ORLANDO, Fla. — With the U.S. Senate race heating up, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott are getting mixed reviews when it comes to their job performance.

According to Spectrum News Exclusive Decision 2018 poll, 37 percent disapprove of the job Nelson has done as U.S. senator with 36 percent approved of his job performance.

However, 27 percent polled were not sure.   

Political expert Ana Cruz said the numbers are partly the result of negative campaign commercials in the U.S. Senate race.

"Rick Scott has been running negative ads against Bill Nelson and we see that that's been effective," Cruz said. "We're still early on in this race. We have until November and you'll see a lot more activity on the airwaves from Bill Nelson coming soon."

Scott's job performance was slightly higher.

According to the same poll, 44 percent were happy with the job the governor has done, with 42 percent disapproved of Scott's performance on the job. Yet, 15 percent were not sure.  

Republican expert Chris Ingram believes those numbers are promising.

"The good thing for the governor is his approval ratings are better than his disapproval ratings," Ingram said. "What I would interpret from these findings, the numbers show that Rick Scott is doing well."

The poll also showed that Scott is faring better with male voters, with 51 percent of those who approve of his job performance are men.   

On the other hand, 47 percent of those who disapprove of Scott's job performance are women.  

"Rick Scott definitely has what you can look at as a gender gap," Ingram said. "Men tend to more strongly approve of the job that he's doing than women."

Ingram said that is typical for Republican candidates.  

Meanwhile, Nelson's approval was evenly split: 36 percent from men and 36 percent from women.  

However, 42 percent of men disapproved of Nelson's job performance, compared to 31 percent of women.  

And 33 percent of women were not sure.

Cruz said the larger number of undecideds could help Nelson because it shows the incumbent still has an opportunity to sway voters.  

"He has the ability to earn a lot more of those individuals than Rick Scott," Cruz said.

According to the poll, more voters had already made up their minds about Scott's job performance.


The top priority for those who approved of Scott was national security, while the top issue for those who approved of Bill Nelson was the environment.

Experts said feelings about each candidate's job performance could impact who wins the U.S. Senate race in November. ​