Last week, we told you about the mess in which Democratic Florida Sen. Bill Nelson finds himself, having claimed without evidence that the Russians have penetrated his state's voter registration systems. This assertion has been hotly contested by the FBI, DHS, and Floridian election officials -- including in Democratic counties. It also earned the little-known incumbent Four Pinnochios from the Washington Post's fact checker. Meanwhile, Gov. Rick Scott, the GOP nominee in the race, has run an aggressive campaign, building a broad and diverse coalition of support. Nelsons floundering and Scott's hard work seem to be breaking through with voters:
Still 11 weeks from their election showdown, Republican Gov. Rick Scott has opened up a six-point lead on Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, a new poll finds. The poll from the Florida Atlantic University Business and Economic Polling Initiative gives Scott 45 percent, Nelson 39 percent, with 16 percent of voters still undecided in a head-to-head match-up in the Nov. 6 general election. The trend is going Scott’s way. The last FAU-BEPI poll, released in July, had Scott leading Nelson 44-40 percent.
Four of the last six public polls in this race give Scott the lead, including the two most recent surveys. There's still a long way to go -- and national events may shake up the status quo in a host of races, especially in a year that seems to favor the out party -- but Democrats are clearly starting to worry about Nelson's vulnerability:
Nelson is running the single worst campaign of a Senate Dem incumbent anywhere in the country and it’s not even close. Complete malpractice not to have replaced him earlier with a stronger candidate, notwithstanding the difficulty navigating such a play. https://t.co/6PPC4avHiI— Neal Kwatra (@nealkwatra) August 22, 2018
Last week, we interviewed elections guru Dr. Larry Sabato on Benson & Harf about the nationwide state of play heading toward the midterms. I asked him about the single most telling 'barometer' Senate race he'd recommend watching for a sense of how the overall election might shake out, and he pointed to the Florida Senate contest: "You know what I'd pick? Florida." His reason: It's the "ultimate swing state" He raised an extraordinary statistic that among all of the (cumulative) tens of millions of votes cast for president in Florida between 1992 and 2016, the two major parties were separated by less than 20,000 ballots. I'll leave you with a Scott campaign ad hitting Nelson on his hyper-partisan handling of the Supreme Court vacancy:
UPDATE - As the GOP compiles bad headlines for Nelson, check out these polls from two races that Democrats are counting on to be 'safe' holds:
In US Senate race in WI, Marquette Law School Poll finds 49% of likely voters support Democrat Tammy Baldwin, 47% support Republican Leah Vukmir. #mulawpoll— MULawPoll (@MULawPoll) August 22, 2018
New Quinnipiac poll says Bob Menendez (D) is leading Bob Hugin (R) by just SIX POINTS — 43% to 37%. In New Jersey. In 2018.— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) August 22, 2018
Menendez approval is underwater at 40/47.
Backing him through his corruption scandal could end in tears for Democrats.