Alvin Brown 49%, Lenny Curry 46% in first head-to-head poll of Jax mayoral race

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A new automated phone poll of 1,076 likely voters from St. Pete Polls is the first to address the 2015 Jacksonville runoff election for sheriff and mayor.

The poll, with a 3 percent margin of error, shows a tight mayoral race with incumbent Democrat Alvin Brown very slightly ahead of Republican Lenny Curry. It also shows that Democratic sheriff candidate Ken Jefferson is ahead of Republican Mike Williams in the very early going.

The poll has Brown ahead of Curry, 49.4 percent to 46.1 percent, showing that in a binary race there already is a slight skew to Curry. The poll was taken before the city pension deal was spiked Wednesday night on the floor of the Jacksonville City Council.

This margin is just outside the margin of error.

Both men enjoy strong support within their own parties in the poll. Brown is just above 79 percent with Democrats; Curry holds 77 percent of Republicans. There is an almost even split among independents, with both men near 47 percent. (Figures are rounded to the nearest whole number for the sake of readability).

When the universe of respondents is broken down by race, Curry has the advantage with white voters (about 63 percent to 33 percent), while Brown enjoys a lead with black voters (89 percent to 6 percent). Hispanic and Asian/Pacific Islander voters likewise skew Brown’s way by comfortable margins.

Broken down by gender, Curry has a 49 percent to 48 percent advantage with men. With women, Brown enjoys a 51 percent to 44 percent advantage.

Broken down by age, Brown enjoys single-digit advantages that are outside the margin of error with 18-29-year-olds and 30-49-year-olds. With respondents 50-69 years of age, Brown still holds an advantage, but it’s inside the margin of error. With respondents over the age of 70, Curry enjoys an 8-point advantage.

In good news for Brown and Curry, both have net favorable ratings. Brown has a 52.2 percent favorable rating (and 34.3 percent unfavorable); Curry is at 46.5 percent favorable and 39.8 percent unfavorable. Both men have a significant proportion of voters who are unsure (13.7 percent for Curry; 13.5 percent for Brown).

The numbers show interesting subtrends. Brown, for example, has a 29 percent favorable rating with Republicans, a number that jibes with previous polls throughout his term. He also has an 84 percent approval rating with blacks, which suggests that the recurrent meme that he hasn’t done enough for Northwest Jacksonville has not led to attrition in his favorability numbers.

The mayor has net favorable ratings with men and women both, and with every age group except those older than 70.

Curry, meanwhile, has a 20 percent favorable rating with Democrats and a 73 percent favorable rating with Republicans. The latter suggests that, despite a First Election that saw Bishop backers clashing with Curry partisans, Republicans appear to be coming home already.

The Republican has some work to do with minority voters, with net unfavorables in all ethnic groups but whites, where Curry has a 61 percent approval rating. He has net favorables with men and women, and with all age groups but the 18-29-year-old demographic. The older the voter is, the more likely they are to look favorably on the Republican candidate.

Williams, who lost the First Election by 15 points to Jefferson, likewise is closing the gap with the Democrat in a binary race (48.8 percent to 40.6 percent).

The party breakdown in this race shows Williams doing well with Republicans — 68 percent of GOP respondents intend to vote for him — while Jefferson enjoys the support of 74 percent of Democrats. Independents right now lean toward the Democrat, who enjoys strong name recognition from years of television work.

As with the Democrat in the mayoral race, Jefferson has a healthy lead with Hispanics, API voters, and blacks (where he leads Williams 87 percent to 4 percent). Whites lean toward Williams by a 55 percent to 33 percent margin.

Men prefer the Republican, but by a margin just inside the margin of error. Women lean toward Jefferson by a surprisingly large margin, 53 percent to 36 percent.

When broken down by age, Jefferson has strong leads with all demographics except for  the 70 and older set, where Williams’ slim lead of less than a percentage point is well within the margin of error.

The vast majority of respondents intend to vote in person rather than by mail, a trend that holds true across party lines, and gender and age breakdowns. Voting in person, for the purposes of this poll, includes Early Voting at the Supervisor of Elections office and locations throughout the city.

We have reached out to the Brown and Curry campaigns for comment and will post the mayoral campaign reactions as soon as we have them.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.