The midterms are only getting closer. Democrats hope to retake broad swaths of American political leadership positions, and at least in Florida, they may be well on their way to achieving those aims. A new poll released by CNN has Democratic contender to be the state’s next governor Andrew Gillum a full 12 percent ahead of his Republican opponent, Ron DeSantis among likely voters. Among all registered voters, the Democrat’s lead sits at just ten percent — which is of course still impressive.
His overall recorded lead rests on leading margins with a number of key voting blocs, including independents, women, non-white voters, and voters under the age of 50, although there’s less available data there.
Still, 60 percent of Florida women support Gillum while only 34 percent support DeSantis, and 74 percent of non-white voters back the Tallahassee Democrat while only 23 percent are behind DeSantis, who entered the race as a Congressman, eventually attracting the explicit endorsement of President Donald Trump.
Despite that endorsement, he hasn’t even managed to capture as much of the Republican vote as one might expect. He’s certainly not exactly helped along by the fact that Trump’s approval rating in the state sits at just 43 percent among likely voters, which might be “high” for Trump but is hardly a winning majority.
According to CNN, only 88 percent of Republicans are behind DeSantis, while a full 97 percent of Democrats support Gillum. That’s on top, of course, of his broad support among independents. According to CNN, 51 percent of the members of that broad voting bloc support Gillum, while DeSantis has only managed to attract 42 percent of them. The total number of registered voters in Florida spiked by about half a million going into 2018, but independents maintained their broad place as more than one-fourth of the state’s voting population. For the record, there are almost 300,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans in Florida — meaning the left has got voter registration on their side too heading into November.
Gillum has been attracting big levels of support since the primary season, since he surged from behind to a surprise victory over perceived frontrunner Gwen Graham. Gillum has established a position as a progressive candidate, pushing for policy changes like healthcare expansion for Floridians and protection of the environment. That’s attracted allegations of being a “socialist” from the DeSantis camp, but that mudslinging isn’t scaring off Florida voters, apparently.
Although the lead Gillum has in the CNN poll is certainly strikingly large, it’s in line with some other significant polling that has had him ahead, even if not by that much.
He was nine percent ahead in a Quinnipiac poll released last month, and seven percent ahead in an Ipsos one that came out just within the last couple of weeks.
He’s running alongside candidates including Democrat Bill Nelson, who’s trying to keep outgoing Florida Governor Rick Scott from unseating him in the U.S. Senate. Nelson has been ahead in a number of polls including the CNN one released this week, which had him with a five percent lead. FiveThirtyEight gives him a 2 in 3 chance of prevailing.
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