On August 28, 2018, voters in Florida’s First Congressional District will head to the polls to vote for County Commissioner, State House and Senate candidates, U.S. House of Representatives, and a plethora of amendments. Democrats are hoping to send one of their own to Congress this year. It would be a victory not seen in FL-01 since the election of Earl Hutto(D) in 1992. The Adrenaline Podcast conducted a 7-day Survey Monkey Poll from June 4 – June 11, 2018. The poll was placed in the threads of an equal number of conservative and liberal facebook groups across Northwest Florida. The poll asked voters, in the district, which congressional candidate they would support in the upcoming primary. While there appears to be a clear front runner, it is still anyone’s game as Florida Division of Elections conducts a closed primary election.
79 registered voters completed the Survey Monkey Poll.
75% of those polled self- identified with the Democratic Party. 10% of respondents identified as Republican, while 14% identified as either Independent or No Party Affiliation (NPA). Only 21% of registered voters turned out to vote in the 2014 Primary. If the number of Republicans who participated in this poll is any indication of the number of Republican voters expected to turn out in this summer’s primary, then Democrats have room to be optimistic; but optimism isn’t enough in Florida’s most conservative district. Republicans outnumber Democrats in every county across District 1, so victory will center around which party can turn out the most voters. If Democrats can turn out 75% of their voters in November 2018, the seat will flip in their favor for the first time in a generation.
While only 75% of those polled, identified with the Democratic Party, 91% of voters said they were unhappy with the current Representative, Matt Gaetz (R). While most republicans are trying to distance themselves from the President’s racist and sexist policies, Gaetz has used his first term as congressman to completely and unapologetically align himself with Trump.
Gaetz is running for re-election this year, and with this level of unpopularity across the district, Democrats stand a chance to flip the seat. 82% of the polled NPA’s & Independents stated they were not happy with Matt Gaetz, with 18% of them stating they were not sure who Matt Gaetz was. Democrats will need the support of Independents and NPA’s to flip the seat but without the democratic base, the election is still in the Republicans’ favor. We’ve seen across the country that Trumpism only works for one person, Trump. Gaetz will not distance himself from the President and does not feel as though he needs to reach beyond his base support of 30-35%.
This election season has seen a wave of female candidates running for office across the country. Women appear to be paying more attention to the upcoming election and there are more registered women than men in Fl-01.
80% of women surveyed identified as a Democrat, 7% as a Republican, and 13% as either an Independent or NPA. Matt Gaetz is polling terribly with women, with 92% of women surveyed stating they are not happy with him as the district’s congressman. While Gaetz’s popularity is slighter better with men only 5% of surveyed men thought Gaetz was doing a great job (M.O.E. 13.8%; 95%C.I.).
Voters were asked, if the election were held today, which congressional candidate they would support, and the clear front-runner in this poll is Pace pediatrician Dr. Jennifer Zimmerman. Independents and NPA’s break even for Phil Ehr, a career military veteran, and Dr. Zimmerman.
Independents and NPA’s are not allowed to vote for a republican or a democrat in a closed primary, therefore the candidates can’t rely on these voters to carry them to victory. Candidates will have to mobilize their bases in order to make it to the general election. 53% of polled democrats said they would vote for Zimmerman, while 32% said they would support Ehr. 14% of polled democrats remain undecided. The margin of error is quite wide because of the small sample size. With 14% of democrats undecided and a margin of error of +/-12.7%, the race could swing up to 27 points in either direction.
Zimmerman also polls better with Democratic women. 47% of women pledged their support for her candidacy. 29% of democratic women polled, support Ehr which is within the margin of error.
Female voter turnout is expected to be up this election cycle and with 17% of women undecided and a margin of error of +/-12.2%, female support in this race could swing up to 29 points in either direction.
Age and Ethnic demographic polling in next week’s post.