Second poll of CD 13 finds David Jolly leading tight three-way race

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In the second poll in as many days, David Jolly holds on to lead a tight three-way primary to replace the late GOP congressman (and his former boss) Rep. C.W. Bill Young,

A Jan. 8 Human Events/Gravis poll surveyed 976 registered Republicans in Florida’s Congressional District 13 ahead of the Jan. 14 primary on their preference, as well as several other issues

Young, who died Oct. 18 at Walter Reed Medical Center had represented the St. Petersburg region since 1970.

The two Republican candidates facing Jolly — state Rep. Kathleen Peters and retired Marine Brig. Gen. Mark Bircher — remain within striking distance, Doug Kaplan tells Neil McCabe of Kaplan is president of Gravis, the Florida-based polling and marketing company conducting the study.

According to their poll, Jolly leads with 34 percent, Peters with 28 percent and Bircher 25 percent. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3 percent.

The Gravis poll comes on the heels of a final CD 13 survey conducted by StPetePolls for this blog, which puts the competition between Jolly and Bircher, as opposed to a three-way or Jolly/Peters matchup.

Among CD 13 Republican voters who have already cast ballots, or saying they intend to vote on or before Tuesday’s primary, Jolly receives 37 percent of the vote, Bircher is second at 26 percent, with Peters trailing at 24 percent. Fourteen percent of voters say they are still undecided.

Jolly’s position in the polls seems safe, Peters look as if to be slipping, and Bircher is surging. Ten days prior, Jolly was at 39 percent, Peters 28 percent, and Bircher 18 percent.

These recent numbers portray a dramatic shift from a poll taken last month, showing the race deadlocked between Jolly and Peters

Mark Zubaly, Peters’ campaign manager, knows exactly how close the CD 13 race is.

“I think the campaign is going well,” Zubaly tells “Due to the compression of this special election we have no doubt the primary will be tight.”

Each of the CD 13 GOP candidates received high-profile endorsements. Bircher has the support of fellow Iraq War veteran and former Rep. Allen West.

Peters has the backing of Bill Young II, the congressman’s son, as Beverly Young, Bill Jr.’s mother and the late congressman’s second wife, has actively endorsed Jolly.

The general election is on March 11.

The cost of running in the CD 13 race with a party affiliation is $10,440; without party affiliation, the price is $6,960. Candidates must also collect 1,172 petition signatures to be on the ballot.

With respondents who had early-voted, Peters leads with 52 percent, Jolly gets 31 percent and Bircher 17 percent. Early voting is through Jan. 12 for the primary and for March 1-9 for the general election.

Former gubernatorial candidate Democrat Alex Sink has run unopposed in her party’s primary.

In addition to the CD 13 race, Republicans were asked their opinions of various issues:

  • More than three quarters of respondents (78 percent) say they oppose amnesty for illegal aliens, while only 13 percent support it and 6 percent are undecided.
  • More than half — 54 percent — are against ordering mothers serving in the military into combat zones. Only 31 percent supports the idea.
  • Just under half — 49 percent — do not agree that the federal government should approve firearm transactions before completion; only 29 percent agree.
  • As for the federal government regulating video games with gun scenarios, 54 percent say they are opposed, and 26 percent support it. 

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.