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Bill Nelson leads Rick Scott by 7 points in new Quinnipiac poll

Is it an outlier? In the last Q poll three weeks ago, the two Senate candidates were tied at 49 percent each.
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Published Sep. 25, 2018
Updated Sep. 25, 2018

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has bolted to a 7-point lead over Republican Gov. Rick Scott in Florida's U.S. Senate race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday.

Nelson has a 17-point lead with women voters in the poll and a 16-point advantage among independents. Men are closely divided, with 51 percent supporting Scott and 47 percent supporting Nelson. Hispanic voters favor Nelson in the poll by 61 to 39 percent.

In the last Quinnipiac poll three weeks ago, the two candidates were dead even at 49 percent each. So absent a fundamental change in the political dynamics, this survey looks like an outlier.

Among likely voters who are asked to name a candidate choice, 94 percent say their minds are made up — six weeks before Election Day, Nov. 6.

Nelson has a favorable/unfavorable rating of 53 to 41 percent in the poll. Scott's rating is upside down, with 46 percent favorable and 51 percent unfavorable.

President Donald Trump's job approval numbers in the poll are grim: 44 percent of Floridians approve and 54 percent disapprove.

On the question of whether the Senate should confirm Brett Kavanaugh as a Supreme Court justice, 47 percent said yes and 48 percent said no. Women oppose Kavanaugh by 54 to 41 percent in the poll. Men support Kavanaugh by 55-40 percent.

Asked to identify the most important issue in this election, 26 percent of respondents chose health care, 19 percent chose the economy, 18 percent chose immigration, 15 percent chose the pending vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, 12 percent chose gun policy and 5 percent said taxes.

The environment was not offered as an option. "Something else" scored 2 percent in the poll.

The Scott-Nelson race is critical in the high-stakes fight over which party will control the Senate. Nelson, a three-term incumbent, is running for re-election in a state that Donald Trump carried narrowly in 2016. Nelson is being vastly outspent by Scott, a two-term governor.

This is the first poll in this pivotal, closely-watched race in which Nelson has a lead. Quinnipiac polled 888 likely voters from Sept. 20-24, and the survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.