Poll gives Democrat Maria Sachs a 14-point lead over Ellyn Bogdanoff in SD 34

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Former state Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff has her work ahead of her in a rematch with Sen. Maria Sachs for Senate District 34, according to a new survey from StPetePolls.

Bogdanoff, a Fort Lauderdale Republican, received 39 percent of likely voters, while the Democrat took nearly 51 percent. Less than 11 percent of respondents are undecided.

Redistricting in 2012 put Bogdanoff and Sachs, both in the Legislature at the time, squaring off in the same district to represent Broward and Palm Beach Counties. Sachs won by six points in one of the most expensive and contentious campaigns — the only in the election cycle featuring two incumbent state Senators.

This year’s race is being carefully monitored in the Florida Senate, especially by Clearwater Republican Sen. Jack Latvala, who is counting on Bogdanoff to become the tie-breaker in his race against Sen. Joe Negron for Senate president in 2016.

Successful polling rests on gathering the right proportions of voters as they occur in the district. As of July 6, Senate District 34 — a Democratic-leaning region – has a registered voter breakdown of 40 percent Democrat, 31 percent Republican and 29 percent independent.

The July 10 poll, commissioned by SaintPetersBlog, sampled 45 percent Democratic, 35 percent Republican and 20 percent independent.

The survey deliberately kept the partisan ratio to within a single point of actual registered D-to-R numbers, says Matt Florell of StPetePolls, adding that he took a slightly lower percentage of independent voters.

“We almost always under sample Independents,” Florell says in an email, “but they always vote at lower levels, so it works out.”

Former Gov. Charlie Crist is also doing well with voters in SD 34, not surprising due to the political tendencies of the district. The likely Democratic nominee for governor received a 14-point advantage over incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott, 49-35 percent. Libertarian candidate Adrian Wyllie received 4 percent of the vote, while “Someone Else” received just under 8 percent – presumably a nod to liberal former Sen. Nan Rich, who hails from nearby Weston.

A little over 5 percent of respondents were undecided.

As for Amendment 2, allowing the use of marijuana for treatment of debilitating medical conditions, voters are in favor by a 70-25 percent margin. Amendment 2 needs 60 percent voter approval in November to pass.

StPetePolls chose voters at random within the registered voter population of Senate District 34. Only those voters resounding that they were planning to vote were included in the results.

Scientific results of the survey were for a sample size of 417 likely voters, having +/- 4.8 percent margin of error and 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.