Another poll shows Marco Rubio with low likability, but holding a small edge over Val Demings

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Yet another poll shows a tight race between GOP U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic challenger Val Demings.

Survey results from Susquehanna Polling and Research shows Rubio with 47% support compared to Demings’ 44%. The 3-point difference between candidates puts the race within the poll’s 4.3 percentage point margin of error.

The results show the Republican incumbent under 50%, consistent with similar polling released in recent weeks including a major poll for AARP Florida released the same day.

The Susquehanna poll, first released to Real Clear Politics, shows there could be trouble for Rubio with independents leaning toward the Democrat.

A memo from pollster Tom Lee notes this poll also shows a shift from a poll from August last year, when Rubio enjoyed a 50% to 39% edge and sat above the critical majority threshold for an incumbent.

“The biggest shift comes from Independents and NPA’s, where Demings leads Rubio 41:32, a reversal from a 42:41 Rubio lead last year,” Lee wrote, before comparing Rubio’s numbers to his last contest against former U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy.

“Exit polling shows Rubio won Independents/NPA’s by a 52:42 margin over his last opponent in 2016 (Murphy), so Rubio’s loss of support with this critical swing group could cost him the election if he doesn’t shore up this vote.”

The poll indicates Rubio way underwater with independent voters, with 47% holding an unfavorable view of the Senator and just 27% viewing him favorably. Meanwhile, 31% of voters like Demings and 28% dislike her. That suggests she is in positive territory but also remains an unknown quantity to many Florida voters.

Among all voters, Rubio remains underwater but has a lift from Republicans, so he ends up with a 45% unfavorable and 41% favorable showing. Demings is viewed well by 37% of all likely voters and unfavorably by 31%.

Pollsters surveyed 500 likely voters between Aug. 29 and Sept. 3, making this the most recently taken poll now publicly available on the race.

Beyond candidate preference, pollsters also checked the issues driving voters to the polls this year and found 54% listing inflation and the economy as a top choice. But social issues including abortion and gun control came in second place, with 44% of voters listing those as motivating factors. Pollsters sought out two issues from each respondent.

A distant third place issue was immigration, a concern for 26% of voters, followed by the environment and climate change ay 21%. Taxes showed at 17%, crime and public safety at 16% and health care at 13%.

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