Republican Chris Sprowls closes gap with Democrat Carl Zimmerman in HD 65 race

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Republican Chris Sprowls has closed the gap to a single-percentage point in the race against Democratic State Rep. Carl “Z” Zimmerman for House District 65.

In the most recent StPetePolls survey of likely voters, the first-time candidate trails Zimmerman by a 45-44 percent margin — with more than 11 percent undecided – in the district covering the cities of Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Palm Harbor and East Lake.

Compare that to the four-point gap found in a similar poll in June, where Sprowls was behind 38-42 percent and nearly 20 percent undecided.

The July 14 survey, commissioned by SaintPetersBlog, also found strong partisan support for each candidate, with 79 percent of Democrats breaking for the incumbent and more than 72 percent of Republicans backing Sprowls. Independents lean slightly to Zimmerman, by 51-36 percent. Republicans seem to prefer Zimmerman (with 16 percent) slightly more than Democrats favor Sprowls (11 percent).

Both trends could be a result of somewhat lower name recognition for Sprowls, a political newcomer, something sure to change as the campaign rolls on to November.

As for Florida’s governor’s race, incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott holds a slight, two-point lead over expected Democratic candidate Charlie Crist with the voters of District 65. Scott gets around 45 percent of likely voters, versus a little under 43 percent for former Gov. Crist. Those numbers are well within the polls’ +/- 4.4 percent margin of error.

Libertarian Adrian Wyllie also receives just over 5 percent, while “Someone Else” gets slightly under 5 percent. Three percent of those polled are undecided.

Florida Constitutional Amendment 2, the proposed legalization of medical marijuana, continues to receive strong support in HD 65, by a margin of 69-25 percent, which is more than the required 60 percent approval for the measure to pass. Just under 6 percent of likely voters say they are undecided.

StPetePolls randomly selected survey respondents within registered voters of HD 65, with only those voters saying they were planning to vote included in the results. The sample size was 498, with a +/- 4.4 percent margin of error at 95 percent 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.