6 percent of the vote.

The poll surveyed 1,436 likely voters in Florida Aug. 9-Aug. 15, more than two weeks before both candidates cruised to victory in their respective primaries last Tuesday.

Recent public polls show Rubio with a comfortable lead, however. An average of six surveys conducted in the month of August shows Rubio with a 5.7-point lead, according to Real Clear Politics.

Democrats are touting the internal data because it shows Murphy performing strongly with more conservative voters as well as with white and older voters.

Senate Democratic leaders recruited him because of his centrist appeal and weighed in heavily on his behalf during the primary.

Coming out of the nasty primary contest with Rep. Alan GraysonAlan Mark GraysonFlorida's Darren Soto fends off Dem challenge from Alan Grayson Live results: Arizona and Florida hold primaries The Hill's Morning Report: Frustration mounts as Republicans blow up tax message MORE (D-Fla.), who challenged him from the left, Murphy is running behind Democratic benchmarks among non-white and Millennial voters.

Democratic strategists think Murphy can make up ground with the party base over the next two months.

“Murphy has room to grow among several Democratic leaning groups that should be responsive to communications. He is well positioned to win this seat in the fall,” Civis Analytics wrote in a memo to Senate Majority PAC.

Democrats think Rubio is close to his ceiling.

The survey shows the freshman Republican senator underperforming with traditional parts of the GOP coalition.

His favorability among Republican voters has dropped 5 points over the past month, the Civis poll found. His favorability has declined 9 points since he announced his candidacy in late June, according to Civis.

“Rubio’s support is also inflated by his temporary advantage in name ID, as he is winning voters who haven’t heard of Murphy, by 2-to-1,” the memo states.

Outside groups aligned with both parties plan to spend heavily in the race over the next eight weeks.