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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — The Florida Senate race between incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson and term-limited Republican Governor Rick Scott remains neck and neck.

According to a new Mason-Dixon poll, Nelson has a marginal lead over Scott.  The statewide numbers show Nelson has a 47-percent lead while Scott has 46-percent, which is a shift in Nelson’s favor since July when Scott had a 47-percent to 44-percent advantage.

The long-term trend line shows no decisive changes over the past year, which suggest that party turnout levels will likely decide the outcome.

Both candidates nailed down the party faithful with Scott getting 85-percent of Republicans and Nelson pulling 84-percent of Democrats. Seven-percent of Democrats were undecided and 5-percent of Republicans were undecided.

Independents leaned slightly for Nelson, 46-percent to 43-percent with 11-percent undecided.

Looking at the demographic splits, Nelson remains strong among women, 54-percent to 38-percent and black voters, 84-percent to 5-percent. Scott, however, still has a sizeable advantage with men, 56-percent to 38-percent, Republicans, 85-percent to 10-percent and whites, 57-percent to 37-percent.

Bill Nelson’s strength remains in Southeast Florida, 62-percent to 33-percent, but Scott continues to hold a wide margin in North Florida, 56-percent to 34-percent.  Southwest Florida still backs Scott, but his margin on his home turf has slipped several points from 53-percent to 38-percent, possibly on environmental issues such as red tide and green algae.

The decisive “I-4 corridor” slightly leans to Scott, 48-percent to 46-percent overall, but there is a split between the two regions within it. Scott is ahead in Central Florida, 51-percent to 43-percent and Nelson is up in Tampa Bay, 49-percent to 45-percent.

The poll of 815 registered Florida voters who said they were “likely to vote” in the November general election, was taken from Sept. 24 through September 27 and had a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percent.


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