Flash poll: Charlie Crist the overwhelming favorite of Dems to replace Bill Young; Rick Baker leads possible GOP contenders

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U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young told the Tampa Bay Times on Wednesday he won’t seek re-election next year. As expected, his decision has scrambled Tampa Bay’s political chessboard, so St. Pete Polls and I decided to go into the field last night to get a feel of who is most likely to replace Young.

On the Democratic side, Charlie Crist is the overwhelming favorite of Democrats. Crist leads a field of possible contenders for Congressional District 13 with 54% of the vote, followed by declared candidate Jessica Ehrlich at 10%, County Commissioners Charlie Justice and Ken Welch at 8%, County Commissioner Janet Long at 7%, businessman Scott Wagman at 2%. Thirteen percent of Democrats say they are unsure of who they would support.

With Crist out of the mix, Justice leads the field with 20%, followed by Ehrlich at 17%, Long at 13%, Welch at 10%, Wagman at 3%. In a Crist-less scenario, 37% of Democratic voters say they are unsure of who they would support.

The Republican field — which has already been shaken this morning by announcements from Jeff Brandes and John Morroni that they will not run for Young’s seat — is led by former St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker, who captures 24% of the vote. Brandes is at 12%, Jack Latvala at 9%, former Clearwater Mayor Frank Hibbard at 8%, County Commissioner Karen Seel at 7%. Thirty-eight percent of GOP voters say they are unsure of who they would support. 

The poll was conducted by an automated phone call polling system. The results were then weighted to account for proportional differences between the respondents’ demographics and the demographics of the active voter population for Congressional District 13. The demographics used were: race and age.

The voters polled were chosen at random within the registered Republican and Democratic voter population within Congressional District 13. Only voters that had voted in both the 2010 and 2012 general elections were included in these results.

The scientific results shown for the Democratic questions below have a sample size of 367 respondents and a margin of error of 5.1% at a 95% confidence level.

The scientific results shown for the Republican questions below have a sample size of 443 respondents and a margin of error of 4.7% at a 95% confidence level.

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.