ST. LEO – Tallahassee Mayor and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum leads his Republican opponent Ron DeSantis by nearly 12 percentage points in a new survey of registered Florida voters by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.

The poll was conducted online with 698 registered likely voters statewide from October 16 through October 22.

Of the respondents polled, 48.6 percent said they will vote for Gillum, compared to 36.8 percent who said they will select DeSantis, a former congressman. Another 11 percent said they are undecided, and 3.6 percent said they want someone else.

The margin of error for the poll results is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.

The two gubernatorial candidates will debate tonight in Broward County; the event will be broadcast in many markets across the state.

“There are still two weeks almost two weeks to go heading into the debate tonight, but Gillum is in a strong position,” said Frank Orlando, political scientist and director of the Saint Leo University Polling Institute.  “DeSantis needs to hope that Republicans can close the enthusiasm gap between now and Election Day, whereas Gillum needs to hope that his lead is solid enough to withstand the new revelations about possible corruption in his administration. Mayor Gillum seemed to be dotting the “i’s” and crossing the “t’s” of an impressive victory, but it appears as though the end of the campaign will be more complicated than he would have liked.”

Further Florida results will be released by the polling institute within a day. Results can be seen online at under Poll Reports.

About the Poll
METHODOLOGY: The poll sampled opinions of 698 registered likely voters in Florida. The survey was conducted October 16 through October 22, 2018, using an online survey instrument. The Florida poll has a +/- 3.5 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level (on a composite basis).

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute conducts its surveys using cutting-edge online methodology, which is rapidly transforming the field of survey research. The 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 advantage 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 deposited into an iTunes or Amazon account—for their participation.

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey results about national and Florida politics, public policy issues, Pope Francis’ popularity, and other topics, can also be found here: You can also follow the institute on Twitter @saintleopolls.

Media contacts: Jo-Ann Johnston, Saint Leo University, University Communications or (352) 588-8237 or (352) 467-0843 (cell/text).     

Mary McCoy, Saint Leo University, University Communications or (352) 588-7118 or (813) 610-8416 (cell/text).

More About Saint Leo University
Saint Leo University ( is a modern Catholic teaching university that is firmly grounded in the liberal arts tradition and the timeless Benedictine wisdom that seeks balanced growth of mind, body, and spirit. The Saint Leo University of today is a private, nonprofit institution that creates hospitable learning communities wherever students want to be or need to be, whether that is a campus classroom, a web-based environment, an employer’s worksite, a military base, or an office park. Saint Leo welcomes people of all faiths and of no religious affiliation, and encourages learners of all generations. The university is committed to providing educational opportunities to the nation’s armed forces, veterans, and their families. Saint Leo is regionally accredited to award degrees ranging from the associate to the doctorate, and the faculty and staff guide all students to develop their capacities for critical thinking, moral reflection, and lifelong learning and leadership.

The university remains the faithful steward of the beautiful lakeside University Campus in the Tampa Bay region of Florida, where its founding monks created the first Catholic college in the state in 1889. Serving nearly 12,000 students, Saint Leo has expanded to downtown Tampa, to other sites in Florida and beyond, and maintains a physical presence in seven states. The university provides highly respected online learning programs to students nationally and internationally. More than 93,000 alumni reside in all 50 states, in Washington, DC, in three U.S. territories, and in 76 countries.