ORLANDO, Fla. — Andrew Gillum has slightly widened his lead in the race for Florida governor, but supporters shouldn't start the party just yet, according to a new Decision 2018 Exclusive Poll.
- Gillum leads DeSantis 49% to 42%, with 8% undecided
- Among Floridians who already voted, DeSantis ahead 50% to 49%
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Gillum, the Democratic mayor of Tallahassee, leads former Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis 49 percent to 42 percent, with 8 percent undecided in the new poll. Last month, the poll had Gillum up by only 47 percent to 43 percent, with 9 percent undecided.
"Get out and vote. If you care about the state and you care about who leads the state, get out and vote, your vote may really matter. Florida is really a very close state, regardless of what the polls say, and so it is ultimately up to the voters," said Aubrey Jewett, UCF Political Science Professor.
While the new poll has much for those in Gillum's camp to cheer, there are some indicators that DeSantis could still pull out a victory as well.
The SurveyUSA online poll was conducted from October 18 through October 21, which is the same day the two candidates met for their only debate.
The poll surveyed 1,050 Florida adults in that time, with 859 registered to vote. Of those, 665 had already returned a ballot, were expected to do so, or vote, on or before the November 6 election.
And of those voters who told SurveyUSA that they had already voted, DeSantis beat Gillum 50 percent to 49 percent. The polling company says that means there is either early enthusiasm and/or better organization ont he Republican side. It means Gillum must outperform DeSantis on ballots already cast.
The number of undecided voters is 8 percent, which is enough to wipe out Gillum's lead if they all vote for DeSantis.
"I guess the message to take away from this as a viewer is your vote really does matter. I mean if you haven’t cast your vote yet, make sure you do, or make sure you show up on election day, because it potentially is going to be a really close election," said Jewett.
The Credibility Interval is +/- 5 percentage points.
Regionally, support for Gillum is up in three areas of the state, while DeSantis's base is strongest in two regions.
Gillum is up in Northwest Florida, which includes Leon County and his home city of Tallahassee, 42 percent to 34 percent, with 12 percent still undecided.
Gillum also handily beats DeSantis in the Democratic stronghold of Southeast Florida, 61 percent to 32 percent with 6 percent undecided.
DeSantis is most popular in Northeast Florida, which included two of the three counties he represented in Congress, 43 percent to 38 percent, with 16 percent undecided.
He's also strong in the typically Republican-heavy region of Southwest Florida, 51 percent to 43 percent, with 7 percent undecided.
Not surprisingly, the large Central Florida region, which includes the I-4 corridor, is the tightest in the race -- for Gillum, 48 percent to 45 percent, but with 6 percent undecided. So the area could tip either way before Election Day.
By Top Issue
As with all of our polls, the voters who support the Republican candidate see immigration and national security as the top issues, while voters who support the Democratic candidate see the presidency and the environment as the top issues.
All of the Florida voters polled see the economy, followed by immigration as the top issues. Undecided voters see the economy and education as the top issues they care about.
President Trump's approval
How people feel about President Trump will be a factor in this midterm, and while the state's opinion appears to still be divided, there is some good news for the Republicans on that front. President Trump's approval rating is up 1 point from last month, to 44 percent, with 49 percent disapproving and 7 percent unsure.
The approval rating poll is based on the 859 registered voters in the state, rather than just likely voters. The Credibility Interval is +/- 4.2 percentage points.
Among those who say they will vote in the Florida Governor race, 87 percent of DeSantis voters approve of Trump while 5 percent disapprove. Among Gillum voters, 87 percent disapprove of Trump while 6 percent approve.
Among undecided voters, 7 percent approve of Trump, while 6 percent disapprove.