Rubio, who is seeking a third term in the Senate, holds a 6-point edge over his rival with 10% of Florida voters still undecided. The telephone poll of 800 registered voters was conducted Sept. 26-28 and has a 3.5% margin-of-error.
Almost $60 million has been spent so far in Florida’s U.S. Senate contest, according to Federal Elections Commission reports, making it among the costliest races in the nation.
Demings, alone has spent almost $40 million on her campaign, with Democrats fighting to maintain control of Congress in the midterm elections.
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Despite the spending, Mason-Dixon's findings show Rubio's 47-41% lead over Demings is roughly the same as the 7% margin he held in February, before many voters were paying attention.
Real Clear Politics, an online news site which tracks polling, puts the average of surveys in the race as giving Rubio a 3.6% lead. A Suffolk University-USA Today poll in mid-September also put Rubio’s lead at 4%.
Mason-Dixon found that both candidates are dominant with their base party voters, with the difference Rubio’s edge comes mostly among no-party voters (44%-39%) and his splitting of the Hispanic vote (45%-45%) with Demings, taking away a portion of voters who overall tend to lean Democrat in Florida.
Demings, who has represented the Orlando area in Congress since 2017, is not helped by President Joe Biden’s sagging approval ratings in Florida. Statewide, a majority of voters (54%) disapprove of Biden’s job performance — a level that has changed little since the beginning of the year.
The Mason-Dixon survey, though, was conducted before Hurricane Ian slammed into Southwest Florida. The Biden administration has pledged massive amounts of federal aid to help the region recover and the president is expected Wednesday to visit the state.
A separate survey released Friday by Spectrum News/Siena College shows Rubio with a similar lead over Demings, 48%-41%. It also showed Gov. Ron DeSantis leading Democratic challenger Charlie Crist, 49%-41%, The poll surveyed 669 likely Florida voters and was conducted from Sept. 18-25, just days before the storm hit the state
John Kennedy is a reporter in the USA TODAY Network’s Florida Capital Bureau. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter at @JKennedyReport
This article originally appeared on Tallahassee Democrat: Marco Rubio's holds edge among no-party voters; ties with Hispanics