While the Senate class up for reelection in 2018 leaves the Democrats disproportionately overexposed,
the Gubernatorial class due up in 2018 leaves the GOP just as overexposed according to a recent Gravis Marketing Poll. Poll Release
While the Senate class up for reelection in 2018 leaves the Democrats disproportionately overexposed, the Gubernatorial class due up in 2018 leaves the GOP just as overexposed. There are 24 Governorships currently held by the Republican Party that are up in 2018 along with 8 Democratic and 1 Independent. Many of these races are open with term-limited or retiring incumbents. Florida is one of the states where the GOP has a termed out incumbent Governor, Rick Scott.
Scott won two close races in 2010 and 2014 by 1.15% and 1.08% respectively. Democrats hope to win a Gubernatorial race in Florida for the first time since Lawton Chiles defeated future Governor Jeb Bush in 1994. On the Senatorial side, Nelson won two races in 2006 and 2012 by large 22.21% and 13.01% margins. Nelson was first elected in 2000 by 4.85% while Presidential candidate Al Gore was losing the state by 0.01%.
“This is going to be the most competitive Florida primary in many years” says Doug Kaplan, the managing partner of Gravis Marketing. The number one question, in Kaplan’s opinion, is “can the Florida Democratic Party can finally get organized.” The Democratic field is large, but the race is quickly developing into a two-person race between former Congresswoman Gwen Graham at 18% and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum at 12%. The field fills out with businessman Chris King, real estate developer Jeff Greene and former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine. “Gillum is the wild card,” says Kaplan. “If he can raise money in a five-person and race get overwhelming African American support, he has a path to winning the nomination.” Graham has, however, picked up a key national African American endorser in Georgia Congressman and civil rights activist, John Lewis.
The Republican side is equally as competitive. Commissioner Adam Putnam has jumped out to an early 23%-12% edge over the Congressman Ron DeSantis. DeSantis has yet to officially declare his 2018 intentions, however is widely expected to run. “If DeSantis declares, he will give Putnam a run for his money,” says Kaplan. “DeSantis has the ability to raise money, which will be important in an expensive state such as Florida. Democrats would likely prefer a DeSantis candidacy since Putnam is considered more of a centrist.”
“President Donald Trump shook up the race for Florida governor on Friday by giving what amounts to an endorsement of Republican Rep. Ron DeSantis despite White House denials that the president would get involved with the race.” Politico reports
“The general election will be very close,” says Doug Kaplan, the managing partner of Gravis Marketing. Kaplan continues to note that “we still have many unknowns like John Morgan will he run as a third-party candidate?” Currently, Gwen Graham and Adam Putnam are tied at 32% with 37% undecided. Gillum and Putnam are tied at a similar 31%. The undecided voters are evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. Democrats hold a single digit lead among independent voters. Kaplan points out that one major unknown in the race is “will John Morgan run as a third-party candidate?” The three-way ballot test between Graham, Putnam and Morgan gives Putnam a 27%-23%-17% lead. Morgan takes a quarter of independents and twice as many Democrats as he does Republicans.
It is expected that incumbent the Republican Governor, Rick Scott, will run against incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson. Scott has a 42%-36% approval split. Voters approve of Scott’s handling of Hurricane Irma by a wide 70%-15% margin. Kaplan points out that “Scott’s handling of Hurricane Irma takes a hit when voters are specifically asked about his managing of nursing homes and other medical facilities.” Voters approve of Scott’s managing of nursing homes and other medical facilities by a much narrower 44%-30%. Scott currently trails Nelson 44%-39%. “In a normal environment Scott would give Nelson a run for his money,” says Kaplan. “With this electorate that we believe will turnout Nelson has a big advantage.” Undecided voters by party are 13% of Democrats, 13% of Republicans and 24% of independents. Nelson holds a 13.5% edge among independent voters.
Democrats have a possibility to pick up two to six House seats in Florida in 2018. Democrats hold a generic ballot 42%-35% lead in Florida. The 26th and 27th are likely to flip to the Democrats in 2018 while the 3rd, 15th, 18th and 25th all have the potential to be competitive. To win in 2018, Kaplan says “The democrats need 3 things, they need African American voters, white college educated women and newly registered voters from Puerto Rico to turnout out.” 215,000 Puerto Ricans have relocated to Florida since Hurricane Irma struck the Island. “The Puerto Rico effect has the potential to change the entire election in the Democratic party’s favor in Florida,” says Kaplan.
After winning Florida by 1.19% in 2016, Donald Trump’s favorable rating in Florida has sunk to 39% with 53% viewing him unfavorably. This result is consistent with the current national polling aggregate for President Trump’s approval rating. This is the first in a series of Florida tracking polls Gravis Marketing will be releasing every 45 days.