Florida split on Nelson-Scott Senate race, opinion of Trump

Republican Gov. Rick Scott, left, is expected to challenge Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson next year. (Photos by George Bennett/The Palm Beach Post)

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott are virtually tied in a race for Nelson’s Senate seat, according to a Mason-Dixon poll released this morning.

Nelson gets 45 percent, Scott gets 44 percent and 11 percent are undecided in a Jan. 30-Feb. 1 poll of 625 voters with a 4 percent margin of error.

In previous Mason-Dixon polls, Nelson held a 46-to-41 percent lead a year ago and the two were tied at 44 percent in October. Term-limited Scott hasn’t announced a campaign but is widely expected to challenge Nelson this year.

President Donald Trump won Florida by 1.2 percent in 2016, and the latest poll finds opinion of him remains divided. Forty-four percent of Florida voters have a favorable view of Trump, 45 percent have an unfavorable view and 11 percent say they’re neutral.

One in eight Florida voters doesn’t recognize Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson.


Scott is viewed favorably by 42 percent and unfavorably by 32 percent. Nelson is viewed favorably by 37 percent and unfavorably by 24 percent.

Trump and Scott have nearly universal name recognition across Florida, but the new poll finds 12 percent of Sunshine State voters don’t recognize Nelson, who is completing his third term in the Senate.

Independent voters break for Scott by a 49-to-38 percent margin in the new poll. Nelson carries black voters by an 83-to-6 margin and Hispanics by a 56-to-34 margin while Scott wins the white vote by a 55-to-34 margin. Scott wins male voters by 13 points while Nelson wins female voters by 14 points.

Author: George Bennett

George Bennett has been a Palm Beach Post reporter since 1992. He grew up in Bethesda, Md. and is a graduate of The George Washington University. Follow him on Twitter @gbennettpost

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