West is running strong in a heavily contested seat
I’ve never been in love with automated or interactive polls but at the same time, my experience with them is that they aren’t as inaccurate as many think. St PetePolls.org conducted a survey in several important localized races in the state last week, and most of the polls contain few surprises. In fact, in many cases they reinforce the perceptions that were already developing around each race. Let’s look at a few of them.
In the race for Representative in Congress from District 18 do you support Republican Allen West or Democrat Patrick Murphy?
Allen West: 48.7%
Patrick Murphy: 42.6%
As expected here West has a solid but unspectacular lead. He’s under 50% which is always worrying for an incumbent, but is basically running in a new district. He remains favored to win in the Fall, despite Murphy’s impressive attributes. The big difference here is that West, whose independence from the GOP dogma cannot be questioned (he’s further to the right than the party establishment) is winning big among non party affiliated voters (55-32).
In the race for Representative in Congress from District 22 do you support Republican Adam Hasner or Democrat Lois Frankel?
Adam Hasner: 41.0%
Lois Frankel: 46.6%
Very little crossover here between parties. Both Frankel and Hasner receive single digit support among the other parties voters, and Frankel’s narrow lead among Independents (who tend to lean left socially in this area) is largely responsible for her overall lead.
In the race for Representative in Congress from District 9 do you support Republican Todd Long or Democrat Alan Grayson?
Todd Long: 41.0%
Alan Grayson: 45.8%
Long is getting almost 18% of the Democratic vote while Grayson checks in at about 6% of the GOP vote. Grayson also has a slight lead among independents (44-39). Long is getting decent traction and may benefit from the strong State Senate campaign Republican Will McBride is running the area. McBride may not win but he will get at least some crossover Hispanic Democratic votes and some of those voters may choose Long as well. Grayson will win but not by the margin once expected in this heavily Democratic performing district.
In the race for Representative in Congress from District 16 do you support Republican Vern Buchanan or Democrat Keith Fitzgerald?
Vern Buchanan: 55.6%
Keith Fitzgerald: 37.0%
Teflon Vern. It seemed this race was getting out of reach for Fitzgerald even with the scandals plaguing Buchanan, but this poll indicates a rout may be at hand.
In the race for Representative in Congress from District 13 do you support Republican C.W. Bill Young or Democrat Jessica Ehrlich?
C.W. Bill Young: 50.1%
Jessica Ehrlich: 38.6%
This seems about right. Democrats are crowing about this race across the state, but I see Ehrlich as more of a long term prospect than anything else. This seat is not winnable for the D’s until Young retires. But if Ehrlich runs decently it could positively effect downballot races for many Democrats. Five State House seats in the area will be seriously contested.
In the race for State Senator from District 4 do you support Republican Aaron Bean or Democrat Nancy Soderberg?
Aaron Bean: 57.4%
Nancy Soderberg: 34.2%
No surprise here. Soderberg is an exceptional intellectual in a state filled with unexceptional politicians in both parties. Sadly, this district is really conservative.
In the race for State Senator from District 8 do you support Republican Dorothy L. Hukill or Democrat Frank T. Bruno Jr.?
Dorothy L. Hukill: 41.9%
Frank T. Bruno Jr.: 41.0%
As expected this race is as close as any in the state. This will be among the tightest races on Election Night.
In the race for State Senator from District 20 do you support Republican Jack Latvala or Democrat Ashley M. Rhodes-Courter?
Jack Latvala: 48.7%
Ashley M. Rhodes-Courter: 37.0%
Easy victory for Latvala.
In the race for State Senator from District 34 do you support Republican Ellyn Bogdanoff or Democrat Maria Sachs?
Ellyn Bogdanoff: 45.8%
Maria Sachs: 44.5%
Bogdanoff is drawing double digits of the Democratic vote and thus holds a small overall lead in this heavily Democratic district. Despite strong ties to local Republicans and a better electoral base (most of this district is in Palm Beach County) it is not happening yet for Sachs. Still it is very difficult for a Republican to win in this reconfigured district and coat tails might be strong.
In the race for State Representative from District 7 do you support Republican Halsey Beshears or Democrat Robert Hill?
Halsey Beshears: 44.8%
Robert Hill: 33.6%
Not surprisingly Beshears is winning lots of Democratic support in this sprawling rural district. Hill will need to overcome a weak national ticket in this district where Romney is sure to rout Obama.
In the race for State Representative from District 65 do you support Republican Peter Nehr or Democrat Carl Z Zimmermann?
Peter Nehr: 49.2%
Carl Z Zimmermann: 39.2%
The third time appears not likely to be the charm for Zimmerman. This is actually one of the more Republican Pinellas County seats in the new map, and Nehr coming out of his primary seemingly stronger, should win here.
In the race for State Representative from District 66 do you support Republican Larry Ahern or Democrat Mary Louise Ambrose?
Larry Ahern: 46.1%
Mary Louise Ambrose: 44.4%
One of three very close southern Pinellas districts. Ahern’s slight lead could easily dissipate.
In the race for State Representative from District 67 do you support Republican Ed Hooper or Democrat Ben Farrell?
Ed Hooper: 43.4%
Ben Farrell: 39.6%
Farrell is running weaker than expected here but the high number of undecideds more than likely will cut his way. That will make this a very close race on election night. Southern Pinellas could be a sweep for the Democrats or an embarrassing wipe-out. This race is the key.
In the race for State Representative from District 68 do you support Republican Frank Farkas, Democrat Dwight Dudley or No Party Candidate Matthew D. Weidner?
Frank Farkas: 40.9%
Dwight Dudley: 41.5%
Matthew D. Weidner: 8.5%
Farkas’ weakness despite appearing on the General Election ballot previously in this area five times means the undecideds will likely cut against him. Dudley is one of the strongest Democrats running for House anywhere in the state and this is one seat the GOP’s Primary likely cost them a chance of winning. Frankly Farkas’ time has long been up.
In the race for State Representative from District 69 do you support Republican Kathleen Peters or Democrat Josh Shulman?
Kathleen Peters: 45.1%
Josh Shulman: 40.7%
Like every other race in the area, undecideds will likely cut more to the Democrats, This gives Schulman an excellent chance of victory.