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CNN Poll: Democrats up in Florida with two weeks to go

WASHINGTON (CNN)As the final two weeks of campaigning begin, Democrats hold an edge in both the gubernatorial and Senate contests in the key state of Florida, according to a new CNN Poll conducted by SSRS. Democratic nominee Andrew Gillum holds a wide 12-point edge over his Republican opponent Rep. Ron DeSantis in the race for governor, while the Senate contest is a closer matchup with incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson at 50% to Republican Gov. Rick Scott's 45%.v
Gillum's 54% to 42% lead rests on advantages among women (60% back him vs. 34% who say they favor DeSantis), non-white voters (74% back Gillum, 23% DeSantis), younger voters (60% for Gillum, 33% for DeSantis) and political independents (51% back Gillum, 42% DeSantis). Gillum has also consolidated Democratic support (97% favor him) in a way that DeSantis has not matched on the Republican side (88% back him).
Views of Donald Trump are about as polarizing as partisanship in this race, which Trump has tweeted about multiple times. Among the 51% of likely voters who disapprove of the president, 92% back Gillum, while 87% back DeSantis among the 43% who approve of Trump.The poll shows a wider lead for Gillum than some other recent telephone polling, nearly all of which was conducted before Hurricane Michael struck the state on October 10. Before the storm, public polling in mid- to late-September on these contests was mixed, with some (including surveys from Mason-Dixon and the University of North Florida) finding near-even races while others (including the Quinnipiac University and NBC News/Marist polls) gave the Democratic candidates the edge.
The CNN findings could be an outlier -- a statistical anomaly which occurs in polling by random chance. It also could be an indicator of renewed Democratic enthusiasm.
In the poll's sample of registered voters, the mix of Democrats and Republicans surveyed almost exactly matches the numbers reported by Florida's Secretary of State: 38% report being registered as Democrats, 35% as Republicans and 27% are registered with no party affiliation or as members of another party. Those identified as likely voters are similarly divided between Democrats and Republicans (40% to 37%) with fewer who are registered without a party affiliation or as members of a third party (23%).
And the Democratic advantages in the poll were similar across multiple versions of a likely voter model, including those driven more by interest in the campaign and those which placed stronger emphasis on past voting behavior.
Several recent national polls -- including surveys from CNN, the Washington Post and ABC News, and the Wall Street Journal and NBC News -- have also found wider Democratic leads in generic congressional ballots among likely voters than among registered voters, and have found signs of strong enthusiasm among Democratic voters. Read More​​

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(CNN)One suburban Georgia county has become a flashpoint for concerns over voter suppression for rejecting hundreds of mail-in absentee ballots weeks before Election Day.
Gwinnett County, located northeast of Atlanta, now faces two federal lawsuits and accusations from voting rights activists who say the rejections disproportionately affect minority voters, particularly Asian Americans and African Americans.
The county has rejected 595 absentee ballots, which account for more than a third of the total absentee-ballot rejections in the state, even though Gwinnett County accounts for only about 6% of absentee ballots submitted in Georgia, according to state data analyzed by CNN Friday. More than 300 of the rejected ballots belonged to African Americans and Asian Americans.
Officials tossed out the ballots due to missing birthdates, address discrepancies, signatures that do not match those on registration records and other issues, according to the data.A lawsuit brought by the Coalition for Good Governance on behalf of a group of Georgia voters demands that a judge order the county to notify voters within one day of the rejections and provide adequate time to address the discrepancies.
Court documents in a separate suit with similar demands filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of two advocacy groups describe the county's rejections as a "constitutional train wreck." That suit specifically challenges the county's rejection of ballots based on signature mismatches, which the suit calls a violation of due process. A judge has scheduled a hearing for that case Tuesday.
Gwinnett County released a statement that said it's "committed to a process that protects the voting rights of all of its citizens and fully complies with the law in the process," but some voters have found the rejections confusing.

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