November 5, 2018
NBC News/Marist Poll Results & Analysis of Florida
Amid a political atmosphere infused with heightened electoral enthusiasm, the Democrats narrowly edge the Republicans on both the issue of congressional control and on the generic congressional ballot question. In the race for U.S. Senate, Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Rick Scott are competitive among likely voters. The gubernatorial contest between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis is equally competitive among the likely electorate. This as President Donald Trump’s job approval rating is upside down in the Sunshine State.
Nearly half of registered voters in Florida (48%) prefer a Congress controlled by Democrats, and 44% favor a Congress controlled by Republicans, little changed from the September NBC News/Marist Poll in the state. A 25-point gender gap exists on this question.
On the generic congressional ballot question, 50% favor the Democrat in their district, and 45% support the Republican. The Democratic candidate previously had an 8-point lead over the Republican on the generic congressional ballot. A 25-point gender gap exists.
Nearly eight in ten registered voters (79%) think Tuesday’s midterm elections are very important with little partisan difference. The same proportion of Democrats (82%) and Republicans (82%) as well as 74% of independents characterize the midterm elections as very important.
More than two in three registered voters (68%) consider President Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court to be a voting issue. This includes 37% who say they are more likely to back a candidate who opposed the Kavanaugh nomination and 31% of voters who say they favor a candidate who supported the appointment. 29% say it does not make any difference to their vote.
In the U.S. Senate race in Florida, Democrat Bill Nelson (50%) edges Republican Rick Scott (46%) among likely voters statewide including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or who already voted. Among those who already voted, Nelson (54%) has an 8-point lead over Scott (46%). Nine percent of likely voters are persuadable, that is, they are undecided or have a candidate preference but say they may vote differently. A 28-point gender gap is present, an increase from 21 points.
When this question was last reported, Nelson (48%) edged Scott (45%) by a similar 3 points among likely voters in Florida. Six percent were undecided.
Nelson receives 50% to 45% for Scott among registered voters. Nelson (48%) previously led Scott (43%) by the same margin in September.
63% of likely voters with a candidate preference for U.S. Senate strongly support their choice. 64% of Nelson’s supporters and 62% of Scott’s backers express a strong commitment to their candidate.
As the campaign has progressed, Nelson’s negatives have gone up. Likely voters now divide in their impressions of him. 45% have a favorable opinion of Nelson, and 42% have an unfavorable one. 13% have either never heard of Nelson or are unsure how to rate him. Previously, a plurality of likely voters (44%) had a positive impression of Nelson, 36% had an unfavorable one, and 20% had either never heard of Nelson or were unsure how to rate him.
Scott’s favorable rating is upside down. 42% of likely voters have a positive opinion of him while 50% have an unfavorable one. 7% have either never heard of Scott or are unsure how to rate him. Likely voters previously divided. 46% thought well of Scott. 45% had a negative opinion of him, and 9% had either never heard of Scott or were unsure how to rate him.
“The campaign has taken a toll on both Nelson and Scott,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion. “Although Nelson has a better overall standing than Scott with voters, the negatives for both have increased during the campaign.”
In Florida’s gubernatorial contest, Democrat Andrew Gillum (50%) and Republican Ron DeSantis (46%) are competitive among likely voters statewide including those who are undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or already voted. Three percent are undecided. Among early voters, a majority (54%) support Gillum while 46% back DeSantis. Seven percent of likely voters are persuadable. In September, Gillum (48%) had a 5-point lead over DeSantis (43%) among likely voters. Seven percent were undecided.
Among registered voters, Gillum (50%) narrowly edges DeSantis (45%). Gillum (49%) had an 8-point lead over DeSantis (41%) among these voters in the previous NBC News/Marist Poll.
76% of likely voters with a candidate preference for Florida governor say they strongly support their choice. 82% of Gillum’s backers, compared with 70% of DeSantis’ supporters, say they are firmly committed to their candidate.
“Unlike the Senate contest where both Nelson and Scott have a similar intensity of support among their backers, Gillum has a double-digit advantage over DeSantis,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.
Nearly half of likely voters (48%) have a favorable impression of Gillum. 40% have an unfavorable one, and 12% have either never heard of Gillum or are unsure how to rate him. 46% of likely voters previously thought well of Gillum, 27% had a negative impression of him, and 27% had either never heard of Gillum or were unsure how to rate him.
The likely electorate divides about DeSantis. 43% of likely voters have a favorable opinion of him, 45% have an unfavorable impression of him, and 12% have either never heard of DeSantis or are unsure how to rate him. 42% of likely voters in September had a favorable opinion of DeSantis, 37% had an unfavorable one, and 22% had either never heard of him or were unsure how to rate him.
President Trump’s approval rating is upside down in Florida. 43% of adults, including 44% of likely voters, approve. This compares with 43% with this view in September. 50% disapprove, including 51% of likely voters. 48% were of this opinion previously. 30% of Florida residents strongly approve of the job he is doing. 38% strongly disapprove.