A poll released Thursday morning by the Public Opinion Research Lab of the University of North Florida shows that Corrine Brown and Al Lawson are running neck and neck in Congressional District 5.
The poll of 400 likely Democratic voters shows Brown leading Lawson 30 percent to 27 percent, well within the 4.9 percent margin of error.
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A full 40 percent of voters are unsure.
The poll separates Duval County Democrats from those west of the county line. Brown is solid in Jacksonville, but support falls off quickly west, where blue-dog Democrats are prominent and Brown’s legendary political machine never operated.
In Duval, Brown leads Lawson 52 percent to 8 percent.
Out west, the numbers are reversed: Lawson leads Brown 40 percent to 14 percent.
CD5 Counties west of Duval include all of Baker, Gadsden, Hamilton, and Madison counties, as well as portions of Columbia, Jefferson, and Leon.
Region matters here, as does race.
“Although all three candidates are black, there are sharp differences in candidate support by race,” said Michael Binder, head of the PORL operation.
“Brown holds a 15 point edge among black voters, and Lawson holds a 19 point advantage among white voters. Interestingly, more than 60 percent of white voters are unsure how they will vote in August. This group could very easily swing the election.”
Brown has an 8 point edge with women; Lawson, a 5 point lead with men.
Binder believes the key to this election may be a matter of each candidate turning out their regional base.
“Getting voters to turn out is going to be crucial. Brown and Lawson have large leads in their home areas. If Brown can mobilize Duval voters, she can win this race. However, if Duval voters don’t turn out in large numbers, Al Lawson has a path to victory.”
The spread tracks with a similar St. Pete Polls survey conducted late April showing Brown ahead of Lawson 42 to 37 percent.