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Poll: Ron DeSantis vs. Adam Putnam could be photo finish

Skeptics abound

A just-released poll by  the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economics Polling Initiative shows Gwen Graham comfortably ahead in the Democratic gubernatorial primary and Ron DeSantis and Adam Putnam in a dead heat on the Republican side

The automated Aug. 16-20 survey of 800 registered voters (MoE +6.5 percent) found DeSantis leading Putnam 32-31 percent, with 22 percent undecided. On the Democratic side: Graham 29 percent, Philip Levine 17 percent, Andrew Gillum and Jeff Greene tied at 11 percent, and Chris King at 10 percent.

Two caveats: FAU measured the views of registered voters, rather than likely primary votes, which could be and often are very different.  UPDATE: Contrary to the news release, the survey was of likely voters, an FAU spokesman said.

And we don't know how the more than 1 million votes cast effect these results, since opinions may have shifted after many of the voters already had been cast.

As much as the political media root for a neck and neck race, one wonders what has happened in the past few weeks to dramatically shake up the GOP primary. But at least two other public polls show the effectively tied or ahead.

“Adam Putnam appears to have regained some of his footing in the gubernatorial race,” said Kevin Wagner,  professor of political science at FAU and a research fellow of the Initiative. “The difference may be which candidate is better able to turnout their supporters in the next week.”

Nineteen percent of the Democrats surveyed were undecided.

"One factor driving Graham's lead is her support among females," said Monica Escaleras, director of the BEPI. "As the only female candidate, she leads the field with 32 percent of the female vote. Males also support her, but to a lesser degree at 25 percent."

Florida Gov. Rick Scott had a six point lead over U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in the U.S. Senate race, 45 to 39 percent, with 16 percent undecided. Scott led Nelson by four points, 44-40 percent, in July's BEPI poll. Among Independent voters, Scott led  Nelson 44 to 25 percent.

Forty eight percent approved of Scott's performance and 33 percent disapproved. That's considerably better than Nelson, who had 35 percent approval rating and a 36 percent disapproval rating.

President Donald Trump had a two-point increase in his approval rating, which ito 43 percent, tied for his highest approval rating among Florida voters since taking office. Eight in 10 Republicans approve of the president's performance but 45 percent 0f all voters disaapprove.