Republican Bill Young moves to within two points of HD 68 incumbent Dwight Dudley

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House District 68 Democrat Dwight Dudley is seeing his lead crumble with likely voters against first-time Republican challenger Bill Young II, son of the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young.

In June, Dudley enjoyed a six-point advantage over Young in the eastern Pinellas County district, 46-40 percent. It is a traditionally Democratic-leaning region, both in voter registration and at the polls, with a base of mainly senior citizens.

That trend could be changing.

As of the July 14 survey, conducted by StPetePolls and commissioned by SaintPetersBlog, the incumbent saw his lead drop to only two points, 46-44 percent, with nearly 10 percent undecided. Those numbers are well within the polls’ margin of error.

Dudley and Young each enjoy solid backing from their base, about 75 percent for Dudley and 76 percent for Young. In June, Dudley fared better with Republicans (27 percent) than Young did with Democrats (24 percent). However, in the latest poll, Dudley’s appeal with GOP voters in HD 68 also dropped to just over 12 percent.

Independent voters still seem to be falling behind Dudley, with 51 percent, but those who prefer Young jumped from 33 to 42 percent; less than 8 percent of independents are undecided.

In Florida’s governor’s race, likely Democratic candidate Charlie Crist, a St. Petersburg native, holds a solid 11-point lead over incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott with the voters of District 68. Scott receives 38 percent of likely voters, versus nearly 49 percent for former Gov. Crist.

Libertarian Adrian Wyllie also gets just over 5 percent, while “Someone Else” gets about the same. Three percent of those polled remain undecided.

Likely voters in HD 68 are also okay with medical marijuana.

Florida Constitutional Amendment 2, which asks voters to approve using pot to treat a number of ailments, continues to receive strong support in the district, by a margin of 74-26 percent, more than the required 60 percent support for the measure to pass in November. Just under 3 percent of likely voters are undecided.

StPetePolls randomly selected survey respondents within registered voters of HD 68, with only those voters saying they were planning to vote included in the results. The sample size was 408, with a +/- 4.9 percent margin of error at 95 percent confidence level.

Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.