DeSantis, Graham lead primaries for Florida governor in new poll

July 27, 2018
Bennett, George (CMG-WestPalm)
Democrat Gwen Graham and Republican Ron DeSantis lead their respective primaries for Florida governor in two new polls.

Another Florida poll shows Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Gwen Graham leading their parties’ respective primaries for governor.

The Mason-Dixon Florida Poll, set for release today, shows DeSantis, a congressman from the Jacksonville area, getting 41 percent of the Republican vote to 29 percent for Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam. Twenty-eight percent of GOP voters are undecided with the Aug. 28 primary roughly a month away.

In the crowded Democratic primary, former U.S. Rep. Graham of Tallahassee leads with 27 percent, followed by former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine at 18 percent, billionaire Palm Beach real estate investor Jeff Greene at 12 percent, Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum at 10 percent and Winter Park businessman Chris King at 7 percent. One-quarter of Democratic voters are undecided in the poll.

A Florida Atlantic University poll released Wednesday also showed DeSantis and Graham leading, but by smaller margins.

Mason-Dixon polled 500 likely Republican primary voters and 500 likely Democratic primary voters by telephone from Monday to Wednesday this week. Each sample has a 4.5 percent margin of error.

DeSantis received the “full endorsement” of President Donald Trump in June, campaigned with Donald Trump Jr. last week and is scheduled to appear with the president at a Tuesday rally in Tampa.

A frequent Fox News guest, DeSantis is recognized favorably by 44 percent of Republican voters and unfavorably by 13 percent, with another 26 recognizing his name and having a neutral opinion. Putnam is recognized favorably by 37 percent of Republican voters, unfavorably by 12 percent and neutrally by 33 percent.

In the Democratic race, Graham benefits from being the only woman and having the highest name recognition. She and Levine are virtually tied among male voters, but women prefer Graham over Levine by a 30-to-16 percent margin.

Greene entered the race in June and has spent more than $13 million of his own money so far. His candidacy has “stalled” Levine, according to a Mason-Dixon polling memo that says Greene and Levine appear to be splitting votes.

Graham, daughter of former Florida Gov. and U.S. Sen. Bob Graham, is recognized favorably by 45 percent of Democrats and unfavorably by only 2 percent, with 32 percent recognizing her name and having a neutral opinion. Only 21 percent of Democrats don’t recognize her.

Levine, advertising on TV since November, is recognized by 77 percent of Democrats, with 34 percent having a favorable opinion and 4 percent unfavorable.

Greene made a failed statewide bid for the U.S. Senate in 2010 and has advertised heavily since June. He is recognized by 72 percent of Democrats, with 27 percent having a favorable opinion and 10 percent unfavorable.

A majority of Democratic voters don’t recognize Gillum or King, the poll says.