Gov. Rick Scott hasn’t announced he’s running for U.S. Senate in 2018, but a new survey shows he’s already trailing in the polls.
A poll from Mason-Dixon Polling & Research shows Sen. Bill Nelson holds a five-point lead over Scott, who is widely believed to be mulling a 2018 U.S. Senate bid. Statewide, the Orlando Democrat leads Scott 46 to 41 percent, with 13 percent of respondents saying they were undecided.
The poll found Nelson has a big lead in Southeast Florida, where 60 percent of voters said they backed Nelson, compared to 24 percent who picked Scott. He also leads in the Tampa Bay region, 47 to 40 percent.
Scott is favored in North Florida, 56 percent to Nelson’s 34 percent. And the Naples Republican has a big lead Southwest Florida, his home turf, where 52 percent of voters backed Scott, compared to 37 percent who picked Nelson.
The poll of 625 registered Florida voters was conducted from Feb. 24 through Feb. 28. It has a margin of error of 4 percent.
Pollsters noted the outcome of the race would “likely be shaped by the political fortunes of President Donald Trump.” While Republican carried the state by one percentage point, his “personal popularity has slipped into slightly negative territory.”
“He was elected on a change message and swing voters, who have shown they are less interested in the circus, bought into his agenda. How they still feel about that agenda and his success or failure implementing it is going to be a very important factor in 2018,” according to the polling memo. “Given the narrow margin that he carried the state by, he doesn’t have much room for error in Florida.”