Bad news for Bill Nelson: more Floridians approve of the job Rick Scott is doing as governor as Nelson is doing as U.S. Senator, according to two new surveys released Tuesday.
The Morning Consult polls, which rank all 100 senators and 50 governors on their job performances, surveyed nearly 8,800 Floridians from January to March. The poll found more than half of Floridians -- 57 percent -- approved of Scott’s performance, while a smaller number, 53 percent, approved of Nelson’s performance.
Scott is widely rumored to be feeling out the possibility to make a run for Nelson’s Senate seat next year, and if the poll numbers are accurate, it looks like the two-term Florida governor could give Nelson a run for his money.
More Floridians disapproved of Scott’s performance, with 36 percent saying they felt that way while 26 percent of voters felt similarly about Nelson’s performance.
While Nelson might not have as high of a disapproval rating, something else should make him nervous: more Florida voters don’t even know who he is, despite serving as one of Florida’s senators for over 16 years.
Over one-fifth of voters -- 21 percent -- said they didn’t know who Nelson was, while a much smaller amount -- seven percent -- said the same about Scott.
"Both Senator Nelson and Governor Scott have relatively strong approval ratings," said Kyle Dropp, Morning Consult’s Chief Research Officer. "However, if Scott enters the race he will immediately have a valuable leg-up in terms of name ID.”
Nelson should be nervous about Scott’s numbers, which have only improved in recent months.
The governor’s numbers are trending up significantly since Morning Consult’s last poll in September, when Scott netted a 49 percent approval rating.
Other polls have consistently shown Nelson ahead of Scott as he continues to edge him out in surveys.
A Florida Chamber of Commerce poll released last month showed Nelson with a six-point lead over Scott for the U.S. Senate seat, routing the governor 48 percent to 42 percent.
Another survey from the University of North Florida found Nelson also beating Scott by six points, leading him 44-38.
Scott has still not declared his candidacy for the race, but the polls only seem to indicate the matchup is already shaping up to get closer and closer as 2018 looms.
The Morning Consult poll was conducted online from January to March 2017.