The Sunshine State Battleground Poll for September finds big majorities of voters in Florida oppose a state income tax and voting for socialists. Yet, mixed-mode interviews with 826 likely voters in Florida from September 21 – 24, 2018, finds a tight race for U.S. Senate and a slight favorite in the gubernatorial contest.
Presidential Approval Rating
Overall, do you approve or disapprove of the way Donald Trump is handling his job as President?
In September, Florida voters’ views surrounding President Donald Trump’s job performance have softened in intensity. The president is slightly above water in the Sunshine State, with 48% approving of the way he is handling his job, 46% disapproving and 6% unsure or undecided.
That includes 39% who strongly approve and an almost identical 40% who strongly disapprove.
“We’ve not found that high of an undecided number in months. People have strong feelings toward President Trump, and not too many are undecided,” said Big Data Poll Director Rich Baris, who also directs the PPD Election Projection Model. “This softening could be a very good sign for him in Florida. But we’ll see in future polling.”
Top Voting Issues
Thinking ahead to November, which issue would you say is MOST important to your midterm vote?
The Economy and Jobs remains the top voting issue among voters in Florida at roughly 32%. However, at just under 26%, Healthcare continues its steady rise as a top concern as economic sentiment remains high. Immigration and Border Security came in third at just under 21%.
Big Data Poll also asked two questions relevant to Mr. Gillum’s political views. Interestingly, despite voter preference at the gubernatorial level, they didn’t test well among voters.
State Income Tax
Would you ever consider voting for a governor who supports imposing a state income tax?
By a 56% to 19% margin, Florida voters say they’d never consider voting for a gubernatorial candidate who supports imposing a state income tax. Roughly a quarter (24.2%) were unsure or undecided. Even voters 18 to 29 chose “No” by a 30.1% to 26.8% margin, while less than 11% of 65-plus voters would.
“It’s important to note that these questions could not be asked under any circumstances before the ballot tests,” Mr. Baris added. “We’ve noticed some firms inserting potentially bias-tainted questions before approval ratings and ballot tests. We do not, and no pollster should, approve of that practice.”
Socialism is defined as an economic, and political system, in which the means of production are owned and controlled by the State, not individuals and companies. Would you ever consider voting for a socialist governor in Florida?
By a 61% to 24% margin, voters in Florida say they’d never consider voting for a socialist gubernatorial candidate.
Republican Governor Rick Scott still holds a slight 1-point edge over incumbent Democratic Senator Bill Nelson, 43% to 42%. That’s down from a high of 6 points and the closest Big Data Poll has found the two candidates since February.
Governor Scott, who for months had the airwaves all to himself, has held a 2- to 6-point lead over Senator Nelson. But now the Democratic incumbent has begun to return fire, and it’s at least taking a temporary toll on the governor’s position.
Democrat Andrew Gillum with a lead over Republican Ron DeSantis 44% to 40% in the race for governor.
By gender and party, Mr. Gillum leads Mr. DeSantis among independent female voters, 45% to 29%. Further, the percentage of female Republican crossover vote is about 6% greater than the female Democrat crossover vote.
Independent male voters split their vote between the two candidates at 44%. While male Democrat crossover is about 10% greater than male Republican crossover, Mr. Gillum’s margin among women offsets it.
“This is a good old-fashion messaging issue. Rep. DeSantis was put on the defensive within 24 hours of their primary victories and the campaign hasn’t been able to regain control of the message,” Director Baris added. “Big majorities of voters in Florida oppose a policy and a political view his opponent supports and shares. He is just not making the case.”
If Governor Scott defeats Senator Nelson and Mr. Gillum defeats Rep. DeSantis, it would be the first time Florida voters split their ticket since before the Obama era. In 2006, Senator Nelson easily defeated Republican nominee Katherine Harris, 60.3% to 38.1%, while then-Republican Governor Charlie Crist clobbered his Democratic opponent Jim Davis, 52.2% to 45.1%.
But now he is the only Democratic elected to statewide office in Florida, which became markedly more Republican from 2008 to 2016.
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View on Google Sheets, or the embedded PDF below that.
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View the survey wording and questionnaire below. Note that for the IVR collection mode portion of the survey, rotations, anchors, etc. are depicted on the questionnaire.
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Big Data Poll complies with AAPOR’s Transparency Initiative. View the TI checklist by clicking the link below.
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Big Data Poll conducted a mixed-mode phone and online survey of 826 likely voters in Florida from September 21 – 24, 2018. The sampling error is ±3.4% with a confidence level (α) of 95%. Interviews were conducted via Interactive Voice Response (IVR) and respondents were given a Spanish option. The survey was self-sponsored by Big Data Poll for the PPD Election Projection Model.
Data was weighted for gender, age, gender, race, education, income and region. Weighting also reflects likely voters based on responses, interest and prior voting history, as well as state demographics in the voter files.
For more about methodology, 1) view the AAPOR TI Checklist above for survey-specific information and 2) BDP Methodology.