MIAMI (CBS Miami) – Republican Senator Marco Rubio is up for re-election this year and a new Mason-Dixon poll shows he has an early advantage over Democratic challenger Rep. Val Demings.
Statewide, 49% of Florida voters currently support Rubio, while 42% back Demings, and 9% are undecided.
Party registered voters usually vote along partisan lines. For Demings to pull off an upset, she will need to attract more unaffiliated voters. Right now, independents are backing Rubio by 10-points (47%-37%).
Name recognition will be another factor.
Statewide, 95% of voters recognize Rubio and 68% are familiar with Demings. That 27-point statewide name recognition deficit will naturally shrink in the later stages of the race.
However, name recognition gains alone are not the largest obstacle the Demings campaign faces.
President Joe Biden’s low job rating with Florida voters, particularly his weak showing among independents, is likely going to have a larger impact. Statewide, only 40% of Florida voters approve of Biden’s performance in office, while 55% disapprove and 5% are not sure. Among independents, just 33% approve, while 61% disapprove.
Rubio receives the most support from voters in the north and southwest portions of the state, while Demings receives the most support from South Florida and the Tampa Bay area.
This poll was conducted from February 7 through February 10, 2022. A total of 625 registered Florida voters were interviewed live by telephone statewide. Its results have a margin of error of about 4%.