Little more than a week after the end of the legislative session, Republicans in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties head to the polls Tuesday to choose a nominee to replace the late Rep. Clay Ford who died in March.
Whichever one of the half-dozen candidates emerges with the GOP nod in House District 2 will be a sizable favorite against Democrat Jeremy Lau. Gov. Rick Scott carried the district by 16 points in 2010. Republicans also have an eight-point edge in voter registration, according to state numbers.
According to the latest survey by St. Pete Polls, the candidate likely to emerge on Tuesday is Mike Hill. The Tea Party leader has surged to a twelve-point lead over former Gulf Breeze mayor Ed Gray, with Hill receiving 36% of respondents’ support and Gray receiving 24%. Former Pensacola City Councilman Jack Nobles is in third at 11%.
Gray began the race with a thirteen point lead over Hill, according to a poll taken on April 6th. Hill closed the gap, drawing to within six points in a poll taken on April 20. Today, three weeks after the last poll was taken, Hill has zoomed past Gray as almost all of the previously undecided voters have broken to Hill. The chart below captures the dramatic movement in Hill’s favor.
In case there was any doubt about the veracity of the survey numbers provided by St. Pete Polls, just take a look at the results in Gainesville’s mayoral election. The incumbent there, Craig Lowe, lost to challenger Ed Braddy.
With all 35 precincts reporting, Braddy had 7,258 votes (55 percent) to Lowe’s 6,007 (45 percent).
On the Monday before the election, St. Pete Polls released fresh data showing 40% of registered voters were supporting Braddy, while 36% said they would vote for Lowe.
Bottom line: St. Pete Polls was right. Again.