Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio won a small but clear lead in his bid to defend his seat against Rep. Val Demings, a former Orlando police chief turned Democratic MP, a new poll showed Wednesday.
In Rubio’s campaign for a third term in Washington, he leads Demings by seven points, by 49 percentage points to 42, according to Mason-Dixon Polling and Research.
Nine percent were undecided between two well-known candidates.
The senator votes better than Demings among Hispanics, a vital and complex electoral bloc that has swung both sides of the aisle in the Sunshine State. Demings observes higher favor in women and significantly more in black voters.
The critical swing state that turned Rubio’s seat blue will be a much-needed victory for Democrats, whose current federal tenure is plagued by partisan strife, stalled legislation and President Joe Biden’s own decline in job approvals.
While numerous past polls have indicated the Republicans have a good chance of taking the House in November, the Senate is less predictable: Cook’s Policy Report classifies only three races as toss-ups, even though they are all with Democrats.
Rubio also leads among men, voters over 50 and whites, according to findings first published in The Hill.
Rep. Val Demings (left), a former Orlando police chief, is trailing Senator Marco Rubio (right) in the first polls in what is sure to be a hot race in the Florida Senate.
Demings trails Rubio with independent voters by 10 points, although with Rubio garnering 47 percent support there, both failed to garner a majority.
The couple has also been one of the most active fundraisers in the 2022 election cycle.
The senior Florida senator and 2016 presidential nominee earned $24.3 million for his re-election bid last year, the fifth-highest gross for any current campaign, the latest campaign data shows.
Demings is in sixth place with $20.7 million. In addition, she outsold Rubio by about $2 million in the fourth quarter of the year.
However, despite her hefty military budget and prominence at the federal level, the former law enforcement officer may still have to do more to gain prominence. Almost a third of the 625 respondents did not recognize her name.
The poll shows that more voters also have a definite opinion of Rubio, with his favor ahead of Demings by 44 to 27 percent.
Changing Rubio’s blue seat would be a huge win for the Democrats who have been fighting in Washington as President Joe Biden’s party suffers from partisan disputes and his own decline in approval numbers.
However, Rubio’s unfavorable attitude exceeds it by more than 20 points: 37 percent of people view him negatively and only 11 percent see Demmings in an unfavorable light.
DailyMail.com has reached out to the offices of Demings and Rubio for comment.
Republicans are doing well across the state, with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis the clear favorite against his three top Democratic rivals in a poll Wednesday.
The first-term governor, a rising GOP star who was seen as a possible presidential candidate in 2024, narrowly won his first statewide race in 2018 against Democrat Andrew Gillum.
But in the latest poll, DeSantis is clearly leading Democrats Charlie Crist, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, and State Senator Annette Taddeo, with more than 50 percent of the vote against each.
Biden’s approval among Florida voters is only 40 percent
His leadership of the state, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, contrasts sharply with the White House in its resistance to the introduction of any statewide health measures and is actively working to end the mandatory use of masks and vaccines in Florida.
Another Democrat feeling the heat in the Sunshine State is Biden, whose 40 percent approval rating is on par with the declining popularity he experienced through most of his first term. A whopping 55 percent of Florida voters disapprove of Biden.
Another new poll on Wednesday was even more critical of the president, with 39 percent of respondents
His unfavorable endorsement of the job forced Democrats in other races across the state to distance themselves from the White House.
In Texas, Beto O’Rourke, who is challenging Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, previously dismissed the idea of getting help from any national politicians in the Lone Star state when asked about Biden.
In last year’s Virginia gubernatorial race, former Governor Terry McAuliffe expressed some concerns about tying himself to the Biden administration before ultimately accepting help from a number of Democratic stars such as Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and the former President Barack Obama.
McAuliffe ultimately lost the race to the first nominee and new GOP governor, Glenn Youngkin.