Poll: Women powering Democrats' lead in Florida

CNN's David Chalian breaks down new polling that shows Democrat Andrew Gillum leading Republican Ron DeSantis in the Florida gubernatorial race and Democrat Sen. Bill Nelson leading Republican Gov. Rick Scott in the race for the Senate.

Posted: Oct 22, 2018 3:57 PM
Updated: Oct 22, 2018 4:23 PM

As the final two weeks of campaigning begin, Democrats hold an edge in both the gubernatorial and Senate contests in the key state of Florida, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS. Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum holds a wide 12-point edge over his Republican opponent Rep. Ron DeSantis in the race for governor, while the Senate contest is a closer matchup with incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson at 50% to Republican Gov. Rick Scott's 45%.

Gillum's 54% to 42% lead rests on advantages among women (60% back him vs. 34% who say they favor DeSantis), non-white voters (74% back Gillum, 23% DeSantis), younger voters (60% for Gillum, 33% for DeSantis) and political independents (51% back Gillum, 42% DeSantis). Gillum has also consolidated Democratic support (97% favor him) in a way that DeSantis has not matched on the Republican side (88% back him).

Views of Donald Trump are about as polarizing as partisanship in this race, which Trump has tweeted about multiple times. Among the 51% of likely voters who disapprove of the president, 92% back Gillum, while 87% back DeSantis among the 43% who approve of Trump.

The poll shows a wider lead for Gillum than some other recent telephone polling, nearly all of which was conducted before Hurricane Michael struck the state on October 10. Before the storm, public polling in mid- to late-September on these contests was mixed, with some (including surveys from Mason-Dixon and the University of North Florida) finding near-even races while others (including the Quinnipiac University and NBC News/Marist polls) gave the Democratic candidates the edge.

The CNN findings could be an outlier -- a statistical anomaly which occurs in polling by random chance. It also could be an indicator of renewed Democratic enthusiasm.

In the poll's sample of registered voters, the mix of Democrats and Republicans surveyed almost exactly matches the numbers reported by Florida's Secretary of State: 38% report being registered as Democrats, 35% as Republicans and 27% are registered with no party affiliation or as members of another party. Those identified as likely voters are similarly divided between Democrats and Republicans (40% to 37%) with fewer who are registered without a party affiliation or as members of a third party (23%).

And the Democratic advantages in the poll were similar across multiple versions of a likely voter model, including those driven more by interest in the campaign and those which placed stronger emphasis on past voting behavior.

Several recent national polls -- including surveys from CNN, the Washington Post and ABC News, and the Wall Street Journal and NBC News -- have also found wider Democratic leads in generic congressional ballots among likely voters than among registered voters, and have found signs of strong enthusiasm among Democratic voters.

Florida Senate race

In the Senate contest, Nelson's slimmer edge is likewise dependent on wide gaps by gender and race, though the divide is far smaller by age and each candidate's backing among their own partisans is similar. Both candidates for Senate are viewed favorably by 47% of likely voters. Nelson, however, is less likely than Scott to be seen unfavorably, 37% say they have a negative view of Nelson, compared with 46% who have a negative take on Scott.

In both races, 11% of likely voters say there's a chance they could change their minds before Election Day.

Likely voters in this poll give Scott broadly positive marks for his response to Hurricane Michael, 64% approve and 17% disapprove. Nelson's response also merited more positive than negative reviews, 40% approve to 23% disapprove, but a sizable 37% weren't sure how they felt about the Senator's response to the storm.

Scott tops Nelson by a wide 51% to 39% margin in North Florida and the Panhandle, which was most deeply affected by the storm and is a typically Republican-leaning region. Gillum, who is mayor of Tallahassee, outperforms Nelson in the region, splitting it evenly with DeSantis at 47% for each.

Florida's likely voters are about equally likely to say health care (26%) and the economy (25%) are the most important issues they're considering in the Senate contest. Immigration and gun policy follow, with 15% calling immigration most important to their vote and 12% gun policy.

As in other states, health care voters broadly back the Democratic candidate, breaking overwhelmingly for Nelson here 81% to 14%. Economy voters favor the Republican, 72% for Scott to 23% for Nelson.

The CNN Poll in Florida was conducted by SSRS October 16 through 20 among a random statewide sample reached on landlines or cellphones by a live interviewer. Results for the full sample of 1,012 adults have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.6 percentage points, for the subset of 872 registered voters, it is plus or minus 3.9 and for the 759 likely voters plus or minus 4.2 percentage points.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 313166

Reported Deaths: 7228
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto21496257
Hinds20294414
Harrison17814309
Rankin13573278
Jackson13411246
Madison10066217
Lee9962173
Jones8364163
Forrest7649152
Lauderdale7181240
Lowndes6370145
Lamar621686
Lafayette6171118
Washington5323133
Bolivar4797132
Oktibbeha461498
Panola4561105
Pearl River4499145
Marshall4397103
Warren4380121
Pontotoc419572
Monroe4100133
Union409076
Neshoba4026176
Lincoln3950110
Hancock377786
Leflore3487125
Sunflower335790
Tate332484
Pike3301105
Scott315373
Alcorn311968
Yazoo310769
Itawamba299477
Copiah296465
Simpson294788
Coahoma294379
Tippah287768
Prentiss279560
Adams269582
Marion268880
Leake266273
Wayne262341
Grenada260386
Covington256381
George246848
Newton246061
Winston226881
Tishomingo225967
Jasper220848
Attala214173
Chickasaw207157
Holmes188673
Clay184754
Stone182033
Tallahatchie178140
Clarke177879
Calhoun170132
Yalobusha163337
Smith162234
Walthall133845
Greene130333
Lawrence128323
Montgomery126742
Noxubee126734
Perry125938
Amite122842
Carroll121728
Webster114532
Jefferson Davis106932
Tunica104826
Claiborne102230
Benton99125
Humphreys96133
Kemper95428
Franklin83623
Quitman80216
Choctaw76118
Wilkinson66930
Jefferson65428
Sharkey50317
Issaquena1686
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 530988

Reported Deaths: 10978
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson765291522
Mobile40971804
Madison34751503
Tuscaloosa25775452
Montgomery24329589
Shelby23431249
Baldwin21131308
Lee15884171
Calhoun14501314
Morgan14293279
Etowah13831353
Marshall12222223
Houston10567281
Elmore10061205
Limestone9960151
Cullman9664193
St. Clair9655243
Lauderdale9424241
DeKalb8830186
Talladega8223176
Walker7235277
Autauga6920108
Jackson6810112
Blount6660137
Colbert6298134
Coffee5511119
Dale4831111
Russell441138
Chilton4290112
Franklin425782
Covington4121118
Tallapoosa4027152
Escambia393376
Chambers3563123
Dallas3551151
Clarke351061
Marion3118101
Pike310877
Lawrence300298
Winston274472
Bibb260764
Geneva249977
Marengo249764
Pickens234461
Barbour230857
Hale222977
Butler215969
Fayette212362
Henry188744
Cherokee184845
Randolph180241
Monroe177440
Washington167339
Macon159150
Clay156256
Crenshaw152257
Cleburne148941
Lamar142535
Lowndes138853
Wilcox127130
Bullock123041
Conecuh110529
Perry107726
Coosa107228
Sumter104532
Greene92334
Choctaw60624
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