Everything Up in the Air in Florida Senate Race

| Tom Jensen

PPP’s new Florida Senate poll finds that the race is pretty much undefined, with the candidates largely unknown and ‘undecided’ leading the primaries on both the Democratic and Republican sides.

On the GOP side none of the 3 major hopefuls who have declared their candidacies so far have even 40% name recognition. David Jolly and Ron DeSantis each have 37% name recognition, and for Carlos Lopez-Cantera it’s even lower at 31%. 52% of voters say they’re undecided about who they’d want their candidate to be given those choices, with Jolly at 18%, DeSantis at 15%, and Lopez-Cantera at 14%. It’s going to be a while before this race really develops and there’s definitely still room in the field for others to join.

It’s a similar story on the Democratic side- a 39% plurality of voters are undecided, with Alan Grayson getting 33% to Patrick Murphy’s 27%, thanks largely to a 44/21 advantage with voters who describe themselves as ‘very liberal.’ The Democratic hopefuls are better known than the Republicans, but Murphy still has only 48% name recognition and despite his high national profile even Grayson is only familiar to 55% of primary voters.

The general elections match ups lean slightly Democratic at this point, with Murphy generally faring better in them than Grayson. Murphy leads all the Republicans- it’s 40/35 over both DeSantis and Jolly, and 41/35 over Lopez-Cantera. Grayson slightly trails both Jolly (39/36) and DeSantis (37/36), but does lead Lopez-Cantera 41/34.

One thing that could put a wrench in the whole Senate race is if Rubio makes a late pivot to run for reelection as his Presidential campaign struggles. He would start out with pretty decent sized leads over both Murphy (46/40) and Grayson (48/38) if he ended up making that change in plans.

The prospects of medical marijuana passing the necessary 60% threshold next year on a Presidential ballot are looking pretty good. 63% of voters say they would pass such an initiative, to only 29% who say they would be opposed. Democrats (78/15) overwhelmingly favor it with independents (61/32) slightly over the passage threshold, and even a narrow plurality of Republicans (47/44) for it as well. The generational divide also makes it clear it’s only a matter of time before looser marijuana laws go into place- young voters (75/18) are nearly unanimous in their support for this initiative while seniors (53/40) give it its lowest level of support.

Voters are nearly evenly divided on Rick Scott with 43% of voters approving of him to 45% who disapprove. Those are about the best numbers we’ve found for him in the whole five years that he’s been in office. Nevertheless he would trail Bill Nelson 46/42 in a hypothetical 2018 Senate contest. Nelson keeps a lower profile than Scott but has a similar approval rating to the Governor (42%) while having a considerably lower disapproval (34%).

Full results here

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