Rene Plasencia takes double-digit lead over Rep. Joe Saunders in HD 49

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With less than a week until Nov. 4, Republican Rene “Coach P” Plasencia has taken a solid, double digit lead against Democratic incumbent state Rep. Joe Saunders in House District 49, according to a new survey from StPetePolls.

In a poll of 323 likely voters taken Oct. 28, Plasencia, a popular Colonial High School track coach, enjoys a 13-point advantage over Saunders, 54 to 41 percent. Just under five percent are undecided.

HD 49 is a borderline Democratic district covering the area between Lake Pickett and Semoran Boulevard and Colonial Drive to the Seminole County line.

Plasencia has both the backing of Republican voters (86 percent) and a majority of independents (55 percent), as well as nearly 20 percent of Democrats. Saunders gets 74 percent of the Democratic base, 12 percent of Republicans and just 38 percent of independents.

Commissioned by SaintPetersBlog, the survey used an automated phone call polling system for random HD 49 voters, with results weighted to reflect the demographics of the active voter population based on 2010 voter turnout models. Other demographics used were political party, race, age and gender.

StPetePolls chief Matt Florell says the survey represents a “best-case scenario” for Republicans, and is subject to change based on the increased Democratic efforts to boost turnout.

“I don’t think turnout is really going to be that slanted in the end,” he adds.

In the governor’s race, HD 49 voters also gave incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott a six-point lead against Democratic candidate Charlie Crist, a margin of 48 to 42 percent. Libertarian Adrian Wyllie took 7 percent, and just over three percent of respondents say they are undecided.

Only those voters that said they were planning to vote and who voted in the 2010 or 2012 general elections were included in the results.

Results have a 5.5 percent margin of error at a 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 His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, 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 and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.