A week to go until the general election, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democratic gubernatorial candidate, has the lead over former U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., according to a new poll from the University of North Florida (UNF).
The Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF released a poll of likely voters on Tuesday which has Gillum with 49 percent followed by DeSantis with 43 percent while 7 percent remain undecided in the final days and less than 1 percent back other candidates.
Both candidates have nailed down the party base with Gillum taking 87 percent of Democrats and DeSantis getting 84 percent of Republicans. Gillum’s lead in the poll comes from voters outside the major parties with 56 percent of them backing him while 31 percent support DeSantis.
“Almost 3 million people have already voted, and Gillum is clearly leading in the gubernatorial race,” said Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF. Binder noted Gillum’s lead with voters outside the major parties and said he projected these voters will make up 19 percent of the electorate in the general election.
In other state Cabinet races, former Judge Ashley Moody, the Republican candidate in the state attorney general race, is ahead of state Rep. Sean Shaw, D-Tampa. Moody takes 47 percent of likely voters while 40 percent of them opt for Shaw. Moody has done a better job of securing her party faithful with 84 percent of Republicans backing her while Shaw has the support of 74 percent of Democrats. The candidates are running close with voters outside the major parties with 40 percent of them for Moody and 39 percent for Shaw while 22 percent of them are still undecided.
In the state agriculture commissioner race, Democrat Nikki Fried has a slight lead over state Rep. Matt Caldwell, R-Lehigh Acres, in the poll. Fried takes 43 percent of likely voters with Caldwell right behind her at 41 percent. Caldwell can count on 77 percent of Republicans while Fried has the backing of 79 percent of Democrats. Fried has an edge with voters outside the major parties--41 percent to 34 percent--but a quarter of them--25 percent--remain undecided.
“Moody appears to have a comfortable lead in the Attorney General race, but the Agricultural Commission race is much tighter. Fried has a small lead, but there are a lot of undecided voters in both of the lower information cabinet races,” Binder said.
The poll also looked at two proposed amendments to the state Constitution. Amendment granting voting rights for some felons--has the support of 69 percent of those surveyed and the opposition of 23 percent. Amendment 9, which bans energy exploration in state waters and adds vaping to indoor tobacco bans, has the support of 48 percent and the opposition of 36 percent. To pass, a proposed amendments needs the support of 60 percent of voters.
The poll of 1,051 likely voters was taken from Oct. 23 through Oct. 26 and had a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.