Three New Polls Leave the Florida Senate Race Hard to Read

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson (Kevin Kolczynski/Reuters)

With Election Day a little more than two weeks away, several new polls in Florida leave the outcome difficult to predict. A CNN survey from this past weekend gave Democratic senator Bill Nelson a five-point lead, ahead of Governor Rick Scott 50-45 percent.

Meanwhile, this morning, Quinnipiac released its own poll of the race, putting Nelson ahead of the GOP governor 53-46 percent among likely voters, with only 2 percent undecided. The poll found that 60 percent of independent voters say they support Nelson, while only 38 percent say they support Scott.

These two surveys give the incumbent Democrat the biggest advantage he’s had in the contest since mid September, when another Quinnipiac poll put Nelson ahead of Scott by seven points.

A new survey out today from St. Pete Polls, however, offered a different forecast. The poll surveyed 1,575 likely voters over this past weekend and found that Scott had a narrow advantage, with 49 percent support to Nelson’s 48 percent.

These three new surveys are an excellent case study in the reality that poll data can only tell observers so much about a race — and they can’t be expected to predict outcomes with certainty. Even so, the new polling from CNN and Quinnipiac is in marked contrast to the polls over the last few weeks, which seemed to suggest a narrowing race.

The same CNN poll indicated that Democratic mayor of Tallahassee Andrew Gillum leads Representative Ron DeSantis in the Florida gubernatorial race, 54-42 percent. St. Pete Polls showed a much narrower lead, putting Gillum ahead of DeSantis 47-46 percent.