Former Republican presidential candidate, and incumbent Florida Sen. Marco Rubio is down four percentage points in his reelection race against Democrat challenger Val Demings with less than three months to go before the midterm election, a new University of North Florida poll shows.
According to the poll of 1,624 likely primary voters released Tuesday by The Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida, Rep. Demings now leads the incumbent Rubio 48% to 44% if the key U.S. Senate race were held today.
Florida's primary is set for Aug. 23 with Rubio and Demings all but assured of advancing.
The poll was conducted Aug. 8-12 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.
Demings served with the Orlando Police Department for 27 years, becoming its first female chief of police in 2007, and was then elected to congress in 2017, according to her official biography.
She is married to Orlando Mayor Jerry Demings and is speeding away from her Democrat primary challengers with 80% support, according to the data.
According to Florida Politics, she is now raising more money for her campaign compared to Rubio, bringing in $4.7 million since the end of the second quarter, compared to $1.9 million raised by the Rubio camp between July 1 and Aug. 3.
"Not only is Marco Rubio failing to show up for his job in the Senate, he's failing to show up on the campaign trail," Florida's Democratic Party Spokesman Grant Fox said in a statement to the news outlet Aug. 12. "After getting out-raised every quarter for over a year, Rubio's campaign is still struggling. It's clear that Floridians are fed up with Marco Rubio's record of caving to special interests and refusing to do his job."
According to the poll, a plurality of 39% of those surveyed "strongly disapprove" of Rubio's job performance, compared to just 18% that "strongly approve," and another 19% that "somewhat approve."
The number one issue for Florida voters heading into the election is the cost of living with an overwhelming 43% of those surveyed naming that as their top issue, with others like education, crime, abortion, immigration, and gun rights each only getting a single-digit rating.
Democrats have issues in the poll as well with 52% of voters disapproving the job President Joe Biden is doing with 50% "strongly" disapproving his performance since taking office in 2021, compared to 50% support for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, according to the poll.
Seventy-one percent of those surveyed said they "will definitely vote" in the midterm elections, including 70% of Democrats, 86% of Republicans, and 56% of non-affiliated voters, the poll reports.
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