Poll: Marco Rubio Leads Democrat Val Demings in Tight Florida Senate Race

OPA LOCKA, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 01: Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) speaks before the arrival of U.S. President Donald Trump for his campaign event at Miami-Opa Locka Executive Airport on November 1, 2020 in Opa Locka, Florida. President Trump continues to campaign against Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leading up to …
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is eight points ahead of Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) in the race for U.S. Senate in Florida, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The poll, conducted July 9 by Center Street PAC, found Rubio with 50 percent support compared to Demings’ 42 percent support among likely voters, while eight percent said they were undecided.

Among all Florida registered voters, the race was closer, with Rubio five points ahead of Demings, 45 percent to 40 percent, and 16 percent undecided.

The results provide a glimmer of hope for Demings, the frontrunning Democrat candidate, in a race that otherwise heavily favors Rubio. Demings was losing by a larger margin in Center Street’s same tracking poll taken in March.

Since the March poll, Demings has seen her largest gains among Democrat voters and unaffiliated voters, achieving a 27-point gain and a 15-point gain among those voters, respectively.

This aligns with Mason-Dixon Polling’s predictions from February that Demings’ name recognition would grow as the former Orlando police chief ramped up her campaigning efforts. Center Street’s poll also observed a 12-point improvement in Demings’ name awareness.

MIAMI, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 13: Democratic Senate candidate Rep. Val Demings (D-FL) waits to be introduced during a visit to a gun violence memorial in Bayfront Park on December 13, 2021 in Miami, Florida. Rep. Demings is campaigning to unseat Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) in the 2022 Senate race. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Democrat Senate candidate Rep. Val Demings waits to be introduced during a memorial, December 13, 2021, in Miami, Florida. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

While the Center Street pollster noted Rubio appears to have “sort of stalled out” based on the poll results, Rubio still maintains a clear advantage over Demings.

The two-term senator and once presidential contender has led in nearly every poll this year. Republicans also surpassed Democrats in voter registration last year and have only continued to widen the gap in registration since. The election analyst outlet FiveThirtyEight finds Rubio is “clearly favored” to win at this stage in the race, 94 percent to six percent.

Rubio also maintains a definitive edge over Demings despite Demings outraising Rubio. The Florida Democrat just barely topped Rubio as of this year’s first quarter, $30 million to $30.5 million, according to Open Secrets.

Demings has since reported adding an enormous sum of $12.2 million during the second quarter to her overall total, and a Florida Politics report indicated Demings is not holding back on spending either. The former police chief took out a massive multimillion-dollar ad buy in June to promote her fairly recent embracement of funding the police, as opposed to defunding the police, which several from her party’s far-left flank have called for.

The race is expected to only continue to become more expensive as Republicans aggressively pursue every battleground Senate race, including Florida, as they work to take the Senate majority in November.

Write to Ashley Oliver at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @asholiver.

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