The contest between Bill Nelson and Rick Scott is very close, a new poll shows.
While Scott has not officially entered the race, a poll that Mason Dixon released on Wednesday morning shows he is right on the Democrat’s heels. The poll has Nelson with 45 percent and Scott right behind him at 44 percent while 11 percent are undecided. Mason Dixon last looked at the race back in October when each candidate took 44 percent.
The poll shows both candidates are above water. Scott is seen as favorable by 42 percent of those surveyed while 32 percent view him as unfavorable, 23 percent are neutral about him and 3 percent are not aware of him. Nelson is less known but 37 percent see him as favorable, 24 percent view him unfavorably, 27 percent are neutral about him and 12 percent are not aware of him.
Both candidates have nailed down their party bases. Nelson takes 81 percent of Democrats while 9 percent are for Scott. The governor has 84 percent of Republicans behind him while 4 percent back Nelson. Voters outside the major parties go Scott’s way as the governor gets 49 percent of them while Nelson garners 38 percent of them.
The poll shows there is a gender game as 51 percent of women prefer Nelson while 37 percent opt for Scott. But the Republican leads with men as 52 percent back the governor while 39 prefer Nelson.
There is also a racial divide in the poll. Scott takes a majority of white voters--55 percent--while 34 percent are for Nelson. A majority of Hispanics--56 percent--back Nelson while 34 percent are for Scott. Blacks go overwhelmingly for Nelson as he takes 83 percent of them while 6 percent are for the governor.
In South Florida, Nelson is far ahead, taking 61 percent while Scott pulls 28 percent. But Scott is dominating in North Florida 58 percent to 32 percent and Southwest Florida 56 percent to 35 percent. Nelson is ahead in Tampa Bay 46 percent to 41 percent but Scott leads in the rest of Central Florida 47 percent to 41 percent.
The poll of 625 Florida voters was taken from Jan. 30-Feb. 1 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.