The final Florida Senate polls show that the race has changed little in the last few months — a virtual tie between Democrat Bill Nelson and Republican Rick Scott. It could be Donald Trump who breaks the tie.
Florida’s Senate race is one of the most closely watched in the nation, with Democrats looking to the race as key to hold in their long-shot chances at flipping the Senate. If Republicans were able to unseat Nelson, it would likely solidify their efforts to hold on to a majority and sink any chances for Democrats to take control. The race has been tight throughout the summer and early fall, and the Hill noted that the final polls show that it hasn’t changed much.
A poll released Saturday by St. Pete Polls showed that Rick Scott was leading 49 percent to 48 percent, which was within the poll’s margin of error. Polling aggregators see the Florida Senate race deadlocked as well, as the Cook Political Report has called the race a “toss up” and FiveThirtyEight shows that polling has given Nelson a lead of 2.6 points, within the margin of error in most polling.
With the polls essentially tied, it could come down to what influence Donald Trump has on the race. As Washington Post noted, Trump’s disapproval now stands at 51 percent in the Sunshine State, falling sharply from when he won it in 2016. Opposition to Trump has been fueling other races and the hopes of Democrats to win back control of Congress, but Rick Scott has been leaning on Trump for support, appearing with him at rallies.
As the Washington Post noted, Scott seemed to have a good chance of beating the vulnerable Nelson in a state Donald Trump won in the 2016 presidential election, but has been hurt by his environmental record during a year in which Florida’s coasts have been battered.
“Forget about a blue wave. Scott is dealing with red tide — a gigantic outbreak of toxic algae that has bedeviled this part of the Gulf Coast for more than a year,” the report noted. “Although polls had earlier shown Scott locked in a dead heat with incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson, the governor is behind. His environmental record threatens to cost Republicans what had been seen as a prime opportunity to pad the GOP majority in the U.S. Senate.”
New CNN poll in FL:
Nelson (D): 49%
Scott (R): 47%
Gillum (D): 49%
DeSantis (R): 48%https://t.co/NlKNQi5dx4
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) November 1, 2018
Political experts have noted that the Florida Senate race could come down to independent voters, with final polling showing wide disparities between there they will fall.