A newly released Oct. 16-20 Florida poll from CNN (MoE +/- 4.2 percent) shows Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson leading Republican Rick Scott 50 percent to to 45 percent among likely voters, and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum leading Republican Ron DeSantis 54 percent to 42 percent.
The telephone survey by SSRS is an outlier ("A joke," the Scott campaign said). The average of recent public polls compiled by RealClearPolitics.com shows Gillum leading by an average of 3.7 percentage points in the governor's race and Nelson leading Scott by 1.3 percentage points. (UPDATE: See DeSantis response below).
Among registered voters, as opposed to likely, Nelson had a 4 point lead, and Gillum a 10 point lead.
**Forty-three percent of likely voters said they approved on Donald Trump's performance and 51 percent disapproved.
**Forty-seven percent had a favorable view of both Scott and Nelson, but 46 percent had an unfavorable impression of Scott, compared to just 37 percent for Nelson.
**Nearly two thirds of likely voters approved of how Rick Scott handled Hurricane Michael
**Among white voters, DeSantis led Gillum 52 percent to 44 percent, and Gillum led among independents 51 percent to 42.
* *Among likely voters, 26 percent said healthcare is the most important issue, 25 percent said the economy, 15 percent immigration, and 12 percent gun policy.
Gillum and DeSantis are scheduled to hold their first televised debate at 8 p.m. tonight on CNN. Jake Tapper will moderate.
The DeSantis campaign issued the following release:
"This poll is as amusing as it is suspicious in that it was released hours before a debate between the two candidates – clearly meant to give the advantage to Andrew Gillum," said Stephen Lawson on behalf of the DeSantis for Governor campaign. "But while CNN is clearly working hard to craft far left polling data with results that are pure fiction, Ron DeSantis is ready to face Mr. Gillum on behalf of all Floridians who stand against his billion-dollar tax increase, anti-law enforcement agenda and record of suspicion and corruption."
The campaign pointed to a myriad of examples of the failed methodology in the poll, including polling a sample of Florida residents that leans +3% Democrat for a non-presidential General Election without weighting the sample by recent General Election turnout. Further, polling a sample of voters that is 39% Independent for a statewide poll in Florida produces results that are meaningless for a Gubernatorial Election. Weighting individual respondents to Census estimates without also weighting to past turnout profiles is nonsensical, further proving the methodology of the poll renders the findings useless.
This survey does not reflect any electorate Florida has ever seen and that should be expected when surveying non-likely voters and not weighting it to past election results. This poll has more Independent voters than Democrats or Republicans and more Democrats than Republicans. However, in the 2010, 2012, 2014 and 2016 general elections more Republicans voted than Democrats or Independents.
"Simply put, this CNN survey is not worth the paper it is written on because the sample and weights do not reflect a Florida election. It also makes no sense to use this sampling when you can buy Florida's voter file and voting history files for $10 and weight to those voter-level characteristics," added Stephen Lawson, on behalf of the DeSantis Campaign. "That CNN takes this poll seriously enough to blast it out to their viewers right before a debate on their network is why so many Americans believe that CNN peddles fake news."