Charlie Crist has a 12-point lead over GOP incumbent David Jolly in Florida’s 13th Congressional District, 50 percent to 38 percent, according to a poll released on Tuesday by the Crist campaign.
The survey was conducted by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, a Democratic pollster who worked on Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2012.
The pollsters say that Crist’s high name recognition is a big factor in his double-digit lead. Crist enjoys 89 percent name ID across the Pinellas County based district, while Jolly’s name is recognized by only 61 percent of those surveyed.
The survey also shows Crist up by 14 percentage points among those registered as No Party Affiliation, 24 percent among self-identified independents, and 19 points among self-identified moderates.
The polls have varied widely in the district, whose boundaries have changed substantially due to a Florida Supreme Court mandate to the Legislature to do so. It has been a very evenly balanced district between Republicans and Democrats for years, but now has a much stronger Democratic party leaning to it.
That’s one factor in why Jolly opted to pass on reelection last year, saying that “no Republican” could win it.
However, he had a change of heart last month. After it was apparent that Marco Rubio was going to enter into a reelection bid for his U.S. Senate race, Jolly dropped out of the senate race, and announced in late June he would indeed run again for his Senate seat.
An internal poll for the Jolly campaign conducted by McLaughlin & Associates just days before he entered the race showed Jolly up by the exact same amount, 50 percent to 38 percent. A St. Pete Polls survey conducted June 10 had the two men tied at 44 percent each.
Last week the House Majority PAC announced that they had reserved another $1.4 million plus of advertising that they would spend in the Tampa Bay market on behalf of the Crist campaign in the waning weeks of the November election.
That buy was noted by a Jolly spokesperson on Tuesday. “Leave it to Charlie to try to own two sides of the same issue,” said Sarah Bascom. “On one hand his Washington puppet masters just had to reserve $2.5 million to protect him but on the other he’s touting a J.V. poll trying to convince his supporters he has a strong lead, despite the majority of polling that has Jolly in the lead.”
Anzalone Liszt Grove Research conducted 501 live telephone interviews with likely November 2016 general election between July 12-17, 2016, including 45 percent of the survey completed among cell phone interviews. Expected margin of sampling error for they survey is ±4.4% with a 95% confidence level.