In the 18 years I’ve been conducting or sponsoring political polling, I can’t recall reading survey results as decisive as what follows.
In our best estimate of what Florida’s redrawn 13th Congressional District will look like, former Gov. Charlie Crist is leading his possible Democratic primary opponents by more than 60 points, according to a new survey from St. Pete Polls.
In a three-way match-up of the Democratic candidates who have expressed the most interest in running in the redrawn CD 13, Crist receives 73 percent of respondents’ support, while Eric Lynn, the only declared candidate in the race, takes 10 percent and state Rep. Dwight Dudley gets 8 percent.
In a heads-up match-up between Crist and Lynn, it’s Crist 75 percent, Lynn 12 percent.
Buoying Crist is a stratospheric approval rating: Crist is at 75 percent favorable/15 percent unfavorable. By comparison, Lynn is at 23/18 and Dudley is at 27/17.
The Florida Supreme Court declared earlier this month that a total of eight congressional districts need to be redrawn, after they declared that they had been gerrymandered by the Florida Legislature in 2012, in violation of the Fair District constitutional amendments passed by the voters in 2010. Two of those districts reside in the Tampa Bay area.
Earlier this week, Crist gave the most explicit statement to date that he will run for the CD 13 seat being vacated by David Jolly.
In a tweet, Crist wrote, “If the new congressional map includes my home, I intend on running to serve the people again.” The tweet included a photo of Crist engaging an African-American couple in a discussion.
Crist lives in Bayfront Tower, a waterfront condo located in the heart of downtown St. Petersburg. Currently that part of the city is included in Kathy Castor’s 14 Congressional District, but the Florida Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that Castor’s district should not extend across Tampa Bay, resulting in what will likely be a much more Democratic-oriented voting district in CD 13.
To conduct this survey, St. Pete Polls forecasted what this seat will likely look like.
“Because of the wording in the court’s ruling,” explains Matt Florell of St. Pete Polls, “we concluded that district boundaries can’t cross long bridges as the only point of connection with the rest of the district anymore, which make Pinellas County a lot easier to map given it’s geography and population.”
Continues Florell, “Taking the entire population from the 14th Congressional district at the Southern end of the Pinellas County peninsula and adding it to the existing 13th Congressional district means that we have to remove roughly the same amount of residents from the Northern end of the district. We decided to do this in the most compact and even way possible, and we ended up with the map that you see here.
The poll was conducted July 21 — after Crist made his announcement — and has a margin of error of +/- 3.8 percent.
Reporting from Mitch Perry contributed to this post.