Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Director

Department of Public Relations

(904) 620-2102

                    

Methodology Results Contact: Dr. Michael Binder

Public Opinion Research Lab Director

 (904) 620-2784 

 

Survey Results

Methodology

Crosstab (PDF)

 

 New UNF Poll Shows Sen. Bill Nelson Leading Gov. Rick Scott in 2018 Senate Election

President Donald Trump’s Job Approval Rating Low But Improving

 

The Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida has a new poll that reveals Sen. Bill Nelson in the lead for the upcoming Senate election, with Gov. Rick Scott trailing close behind. The survey also shows that President Trump’s job approval rating has risen some since last fall.

 

The poll, comprised of Florida registered voters, shows that of likely voters in 2018, 48 percent plan to vote for Nelson, the Democratic candidate in the upcoming election for U.S. Senate, while 42 percent plan to vote for Scott, the Republican. Of those likely voters, 7 percent don’t know who their choice will be.

 

Regarding the U.S. House of Representatives, when asked who they would vote for if the election were held today, 42 percent of likely voters indicated they would vote for the Democratic candidate, 40 percent would plan to vote for the Republican candidate and 14 percent didn’t know. 

 

 “Even though it appears Nelson has a reasonable lead in the poll, the election results will ultimately get determined by who shows up in November,” said Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF. “Historically, Republicans have enjoyed a turnout advantage in midterms, but with the current mood of the country, and a large number of Republican retirements, Democrats are optimistic about an impending blue wave.” 

           

Of registered voters who were asked whether they approve or disapprove of the way Nelson is handling his job as senator, 52 percent of registered voters claim to somewhat or strongly approve, with only 20 percent somewhat or strongly disapproving. Notably, 26 percent of voters expressed they don’t know how Nelson is handling his job. When asked about the way Scott is handling his job as Florida governor, 63 percent reported to strongly or somewhat approve, with 31 percent disapproving either somewhat or strongly.

 

“Both senate candidates have net positive job approval ratings of 32 percentage points,” said Binder. “This high level of job approval is very unusual and is going to lead to a hotly contested election.”

 

When asked about how Sen. Marco Rubio is handling his job, 55 percent strongly or somewhat approve, compared to the 35 percent who reported to somewhat or strongly disapprove.

 

When asked about President Donald Trump’s job approval rating, 43 percent of the overall sample strongly or somewhat approve of how he’s handling his job, with 53 percent disapproving somewhat or strongly. A large amount of registered Democrats—87 percent—disapprove of Trump, while only 16 percent of registered Republicans disapprove. On the contrary, Trump held 81 percent job approval among registered Republicans, compared to 40 percent approval among nonpartisans and a dismal 10 percent job approval among registered Democrats.

 

“Most presidents would consider 43 percent approval and net negative 10 percentage points a troubling number, but Trump’s approval is up 6 percentage points from his approval level in October, and his net negatives have improved by 12 percentage points,” noted Binder. 

 

In light of the recent investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election, when asked about the way Robert Mueller is handling his job as Special Counsel for the United States Department of Justice, 40 percent of registered voters somewhat or strongly approve, 28 percent of voters somewhat or strongly disapprove and 29 percent of voters don’t know how he’s handling his job.

 

“Even though Mueller is acting in a legal capacity, and has a 12-percentage point net positive job approval, there are partisan divisions as Democrats are much more supportive than Republicans in their views on Mueller,” said Binder. 

Survey Results 

 

If the 2018 election for U.S. senator from Florida were being held today, how would you vote if the candidates were…

Answer Options

 

February 2018

Florida Likely Voters

n=429**

October 2017

Florida Likely Voters n=706*

February 2017

Florida Registered Voters

n=957

Bill Nelson, the Democrat

48%

37%

44%

Rick Scott, the Republican

42%

36%

38%

Someone else

2%

7%

3%

Don’t Know

7%

20%

12%

Refusal

-

-

-

*Respondents that indicated that they would vote in the upcoming senatorial election

** Respondents that indicated active voting and/or enthusiasm for the upcoming midterm election

 

Answer Options

 

Democrats

Republicans

NPA/Others

Bill Nelson, the Democrat

86%

14%

42%

Rick Scott, the Republican

7%

79%

42%

Someone else

2%

1%

6%

Don’t Know

5%

7%

10%

Refusal

-

-

 

 

If the election for the U.S. House of Representatives were being held today, would you vote for (the Democratic candidate) or (the Republican candidate) in your congressional district?

Answer Options

 

February 2018

Florida Likely Voters

n=429**

The Democratic candidate

42%

The Republican candidate

40%

Other

5%

Don’t Know

13%

Refusal

-

 

Answer Options

 

Democrats

Republicans

NPA/Others

The Democratic candidate

82%

6%

35%

The Republican candidate

6%

82%

26%

Other

2%

2%

13%

Don’t Know

10%

10%

26%

Refusal

-

-

-

 

 

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Bill Nelson is handling his job as United States senator?

Answer Options

 

February 2018

Florida Registered Voters

n=619

October 2017

Florida Registered Voters n=834

February 2017

Florida Registered Voters

n=945

Strongly Approve

19%

12%

13%

Somewhat Approve

33%

23%

29%

Somewhat Disapprove

8%

9%

16%

Strongly Disapprove

12%

6%

12%

Don’t Know

26%

49%

29%

Refusal

2%

1%

-

 

Answer Options

 

Democrats

Republicans

NPA/Others

Strongly Approve

28%

12%

14%

Somewhat Approve

41%

22%

38%

Somewhat Disapprove

5%

14%

3%

Strongly Disapprove

7%

22%

8%

Don’t Know

19%

28%

35%

Refusal

-

2%

2%

 

 

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Rick Scott is handling his job as governor of Florida?

Answer Options

 

February 2018

Florida Registered Voters

n=619

October 2017

Florida Registered Voters n=834

February 2017

Florida Registered Voters

n=957

Strongly Approve

29%

26%

17%

Somewhat Approve

34%

33%

29%

Somewhat Disapprove

14%

15%

14%

Strongly Disapprove

17%

13%

26%

Don’t Know

5%

11%

14%

Refusal

1%

1%

-

 

Answer Options

 

Democrats

Republicans

NPA/Others

Strongly Approve

12%

51%

25%

Somewhat Approve

30%

31%

41%

Somewhat Disapprove

19%

8%

14%

Strongly Disapprove

32%

3%

14%

Don’t Know

6%

6%

5%

Refusal

-

1%

1%

 

 

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Marco Rubio is handling his job as United States Senator?

Answer Options

 

February 2018

Florida Registered Voters

n=619

October 2017

Florida Registered Voters n=834

February 2017

Florida Registered Voters

n=956

Strongly Approve

17%

13%

15%

Somewhat Approve

38%

29%

25%

Somewhat Disapprove

14%

18%

17%

Strongly Disapprove

22%

19%

31%

Don’t Know

9%

20%

12%

Refusal

1%

1%

-

 

Answer Options

 

Democrats

Republicans

NPA/Others

Strongly Approve

7%

31%

13%

Somewhat Approve

29%

41%

46%

Somewhat Disapprove

21%

11%

9%

Strongly Disapprove

36%

9%

18%

Don’t Know

8%

7%

12%

Refusal

-

2%

1%

 

 

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Donald Trump is handling his job as president of the United States?

Answer Options

 

February 2018

Florida Registered Voters

n=619

October 2017

Florida Registered Voters n=834

February 2017

Florida Registered Voters

n=957

Strongly Approve

30%

19%

28%

Somewhat Approve

13%

18%

16%

Somewhat Disapprove

9%

9%

7%

Strongly Disapprove

44%

50%

44%

Don’t Know

2%

2%

4%

Refusal

2%

1%

-

 

Answer Options

 

Democrats

Republicans

NPA/Others

Strongly Approve

4%

64%

22%

Somewhat Approve

6%

17%

18%

Somewhat Disapprove

11%

4%

13%

Strongly Disapprove

76%

12%

44%

Don’t Know

2%

2%

1%

Refusal

1%

1%

3%

 

 

Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Robert Mueller is handling his job as Special Counsel for the United States Department of justice?

Answer Options

 

February 2018

Florida Registered Voters

n=619

Strongly Approve

19%

Somewhat Approve

21%

Somewhat Disapprove

11%

Strongly Disapprove

17%

Don’t Know

29%

Refusal

3%

 

Answer Options

 

Democrats

Republicans

NPA/Others

Strongly Approve

33%

7%

13%

Somewhat Approve

22%

21%

21%

Somewhat Disapprove

9%

16%

7%

Strongly Disapprove

11%

25%

16%

Don’t Know

24%

28%

39%

Refusal

1%

3%

4%

 

 

How often do you vote in non-presidential elections? Rate your involvement on a scale of one to five, where one is never and five is always.

Answer Options

 

February 2018

Florida Registered Voters

n=619

One (never)

17%

Two

9%

Three

17%

Four

14%

Five (always)

43%

Don’t Know

1%

Refusal

<1%

 

 

Thinking about the upcoming Florida midterm election in November, overall, would you say you are:

Answer Options

 

February 2018

Florida Registered Voters

n=619

Not at all enthusiastic

27%

Somewhat enthusiastic

44%

Very enthusiastic

25%

Don’t Know

3%

Refusal

1%


Survey Demographics 

 

Party Registration

Florida Registered Voters n=619

Republican

35%

Democrat

38%

NPA and other

27%

 

Age

Florida Registered Voters n=619

18 to 24

9%

25 to 34

15%

35 to 44

14%

45 to 55

16%

56 to 64

18%

65 and older

28%

 

Race

Florida Registered Voters n=619

White (not Hispanic)

64%

Black (not Hispanic)

13%

Hispanic

16%

Other

7%

 

Sex

Florida Registered Voters n=619

Male

46%

Female

54%

 

Telephone

Florida Registered Voters n=619

Landline

14%

Cell phone

85%

Don’t Know

-

Refusal

1%

 

Education

Florida Registered Voters n=619

Less than high school

3%

High school graduate

14%

Some college

51%

College graduate

19%

Post graduate degree

13%

Don’t Know

-

Refusal

-

 

Income

Florida Registered Voters n=619

Less than $25,000

11%

$25,000 to $50,000

21%

$50,000 to $75,000

21%

$75,000 to $100,000

13%

Above $100,000

21%

Don’t Know

5%

Refusal

9%

 

Survey language completed in…

Florida Registered Voters n=619

English

98%

Spanish

2%

 

 

Methodology  

 

The University of North Florida (UNF), Florida Statewide Poll was conducted by the Public Opinion Research Lab (PORL) at UNF Monday, January 29, through Sunday, February 4, by live callers via the telephone, and calls were made from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The sample of phone numbers was created through the voter file provided by Florida’s Division of Elections September 2017 update and selected through the use of probability sampling among Florida registered voters in the Florida voter file. Interviews were conducted in English and Spanish by UNF undergraduate and graduate students. Overall, there were 619 completed surveys of Florida registered voters, 18 years of age or older.

 

To determine likely voters, respondents were asked two questions related to the upcoming midterm elections. First, they were asked on a scale of one (never) to five (always), how often do they vote in non-presidential elections. Second, respondents were asked about their enthusiasm for the upcoming election (not at all, somewhat or very enthusiastic).  Respondents who answered four or five for the frequency of voting question, or answered a three to the frequency of voting question and also answered somewhat or very enthused about the upcoming midterm elections were included as likely voters.   

 

The margin of sampling error for the total sample is +/- 3.9 percentage points.The margin of error for likely voters in the November 2018 midterm election is +/- 4.7 percentage points. This study had a 13.8% response rate. The American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) Response Rate 3 (RR3) calculation was used which consists of an estimate of what proportion of cases of unknown eligibility are actually eligible. The breakdown of completed responses on a landline phone to a cell phone was 27 to 73 percent. A single interviewer, through hand dialing, upon reaching the specific registered voter as identified in the Florida voter file, asked the respondent to participate, regardless of landline telephone or cell phone. 

 

To ensure a representative sample being collected, the state was stratified using the 10 Florida designated market areas (DMA). DMAs are defined as regions where the population can receive the same or similar television and radio station offerings, as well as other types of media including newspapers and Internet content. In addition, because of Miami-Dade County’s unique population, it was separately accounted for in its own strata, creating 11 strata from the 10 DMAs. Quotas were placed on each of these stratified areas to ensure a proportionate amount of completed surveys from across the state. Data were then weighted by partisan registration, gender, race, age, and education. Education weights were created from the 2016 American Community Survey (ACS). Partisan registration, gender, race, and age weights were created from the September 2017 update of the Florida voter file to match the active registered voters in the state of Florida. These demographic characteristics were pulled from the voter file list.  All weighted demographic variables were applied using the SPSS version 23 rake weighting function. There were no statistical adjustments made due to design effects. This survey was sponsored by the UNF PORL and directed by Dr. Michael Binder, UNF associate professor of political science.  

 

The PORL is a full-service survey research facility that provides tailored research to fulfill each client’s individual needs from political, economic, social and cultural projects. The PORL opened in 2001 and is an independent, non-partisan center, a charter member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research Transparency Initiative and a member of the Association of Academic Survey Research Organization. For more information about methodology, contact Dr. Binder at porl@unf.edu or at (904) 620-2784.