A new poll of Florida voters released over the weekend shows a possible shift toward the Democrats in the last weeks before the election. The poll shows that both gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum and incumbent Senator Bill Nelson now hold leads over their Republican opponents outside the margin of error. In Gillum’s case, the poll shows a double-digit lead.
The poll by CNN and SSRS shows that Democrat Senator Bill Nelson is starting to open up a lead over former governor Rick Scott. The new poll shows that Nelson leads among likely voters by 50-45 percent with a 4.2 percent margin of error. Only three percent of voters remain undecided.
In the gubernatorial race, Andrew Gillum, the mayor of Tallahassee, leads Republican Congressman Ron DeSantis by 12 points among likely voters. Gillum currently holds a 54-42 lead with four percent undecided.
Both races are still considered tossups and polling has been extremely close until the CNN poll was released. Although most polling had favored the Democratic candidates, the polling gaps were well within the margin of error. Rick Scott led by 1.4 points in one recent poll by St. Pete Polls. DeSantis trailed Gillum by 1.1 points in the same poll.
The shift in preferences indicated by the CNN poll has two possible explanations. The poll could be an outlier that is inaccurate. The polling sample is the smallest of recent polls and may not accurately reflect the electorate. The other possibility is that the Democrats are opening up a real lead in both races.
The race in Florida has been the subject of intense interest from around the country. Heavy hitters from both parties have campaigned for their respective standard bearers. Donald Trump, Joe Biden, and Cory Booker are among those who have traveled to the Sunshine State. Hurricane Michael also ravaged the Florida panhandle. The storm’s effect on the election as well as on pre-election polling is uncertain. Gillum and DeSantis met in a debate on Sunday that may also impact the race.
In the case of Bill Nelson, the upsurge in poll numbers may be part of the candidate’s strategy. For much of the summer, Rick Scott waged an ad war against Nelson. In August, the Nelson campaign launched a $42 million ad campaign that was scheduled to run through Election Day. The campaign may be beginning to reap results.
Given its current status as an outlier, the CNN poll should be considered skeptically. With two weeks left before the election, subsequent polling will either confirm that the race is breaking towards the Democrats or refute the CNN poll.
Although both races are considered tossups, both Democrats have held consistent leads in the majority of the polling and should be considered frontrunners, if only slightly.
Originally published on The Resurgent