“Undecided” Is Clear Winner in Race to Succeed Rubio

If the election for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Marco Rubio were held today, “undecided” would be easily elected.

A new survey by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute confirms the race is a pure toss-up with no candidate having much of an advantage.

In a generic election, an unnamed Democrat leads a generic Republican by a statistically meaningless three points, 42 to 39 percent:

In the 2016 election for United States Senate in Florida, will you probably vote for the Republican candidate or for the Democratic candidate?

39 % Probably vote for the Republican candidate
42 % Probably vote for the Democratic candidate
5 % Probably vote for some other candidate
14 % Don’t know / not sure


Among likely Democratic voters, U.S. Congressman Patrick Murphy has a statistically meaningless lead over fellow U.S. Congressman Alan Grayson, 27 to 24 percent, but both candidates trail respondents who don’t know or are not sure at 39 percent:

Which of the following potential candidates would you support for the Democratic nomination if they ran for United States Senate in 2016?

27 % Congressman Patrick Murphy
24 % Congressman Alan Grayson
10 % Some other candidate
39 % Don’t know / not sure


The Republican primary is not much clearer, with former state Attorney General Bill McCollum leading a crowded field of potential candidates with just 16 percent of the vote; 43 percent say they are undecided.

Which of the following potential candidates would you support for the Republican nomination for United States Senate in 2016?

16 % Former Attorney General Bill McCollum
    8 % U.S. Congressman Jeff Miller
7 % Lieutenant Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera
    6 % U.S. Congressman Ron DeSantis
    6 % U.S. Congressman David Jolly
4 % State Senator Don Gaetz
    3 % Former U.S. Senator George LeMieux
43 % Don’t know / not sure


In general election trial heats, Murphy leads all his potential Republican opponents by a two-to-one margin or better, but Murphy receives only about a third of the overall vote regardless of his opponent:

The following are some possible match-ups in the election for U.S. Senate in 2016. Please indicate which candidate you would vote for if the election were held today and the choice were between the following:

30 % Patrick Murphy Carlos Lopez-Cantera 15 %
33 % Patrick Murphy Ron DeSantis 14 %
36 % Patrick Murphy Don Gaetz 9 %
35 % Patrick Murphy David Jolly 14 %
34 % Patrick Murphy Jeff Miller 15 %


Struggling with Name Recognition

“None of the candidates has great name recognition statewide just yet,” said Frank Orlando, instructor of political science at Saint Leo University. “It appears that Patrick Murphy has the early advantage, but this may be attributable to him being in the race the longest. As Floridians turn their attention to this important election, more voters will have a clear opinion and the Republicans will tighten up their base support,” stated Orlando.

About the Saint Leo University Polling Institute/Methodology

This Saint Leo University poll of 535 Florida adults, was conducted between May 25 and May 31, 2015. The margin of error on political questions (of likely voters only) is approximately 4.5 percent +/- with a 95 percent confidence level. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. Sample is drawn from large online panels, which allow for random selections that reflect accurate cross sections of all demographic groups. Online methodology has the additional advantages of allowing participants to respond to the survey at a time, place, and speed that is convenient to them, which may result in more thoughtful answers. The Saint Leo University Polling Institute develops the questionnaires, administers the surveys, and conducts analysis of the results. Panel participants typically receive a token incentive – usually $1 dollar deposited into an iTunes or Amazon account – for their participation.

Full Survey Results

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute has posted full results in table form here.

About Saint Leo University

Saint Leo University is a regionally accredited, liberal-arts-based institution known for an inclusive Catholic heritage, enduring values, and capacity for innovation. The school was chartered in 1889 by Catholic Benedictine monks in rural Pasco County, FL, making Saint Leo the first Catholic college in the state. Saint Leo provides access to education to people of all faiths, emphasizing the Benedictine philosophy of balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit.

The university welcomes learners from all generations and backgrounds, from civilian occupations and the armed forces, and from across the country and more than 60 nations around the world. Saint Leo’s 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students may elect to study at the beautiful University Campus in Florida, at more than 40 teaching locations in seven states, or online from other locations. The university’s degree programs range from the associate to the doctorate. Throughout these rich offerings, Saint Leo develops principled leaders for a challenging world.

Saint Leo University boasts nearly 80,000 alumni in all 50 states, Washington, DC, five U.S. territories, and 72 countries.

Media Contacts: Kim Payne, staff writer and media coordinator, at kim.payne@saintleo.edu

or (352) 588-7233/(717) 798-1508 or Jo-Ann Johnston, academic communications manager, at jo-ann.johnston@saintleo.edu or (352) 588-8237/(352) 467-0843.