Another Florida poll suggests a nail-biter of an election between Donald Trump and Joe Biden

President Donald Trump and former Vice President and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden speak during the first presidential debate at the Health Education Campus of Case Western Reserve University on Sept. 29, 2020, in Cleveland. Credit: Morry Gash-Pool/Getty Images

A new Mason-Dixon poll gives Democrat Joe Biden a slim lead over President Trump in Florida — with 48 percent of likely voters preferring Biden and 45 percent Trump — but the difference is within the 4 percentage-point margin for error with the last day of voting only 18 days away.

Six percent were undecided in the survey, released on Friday, and 1 percent favored another candidate.

Biden held a 4-point lead over Trump in a Mason-Dixon survey released in July. Overall, polls have shown a tight race in the largest swing state with Biden enjoying narrow leads.

The results arrived with early in-person voting set to begin in some counties on Monday, expanding statewide on Oct. 24. Vote-by-mail ballots went out on Sept. 24.

In the new poll, Biden enjoyed 87 percent support among Democrats, 49 percent support among independents, 86 percent among African Americans, 55 percent of women, and 57 percent among Hispanics.

Trump’s biggest supporters were Republicans (84 percent), men (51 percent), and whites (56 percent).

The president polled strongest in North Florida, stretching from the Perdido River to the Atlantic, at 58 percent, and Southwest Florida, at 55 percent. He enjoyed a slim lead in Central Florida at 47 percent to Biden’s 45 percent.

Biden’s strongest support regionally was in Southeast Florida, at 63 percent, and he held a slim lead in Tampa Bay, which the poll calls a “crucial swing area,” at 47 percent compared to 44 percent for Trump.

“Florida is a ‘must-win’ state for any Republican presidential candidate, as a path to 270 electoral votes is virtually impossible to reach without the 29 from the Sunshine State. It is obvious that Trump can’t afford to lose here,” the poll says.

In terms of favorability ratings, 46 percent were well-disposed toward Biden and 43 percent toward Trump. Forty percent viewed Biden unfavorably and 50 percent were unfavorable toward Trump.

Between the vice-presidential contenders, incumbent Mike Pence beat Democrat Kamala Harris, 45 percent to 40 percent. Thirty-nine percent were unfavorable toward Pence and 41 percent toward Harris.

Sorted by age, respondents in the 18-34 group were Biden’s biggest fans, with 62 percent supporting him compared to 32 percent for Trump. Voters aged 50-64 went 51 percent for Trump and 44 percent for Biden.

Exactly 50 percent of voters aged 65 and up supported Trump, with 41 percent for Biden. Notably 9 percent of these older voters were undecided.

Michael Moline
Michael Moline has covered politics and the legal system for more than 30 years. He is a former managing editor of the San Francisco Daily Journal and former assistant managing editor of The National Law Journal. He began his career covering the Florida Capitol for United Press International. More recently, he wrote for Florida Politics.