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Going inside the Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll numbers on Florida’s Cabinet races and constitutional amendments

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A new statewide poll released by Ron Sachs Communications shows an open and competitive field in the state Cabinet races for Attorney General, Chief Financial Officer and Agriculture Commissioner, with most voters undecided.

In a likely General Election match-up for Agriculture Commissioner, former Tallahassee mayor and past Democratic Party chairman Scott Maddox (D) and U.S. Rep. Adam Putnam (R) are neck-and-neck, with Maddox leading 31 percent to 30 percent, well within the 4 percent margin of error. Thirty-nine percent of registered voters are undecided.

In the likely match-up for Chief Financial Officer, Senate President Jeff Atwater (R) leads with 33 percent, while former state Rep. Loranne Ausley (D) has 26 percent and 41 percent of registered voters are undecided.

In the Republican Primary for Florida Attorney General, Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp leads with 13 percent, Hillsborough prosecutor Pam Bondi has 10 percent and former legislator and ACHA Secretary Holly Benson has 5 percent. Seventy-two percent of likely Republican primary voters are undecided.

And in the Democratic Primary for Florida Attorney General, state Sen. Dan Gelber leads with 15 percent, and state Sen. Dave Aronberg has 12 percent. Seventy-three percent of likely Democratic primary voters are undecided.

“These figures show that even in this competitive election year, most voters still have much to learn about the candidates in Florida’s Cabinet races,” said Ron Sachs, president and CEO of Ron Sachs Communications, who commissioned the poll. “Right now any outcome is possible, and it will be interesting to watch where these large numbers of undecided voters come down during the five-plus months between now and Nov. 2.”

The poll also examined voter attitudes regarding proposed amendments to the Florida Constitution and found Amendment 4, dubbed “Hometown Democracy” by supporters, currently on track to pass with 61 percent of voters in support. Just 18 percent of respondents were against the measure, with 21 percent undecided.

Amendments to the Florida Constitution must pass with a 60 percent supermajority to be approved.

Compared to Amendment 4, the proposed “Right-size Class Size” amendment is faltering with only 44 percent of registered voters supporting the measure to provide flexibility to districts to meet school-averaged class size caps. That number falls short of the 60 percent threshold for victory, and 39 percent of respondents disapprove of the measure, with 17 percent undecided.

Similarly, a symbolic measure proposed by the Florida Legislature, which would bar state law from compelling participation in health-care plans, polls at just 44 percent support, with 32 percent of respondents disapproving of the measure and 24 percent undecided.

In contrast, Amendment 2, which would provide new property tax benefits to active military personnel, is on track to pass with 71 percent support. Just 19 percent of respondents were against the measure, with 10 percent undecided.

The poll of 625 Florida registered voters was conducted May 3-5 by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research for Ron Sachs Communications. Questions relating to the General Election have a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. The poll also includes an over-sampling of 400 likely Democratic primary voters and 400 likely Republican primary voters who were asked questions relating to the primary election races. These questions have a margin for error of plus or minus 5 percent.

Mason Dixon Line with Ron Sachs from Ron Sachs Communications on Vimeo.

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.

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