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Rep. Jimmy Patronis, R-Panama City, a Florida State graduate, does "The Chop" after Gov. Rick Scott mentions the school's football national championship during the State of the State speech Tuesday, March 4, 2014 on the floor of the House of Representatives at the Capitol in Tallahassee, Fla. The 2014 Florida legislative session starts today. (AP Photo/Phil Sears)


Jimmy Patronis leads Jeremy Ring in Florida Chamber poll

If today were Election Day, CFO Jimmy Patronis would defeat former Democratic state Sen. Jeremy Ring to win a full term on the job.

According to a new poll commissioned by the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Patronis leads Ring 40-31 among likely voters and newly registered voters statewide. The Florida Chamber endorsed Patronis last month.

Like the recent polls in Tampa Bay’s three battleground Senate districts, much of the gap between the two pols is attributable to Patronis’ strong support among GOP voters and Ring’s middling support among his base.

Patronis, who was appointed to the Cabinet post by Gov. Rick Scott last year, was the pick for three-quarters of likely Republican voters while only 5 percent said they would cross the aisle and vote for Ring. Conversely, the Margate Democrat received just 57 percent support from his base, while 28 percent said they were undecided and eight said they planned to vote for Patronis.

Ring held a slight lead among unaffiliated and third-party voters, 27-26, with the remainder undecided.

Eric Johnson, an adviser to the Ring campaign, isn’t buying the lack of party loyalty on the Democratic side.

“This an embarrassing poll from an organization that has endorsed Jimmy Patronis. Any democratic candidate will get more of their party vote than that in today’s partisan environment. If they are counting on Ring to get only 57 percent of Democrats on Election Day then Patronis is going to lose in a landslide,” he said.

If that lack of enthusiasm among Democratic voters does exist, it certainly isn’t unique to Ring.

Another of the poll’s questions measured voters feelings on the state of the state, and while half of Democrats said Florida was on the “wrong track,” 29 percent said it was headed in the “right direction.” Republican voters were overwhelmingly in the “right direction” camp, 77-11.

The live interview telephone poll was conducted by Cherry Communications May 25 to June 4. It took responses from 605 Floridians — 249 Democrats, 237 Republicans and 119 other party or NPA voters — and has a margin of error of +/-4 percent.

The Florida Chamber said it expects half of the state’s 12.9 million registered voters to show up at the polls Nov. 6. That would be similar to 2014, the last midterm election, when 51 percent of voters cast a general election ballot.

Written By

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for Florida Politics. He is a former editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and business correspondent at The Hollywood Reporter. Wilson, a University of Florida alumnus, covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools and The Florida Current prior to joining Florida Politics.

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