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FL-Sen: New poll shows Gov. Rick Scott ahead of Sen. Bill Nelson

A new poll shows Republican Florida Gov. Rick Scott with a 3-point lead over his Democratic opponent, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in the race for Nelson's Senate seat. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Republican Gov. Rick Scott is ahead of his Democratic opponent Sen. Bill Nelson, according to two polls: one sponsored by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, which supports Scott, and one run by Politico and AARP.

Scott is running for a seat in the U.S. Senate that Nelson has held since 2000.

What do the polls say?

A newly released poll conducted by Cherry Communications put Scott at 48 percent and Nelson at 45 percent. The poll also found that 5 percent of voters were undecided. This poll was sponsored by the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

This poll had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent, and was conducted via phone from May 25 to June 4. For this poll, 605 voters were interviewed, with a breakdown of 249 Democrats, 237 Republicans and 119 voters who belonged to another party or were not affiliated with any party.

The Florida Chamber of Commerce has endorsed Scott and paid for ads criticizing Nelson.

This result is similar in a Politico/AARP poll, which put Scott at 40 percent and Nelson at 39 percent. While the overall totals still showed a very narrow margin, the Politico poll also found that older voters favored Scott by the much wider margin of 44 to 35.

Politico also pointed out that midterm voters tend to be older than general election voters.

“Midterm voters are much longer in the tooth than in presidential elections. Will this be the case in 2018? Yes,” University of Florida's Daniel A. Smith told Politico. Smith is a political science professor who studies voting patterns.

The Politico poll has a margin of error +/- 3 points for the general poll and +/- 4 points for older voters. It surveyed 1,199 registered voters in Florida on May 29 and 30.

This is an improvement for Scott, who was 4 points behind Nelson back in February, according to a Quinnipiac University poll.

What else?

While Scott seems to be polling higher, his campaign has also been outspending Nelson nearly 6-to-1. Scott and his supporters have spent $12 million on televised campaign ads, with a pro-Scott super PAC announcing that it plans to spend an additional $3.5 million.

Nelson, on the other hand, has spent $2.2 million on television ads with the Senate Majority PAC.

The primary election in Florida is Aug. 28.

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