Democrats have pulled ahead in Florida’s marquee races for the U.S. Senate and governor, a new Reuters opinion poll showed on Wednesday, as President Donald Trump was set to return to the battleground state in a closing bid to bail out Republicans.
Democratic U.S. Senator Bill Nelson is leading Rick Scott, Florida’s Republican governor, by 5 percentage points among likely voters, according to the Reuters/Ipsos/UVA Center for Politics poll.
Democrat Andrew Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor, is holding onto momentum in his bid to become Florida’s first black governor. He drew the support of 50 percent of likely voters, unchanged from the last Reuters polling a month ago, compared with the 44 percent supporting former U.S. Representative Ron DeSantis.
Gillum’s historic candidacy may be boosting a Democratic ticket that includes Nelson, who has opened up a significant lead in a Senate race that was tied last month in another Reuters/Ipsos poll. In the latest poll, 49 percent of likely voters said they would return Nelson to Washington for a fourth term in the Senate, while 44 percent wanted to replace him with Scott.
Democrats gain ground in Florida, Republicans lead in Arizona
With one week to go, the U.S. Senate race increasingly favors the Democratic candidate in Florida, and the Republican in Arizona.
A win by Nelson would be critical for Democrats’ hopes of taking a majority in the Senate, which requires a net gain of two seats in the Nov. 6 elections. Most opinion polls and forecasters give Democrats a slim chance of winning control of the Senate, because they have to defend 10 seats in states that Trump won in 2016, including Florida.
But the Democratic strength at the top of the ballot could affect as many as a half dozen competitive contests across Florida for the U.S. House of Representatives. Democrats are seen as having a strong chance of winning at least the 23 seats needed to gain control of the House, and with it the power to derail Trump’s agenda.
In a final-stage campaign blitz, Trump aims to come to his party’s rescue in Florida, the largest of the states that swing between parties in presidential elections. Trump has scheduled “Make America Great Again” rallies on Wednesday in Fort Myers on the southwestern coast and on Saturday in Pensacola in the northern Panhandle.
“This is a referendum on Donald Trump,” said Aubrey Jewett, a political science professor at the University of Central Florida, noting that Trump’s reputation rides on a governor’s race where his endorsement delivered the Republican nomination to DeSantis. “If DeSantis loses, that is a direct reflection on Donald Trump in Florida and the power and influence that Trump has over Florida voters currently.”
Although Trump narrowly won Florida in the 2016 election, 51 percent of likely voters in the state now disapprove of how he is handling the presidency, according to the new Reuters poll.
The Republican slate looks stronger in Arizona, where two U.S. congresswomen are battling for the Senate seat being vacated by Jeff Flake, a Republican who has been a prominent Trump critic.
Republican Martha McSally leads Democrat Kyrsten Sinema by 2 percentage points, according to the new Reuters poll. Sinema led a Reuters poll last month.
However, a NBC News/Marist poll released this week showed Sinema with a 6-point lead.
The Reuters poll showed the state’s Republican governor, Doug Ducey, on track to win his re-election fight, with a 20-percentage-point lead over Democrat David Garcia.
Florida Democrats are trying this year to turn out more young and diverse voters, who lean Democratic but often sit out midterm elections. Leaders in the party hope Gillum’s candidacy will see a repeat of the voting coalition that enabled Obama to carry the state twice, before it swung for Trump.
Obama will stump for Gillum and Nelson in Miami on Friday.
The Reuters/Ipsos/UVA poll was conducted online, in English, from Oct. 17-26. It surveyed at least 799 likely voters in each state and had a confidence interval, a measure of accuracy, of 3 percentage points in Florida and 4 points in Arizona.
The poll results measured how voters felt at the time of the survey. Those feelings may change: In 2016, one in eight Americans said they made their presidential pick in the week before Election Day, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.
Reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Fla.; Additional reporting by Chris Kahn in New York; Editing by Scott Malone and Leslie Adler
‘Cold Civil War’: Carl Bernstein offers chilling preview of the stakes in Trump impeachment hearings
Legendary reporter Carl Bernstein on Tuesday delivered a chilling warning about the state of American politics ahead of President Donald Trump's impeachment hearings.
During a CNN appearance, Bernstein was asked where the country stood just one day before the start of public impeachment hearings -- and he didn't mince words.
"Where we stand as a country in the middle of a cold civil war," he said. "Everything is going to be judged politically in the context of that cold civil war."
Bernstein then laid out how much damning evidence that Democrats have collected so far, which he said in another era would likely lead to the president's conviction in the Senate. Now, however, he said that all the evidence in the world might not be enough to end Trump's presidency.
Franklin Graham unleashes angry rant about Trump impeachment – then quotes the Bible: ‘The Lord detests lying lips’
Evangelical activist Franklin Graham, who is closely tied to President Donald Trump, is once again defending the Commander-in-Chief, and once again is twisting truth into a prayerful pretzel to do so.
This may be the most consequential week yet in the 146 week-long presidency of Donald Trump.
Starting Wednesday the House Intelligence Committee will hold open hearings for three administration officials who are expected to testify on live television across major cable news channels and broadcast networks that the President of the United States of America engaged in a systematic and sustained effort of extortion and bribery in an attempt to force a U.S. ally to manufacture false evidence against his top political opponent.
Republicans’ betrayal of America sinks to new depths as the impeachment hearings go public
The House is set this week to begin the first in a series of impeachment hearings. As we listen to testimony and consider the facts, we should bear in mind the big picture.
So far, the focus is rightly on Donald Trump’s extortion—the correct legal term—of Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, for personal political gain. Our attention is on his warping of American foreign policy, putting the service of our national interests below his own. That alone is an abuse of power that the framers themselves thought was worthy of indictment by a majority of the the US House of Representatives.