A new poll shows a close contest between U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum in the race to replace term limited Gov. Rick Scott in Florida.
Qunnipiac University released a poll on Tuesday afternoon which shows 50 percent of voters for Gillum, who won the Democratic primary in an upset last week, and DeSantis, who blew out Florida Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam on the Republican side, right behind him with 47 percent.
There is a major racial divide as 93 percent of black voters back Gillum while 2 percent prefer DeSantis but the Republican takes 52 percent of white voters while the Tallahassee mayor gets 45 percent of them. Hispanic voters break for DeSantis who gets 56 percent of them while 43 percent back Gillum. There is also a gender gap with men backing DeSantis 52 percent to 45 percent while women support Gillum 55 percent to 42 percent.
Both candidates have nailed down their party base with 92 percent of Republicans for DeSantis and 93 percent of Democrats for Gillum. The Democrat takes 55 percent of independents while 42 percent are for DeSantis. Most DeSantis and Gillum backers--94 percent of them--say they have made up their minds on who to vote for.
Gillum is seen as favorable by 46 percent while 33 percent see him as unfavorable. DeSantis is better known with 45 percent seeing him favorably while 43 percent see him as unfavorable.
"Mayor Andrew Gillum came out of his upset victory in the Florida Democratic primary with a head of steam," said Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, on Tuesday. "That momentum shows itself as Gillum hits 50 percent in a neck-and-neck match-up with Republican U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis for the four-year lease on the governor's mansion.
"Neither man was well-known before their primaries, but since then the race has become a center of political attention in the state,” Borwn added. "Now, 97 of voters say they will vote for one of the two men, a highly unusual situation this far from the actual voting. Just as unusual, more than 90 percent of Gillum and DeSantis voters say they will not change their minds and are dead set in supporting the candidate they now favor.”
President Donald Trump, who carried Florida in 2016, is slightly upside down in the Sunshine State with 51 percent disapproving of him and 47 percent approving him. He is backing DeSantis in the race but the poll shows half of those surveyed--51 percent--do not consider the president as an important factor in the race. A quarter of those surveyed--24 percent--say their vote for governor will express opposition to Trump while 22 percent say their vote will show their support of the president.
Asked what the most important issue is in the race, 23 percent say the economy, 14 percent say immigration, another 14 percent say health-care, 13 percent say guns, 12 percent say the environment and 10 percent say education.
Asked if they like DeSantis’ positions on the issues, 47 percent say yes and 45 percent say no. Asked if they like DeSantis as a person, 40 percent say yes and 33 percent say no.
Asked if they like Gillum’s positions on the issues, 46 percent say yes and 42 percent say no. Asked if they like Gillum as a person, 49 percent say yes and 13 percent say no.
The poll of 785 likely primary voters was taken from Aug. 30 through Sept. 3 and had a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percent.