Monday, March 27, 2017

Many Florida voters still undecided about potential field in 2018 gubernatorial race

L-R: Andrew Gillum, John Morgan, Patrick Murphy, Mike Huckabee, Adam Putnam
The results of a new Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey showed that many Florida voters remain undecided about the announced and potential candidates in the 2018 gubernatorial election.

Democratic respondents were asked to choose from a list of names a candidate they would support if the party primary for the governor was being held that day. “I don’t know” was the most frequent answer with 35.5 percent of responses.

Former Congressman Patrick Murphy, who opposed U.S. Senator Marco Rubio in the most recent election, came in next with 20.2 percent. Though Murphy was elected to Congress in 2012 and 2014, Frank Orlando, political scientist and director of the Saint Leo University Polling Institute, said it was the unsuccessful race against Rubio that gave Murphy enough name recognition statewide to be named so often by Democrats taking the survey.

John Morgan, the private attorney who advocated for medical marijuana’s legalization in Florida, attracted 9.4 percent of responses. He has said he might run for governor as a Democrat. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, who officially confirmed in early March that he wants the governor’s office, gathered only 3.9 percent.

Among Republican respondents who answered the survey, a similar result was reported when they were asked to name a candidate they would support for the gubernatorial primary nomination if the election was that day. The most popular answer was “I don’t know,” selected by one-third of respondents.

The next most popular choice was former television host and former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee (who now lives in the Panhandle) at 29.7 percent. Florida native and politician Adam Putnam, currently state commissioner of agriculture and consumer services, received 12.6 percent.

The survey asked respondents from all political backgrounds whom they would support if the election was that day and the choices for governor were (Republican) Adam Putnam and (Democrat) John Morgan. It turns out 42.2 percent were undecided, while 25.6 percent chose Morgan and 19.5 selected Putnam. More than 12 percent wanted “someone else.”

“The biggest word in the gubernatorial race is still  Ľuncertainty’,” said Orlando. “Most candidates are still doing their homework to decide if making a run is worth it.  Until the field crystallizes, we’ll continue to see results dominated by name ID.”

The responses were gathered online from 507 adults from March 3 to March 11, 2017. The margin of error for responses is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.

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