Latest poll shows tight races in three Pinellas state House seats

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Pinellas County House Democratic incumbents continue to see robust re-election challenges in November, according to the latest survey by StPetePolls. At the same time, the race for a third open seat has widened by a few points.

In House District 65, Republican first-time candidate Chris Sprowls dipped somewhat in the race against Democratic State Rep. Carl “Z” Zimmerman — 38 to 42% for the incumbent — with 20% undecided.

In April, the race was a virtual tie, with 42% each and 15% undecided.

Sprowls continues to secure substantial GOP support, as well as 11% of the Democratic vote, but Zimmerman is doing better with Republicans, up 3 points to 21%. Independent voters remain split between the two — 38% for Zimmerman and 36% for Sprowls.

HD 65 represents the Pinellas County cities of Tarpon Springs, Dunedin, Palm Harbor and East Lake.

The June 4 study, commissioned by SaintPetersBlog, polled 479 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 4.5 points and 95% confidence level.

House District 68 Democrat Dwight Dudley is still leading first-time Republican candidate Bill Young II, son of the late U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young. Dudley continues with a six-point advantage in the eastern Pinellas County district, receiving 46% versus Young getting nearly 40%, just under 15% undecided.

April’s poll had Dudley with 44%, Young at 39%, and 17% undecided.

Dudley and Young each enjoy strong backing from their base, about 61 points apiece. Dudley fares better with Republicans (27%) than Young does with Democrats (24%). In April, Young received 20% of Democrats, while Dudley took 22% of Republicans.

Independents seem to be falling behind Dudley, with 51% to Young’s 33%; 15% of independents remain undecided.

That survey asked 437 registered voters, with a margin of error of +/- 4.7 points and 95% confidence level.

For the open seat to succeed term-limited Rep. Ed Hooper in House District 67, Chris Latvala, son of state Sen. Jack Latvala, has extended his lead to four points over Democrat radio talk show host Shawna Vercher, 43-39%. Back in April, the spread was 41-40%.

Latvala and Vercher each have firm backing of their respective base voters, each in the high-60s; the Republican is slightly more popular with Democrats (21%) than Vercher is with GOP voters (18%). Independents are also breaking to the first-time GOP candidate — by eight points — Latvala 40% and Vercher 32%.

HD 67 covers parts of Pinellas County including Clearwater, Largo and Pinellas Park.

That survey asked 478 registered voters and has a margin of error of +/- 4.5 points and 95% 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.