Rick Scott’s lead over Democratic challenger shrinks in new poll

Rick Scott’s lead over Democratic challenger shrinks in new poll
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Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-Fla.) lead over Democratic challenger and former Florida Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell has shrunk to just 2 points in a new poll, a steep drop from earlier this year that could signal a closer than expected race in November.

The survey from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and Mainstreet Research, published Wednesday, found the first-term senator has a 2-point lead over Mucarsel-Powell, 45 percent to 43 percent. This is a sharp drop from April, when Scott led Mucarsel-Powell by 17 points.

Luzmarina Garcia, an assistant professor of political science at FAU, said Mucrasel-Powell was “largely unknown” in previous surveys.

“However, as voters have been introduced to her, she has been gaining in the race. If this trend holds, it could be close in November,” Garcia said in a press release.

Mucarsel-Powell, who served one term in Congress representing Florida’s 26th District from 2019-21, launched her bid for the Senate last summer.

Public polling on the race has been sparse. A poll released in November from the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab found Scott, a former governor, had a 39 percent favorable rating and a 49 percent unfavorable. About 48 percent of those respondents said they did not know or did not answer when asked whether they had a favorable opinion of Mucarsel-Powell.

The former congresswoman has targeted Scott over issues including abortion — a key topic in the race given the state’s newly enforced abortion ban — and his stance on Social Security and Medicare.

“It’s no secret that Floridians are fed up with Rick Scott and his extreme policies – we’ve been hearing it from voters in every corner of the state for months,” Ben Waldon, campaign manager for Mucarsel-Powell, said. “​​This poll confirms what the Debbie For Florida campaign has known all along: the more Debbie Mucarsel-Powell travels the state and shows Florida voters what she stands for, the tighter this race will become.”

“Pushing an extreme agenda to ban abortion, steal seniors’ Social Security benefits, and raise taxes on the middle class has consequences – something Rick Scott will learn when Florida voters retire him and elect Debbie Mucarsel-Powell this November,” Waldon added.

Scott released a policy proposal last year that would have called to sunset all federal after five years, including Social Security and Medicare, drawing the ire of both parties. Facing blowback, he revised the plan to exclude the entitlement programs.

The Hill reached out to Scott’s office for comment.

The Florida lawmaker has at times had a tense relationship with some members of his party. In 2022, he staged a leadership contest against longtime Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and lost. He is now vying to replace McConnell, who has announced he wouldn’t be seeking another term as Senate GOP leader.

The FAU/Mainstreet Research survey was conducted June 8-9 via an interactive voice response and online panel. FAU said no margin of sampling error was calculated for the full sample, but a “sample of this size would carry a margin of error” of about 3.3 percentage points.

Updated 3:37 p.m. ET.

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