The third 2018 Florida tracking poll has been released by Gravis Marketing. Donald Trump’s favorability rating in Florida remains underwater at 41%-48% and essentially unchanged from the 41%-49% spread in February. Rick Scott holds better 43%-38% job approval is a slight drop from the 43%-35% margin he held in February. While 23% of voters remain uncertain about Governor Scott, he is seen in a more positive light than Donald Trump. Unsurprisingly, Republicans are still hoping Rick Scott will run for Senate. Despite being the GOP’s top recruit for the race, he still trails incumbent Senator Bill Nelson by the same 44%-40% that he did in February. Nelson is likely to pull farther ahead with a likely voter screen as election day approaches in November.
The race for Governor remains tight. Gravis Marketing Managing Partner Doug Kaplan notes that on the GOP side, “Ron DeSantis has gained in each poll.” DeSantis trailed 23%-12% in December, 18%-16% in February and now leads 19%-17% in March. Speaker Richard Corcoran’s campaign continues to struggle to show much support. Corcoran has stayed between 2%-3% in each of the three Gravis Marketing polls. Undecided voters remain at 60%.
The Democratic race continues to solidify into a three-person race between Gwen Graham, Philip Levine and Andrew Gillum. Gillum rebounded a bit in March to 11% after falling from 12%-9% from December to February. Graham continues to fall to 9% from her high of 18% in December. The former Mayor of Miami Beach, Philip Levine, now has his first lead in the Democratic primary. Levine’s support has jumped from 6% in December to 13% in March. Since 64% of voters remain undecided, Democratic and Republican voters have yet to become engaged with their respective Gubernatorial primaries at this point.
The race on the General election side remains close. Putnam’s numbers remain stronger than DeSantis against Graham and Gillum. Putnam lead Gillum 34%-28% while he only leads Graham 34%-32%. DeSantis trails both Gillum (33%-29%) and Graham (33%-30%). Democrats are glad that personal injury attorney John Morgan publicly ruled out a run for Governor as either a Democrat or an Independent in January. Morgan takes 16%-17% in a three-way race while giving the GOP an advantage in those hypothetical ballot tests.
While the generic ballot remains tight in Florida (40%-37% in favor of Democrats), Kaplan notes that “Florida appears to be moving left on a host of social and cultural issues.” One caveat is that support for gay marriage has decreased from 59%-30% in December, to 51%-38% in March. Still, voters support a needle exchange program 56%-21%, poker and gambling in Florida 45%-33%. Voters oppose a ban on transgender bathroom use 38%-42%, but approve of a ban on transgender locker room use 43%-37%.
After the Stoneman Douglas High school shooting in February, Gravis asked two new questions on gun control measures. Earlier this month, Governor Scott signed into law a bill that raises the minimum age for purchasing firearms to 21 in the state of Florida. This provision has broad 76%-20% support among Florida voters. The measure is approved of by 90% of Democrats, 78% of Independents and 61% of Republicans. Voters also support a ban on semi-automatic weapons such as the AR-15 by a 64%-31% margin. The semi-automatic weapon ban is supported by 87% of Democrats, 68% of Independents and 37% of Republicans.
In November, Florida voters will get a chance to pass a ballot measure to restore voting rights to felons who have completed their court ordered sentence. 60% is the needed vote share to pass a constitutional amendment in Florida, and Gravis finds the amendment supported by 63% of voters with only 25% in opposition. “This amendment seems like a done deal already over 60% with 12% still unsure,” said Kaplan. The amendment I supported by the three leading Democratic candidates for Governor and opposed by Adam Putnam on the Republican side. Ron DeSantis has yet to take an official stand on the amendment.