A new poll shows Florida voters remain undecided about who they want to replace term limited Gov. Rick Scott in November.
St. Leo University released a new poll looking at the gubernatorial race on Wednesday.
When the top candidates from both parties were pitted against each other, almost half of those surveyed--45 percent--remain undecided while 22 percent back Republican state Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam while 18 percent prefer former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham, D-Fla., and 14 percent opt for other candidates.
Frank Orlando, the director of Saint Leo University Polling Institute and a political science at Saint Leo University in Pasco County, said voters simply aren’t focused on the gubernatorial race.
"It's tough to tell a lot from the early head-to-head results, other than voters still have not given their full attention to the race," Orlando said.
The poll shows Putnam with a narrow lead in the GOP primary but 46 percent of Republicans remain undecided. Putnam takes 15 percent of Florida Republicans but U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., who has the support of President Donald Trump, is right on his heels with 14 percent. State House Speaker Richard Corcoran takes 7 percent while Bob White, the leader of the Republican Liberty Caucus of Florida, pulls 5 percent. Former state Sen. Jack Latvala, who resigned after facing accusations of sexual harassment, gets 3 percent while Bruce Nathan and Angel Luis Rivera each take 2 percent and 5 percent back other candidates.
Orlando said he expected “the focus won't be completely on this race” until the end of the legislative session which has been extended as legislators grapple with the budget.
“Putnam seems to have a very slight early advantage, but DeSantis is hoping to tap into the Trump vote on the way to the nomination,” Orlando said.
Half of Florida Democrats--50 percent--are undecided while Graham gets the support of 17 percent of them. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum follows with 10 percent while former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine takes 8 percent. Businessman Chris King gets 7 percent while Jeff Greene, a businessman who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2010 but who is not an active gubernatorial candidates, gets 5 percent. Other candidates get 3 percent.
"Gwen Graham has the name ID advantage but Gillum and Philip Levine from Miami Beach are working to close the name ID gap, with Levine in particular blanketing the state in advertisements,” Orlando said.
The poll sampled opinions of 500 Florida respondents. The survey was conducted February 18 through February 24, 2018. All surveys were conducted using an online survey instrument. The poll has a +/- 4.5 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level on a composite basis.