Wednesday 16 February 2022

Republican Senator Mario Rubio opens up a seven point lead over Democrat Val Demings in Florida race in another dire sign for Biden heading to the midterms

 Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio has eked out a small but clear lead in his bid to defend his seat against a challenge from Rep. Val Demings, a former Orlando police chief-turned-Democrat lawmaker, a new poll suggests on Wednesday.

Rubio's campaign for a third term in Washington sees him leading Demings by seven points with a margin of 49 percentage points to 42, according to Mason-Dixon Polling and Research. 

Nine percent were undecided between the two high-profile candidates. 

Asked about the favorable projections, Rubio's campaign told 'Poll numbers will change throughout the cycle but what remains the same is Senator Rubio's commitment to putting in the work on behalf of Floridians.'

'Senator Rubio is focused on passing bills that improve the lives of Floridians while holding Joe Biden and Washington Democrats like Val Demings accountable for poor leadership and their far left agenda.'

The senator is polling better than Demings among Hispanics, a vital and complex voting bloc that's swung to both sides of the aisle in the Sunshine State. Demings is seeing higher favorability with women and significantly more so with black voters. 

A critical swing state, flipping Rubio's seat blue would be a much-needed win for Democrats -- whose current tenure in power at the federal level has been plagued with inter-party bickering, stalled legislation and President Joe Biden's own sinking job approval numbers.  

Rep. Val Demings is a former Orlando police chief
Senator Marco Rubio is seeking his third term in Congress' upper chamber

Rep. Val Demings (left), a former Orlando police chief, is trailing Senator Marco Rubio (right) in early polls for what's sure to be a heated Florida Senate race

While multiple past surveys have indicated Republicans have a good shot at taking the House of Representatives in November, the Senate is less predictable, with the Cook Political Report classifying just three races as toss-ups -- though all with Democratic incumbents.

Rubio also leads Demings among men, voters over 50 and whites, according to findings first published in The Hill. 

Demings trails Rubio with Independent voters by a 10-point margin, though with Rubio at 47 percent of support there, both fail to crack a majority.

The pair has also been among the most prolific fundraisers in the 2022 election cycle. 

The senior Florida senator and 2016 presidential hopeful brought in $24.3 million for his re-election bid last year, the latest campaign filing data show, raising the fifth most of any current campaign. 

Demings comes in just behind at sixth, having raked in $20.7 million. She also out-raised Rubio in the fourth quarter of the year by about $2 million. 

Flipping Rubio's seat blue would be a huge victory for Democrats, who have been struggling in Washington as President Joe Biden's party has been plagued with inter-party bickering and his own sinking approval numbers

Flipping Rubio's seat blue would be a huge victory for Democrats, who have been struggling in Washington as President Joe Biden's party has been plagued with inter-party bickering and his own sinking approval numbers

However, despite her heavy war chest and high-profile federal position, the former law enforcement officer may still need to do more to get her name out. Nearly a third of the 625 people surveyed did not recognize her name. 

More voters also have a definitive opinion on Rubio, the survey suggests, with his favorability leading Demings' by 44 to 27 percent. 

However Rubio's unfavorability outpaces hers by more than 20 points, with 37 percent of people viewing him unfavorably and just 11 percent seeing Demmings in an unfavorable light. has reached out to Demings and Rubio's offices for comment. 

Republicans are doing well statewide, with Florida Governor Ron DeSantis emerging as a clear favorite against three of his top Democratic challengers in Wednesday's poll.

Biden's approval among Florida voters is just 40 percent

Biden's approval among Florida voters is just 40 percent

The first term governor, a rising star within the GOP who's been floated as a possible 2024 presidential contender, narrowly won his first statewide race in 2018 against Democrat Andrew Gillum.

But in the latest survey DeSantis is soundly leading Democrats Rep. Charlie Crist, Florida Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried and state Senator Annette Taddeo, polling above 50 percent in match-ups against each of them.

His stewardship of the state, particularly through the COVID-19 pandemic, is a stark contrast to the White House in his resistance to levy any state-wide health measures and proactively working to stop mask and vaccine mandates in Florida.

Another Democrat feeling the heat in the Sunshine State is Biden, whose 40 percent approval rating there is on par with the sinking popularity he's experienced for much of his first term so far. A whopping 55 percent of Florida voters disapprove of Biden.

Another new Wednesday survey was even more critical of the president, with 39 percent of respondents  

His unfavorable job approval has forced Democrats in other state-wide races to distance themselves from the White House. 

In Texas, Beto O'Rourke, who is challenging Republican Governor Greg Abbott, previously dismissed the idea of getting any national politicians' help in the Lone Star State when asked about Biden.

Last year's Virginia gubernatorial race saw former state Governor Terry McAuliffe express some concern over tying himself to the Biden administration before ultimately accepting help from a marquee of Democrat stars like Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris and former President Barack Obama.

McAuliffe ultimately lost the race to first-time candidate and new GOP Governor Glenn Youngkin. 

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