Demings leads Rubio in heated Senate race, DeSantis remains voters’ top choice for governor in new poll

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Democratic nominee Representative Val Demings leads GOP Senator Marco Rubio in the tight U.S. Senate race in Florida, while Nikki Fried leads opponents as the candidate most likely to challenge Governor Ron DeSantis in the November semestersaccording to a new survey.

The University of North Florida on Tuesday released the results of a survey that revealed Florida voters’ choices for the state’s gubernatorial and Senate primaries, while looking ahead to November.

Demings, the former Orlando police chief and current congressman, led the Aug. 23 Democratic Senate primary with 80% support. Candidates Candace Daniel and Robert Willis trailed with less than 5% of the vote.

When Florida voters were asked about the November midterm Senate race, Demings came out on top against Rubio with 48% support to Rubio’s 44%.


Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., is running for the U.S. Senate.

Rep. Val Demings, D-Fla., is running for the U.S. Senate.
(Mandel Ngan/Pool via AP)

Elizabeth Gregory, spokeswoman for the Rubio campaign, responded to the poll in a statement to Fox News Digital.

“We’re in Florida, and we always said it would be a close race,” Gregory said. “It’s a choice between the proven results of Marco and Val Demings, who votes 100% for Pelosi’s failed agenda. Given this choice, we are more than confident that we will win.”

“The more Florida voters know about Chief Demings, the more they like him,” Demings spokesman Christian Slater told Fox News Digital in a statement. “That’s why we’re laser-focused on showcasing it aggressively in every corner of the state and getting our message to every community. And our grassroots fundraising makes it possible. As Marco Rubio implores desperate for donations on Fox News, Chief Demings is building a campaign fueled by excited fans ready to take down a career politician who doesn’t show up for work.”

In the Democratic gubernatorial primary, the poll found that 47% of likely Democratic voters in Florida would choose Nikki Fried in the primary, while 43% favored Charlie Crist. The winner of the primary will advance to the general election in November to face DeSantis.


“Fried appears to have reversed the eight-point lead that Crist had when we polled registered Democrats on the voting choice in February,” said political science Dr. Michael Binder from the University of North Florida. “It’s possible that the Roe v. Wade reversal changed the makeup of this race and particularly energized women who are nearly 20 points more likely to vote for her.”

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is leading the midterm race for Florida governor.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is leading the midterm race for Florida governor.
(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

In June, the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade of 1973, removing legal precedent that recognized the right to abortion and giving states the ability to impose restrictions on the procedure. DeSantis pushed for a 15-week abortion ban in the state despite setbacks from a Florida judge who tried to block the new law.

DeSantis polled ahead of his possible midterm contenders, with 50% saying he had their vote over Fried and Crist, who each received about 40% support from likely voters. Although DeSantis is leading the race, his numbers are down 20 percentage points from the university’s February poll.

DeSantis also held a slight advantage over former president trump in a hypothetical 2024 race among likely Republican voters in Florida, beating Trump 47-45%. President Biden received a 38% approval rating from Floridians.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio has served as a Florida senator since 2011.

Republican Senator Marco Rubio has served as a Florida senator since 2011.
(Paul Morigi/Getty Images)

According to the poll, more than 40% of respondents said the cost of living was the most important issue in the state after inflation has reached its highest level in 40 years in the United States in July.


The University of North Florida poll was conducted from August 8 to 12 with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

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