Jason Pizzo primed to unseat Daphne Campbell, poll says - Florida Politics

Jason Pizzo primed to unseat Daphne Campbell, poll says

Miami Democratic Sen. Daphne Campbell may end up packing her bags and heading home, wherever home is, as former prosecutor Jason Pizzo takes her spot in Tallahassee.

According to a new survey from St. Pete Polls, conducted Aug. 16, Pizzo leads Campbell by 14 points among Senate District 38’s likely primary election voters, about a third of whom said they were undecided less than two weeks out from the Aug. 28 nominating contest.

Of the 42 percent of voters who said they’d already ticked a box and sent in their ballot, Pizzo led 42-32 percent with 26 percent saying they were “undecided.”

It’s unclear whether being “undecided” and having already voted means those electors left their ballot blank, picked both, drew a picture, filled it out with their eyes closed or are simply suffering from memory loss. No matter the reason, Pizzo looks to have a solid lead in the early vote.

Among those who plan to vote but haven’t yet, Pizzo’s lead balloons to 16 points, 38-22 percent, though undecideds also make up a higher share, with 40 percent saying they were still unsure.

Of note: The two-way primary for SD 38 is one of a handful of primaries statewide that’ll be open to all voters, regardless of party affiliation. Campbell and Pizzo, both Democrats, are the only candidates for the seat and the Florida Constitution allows non-party members to participate in primary races if they will decide the winner of an election.

To that end, Pizzo’s support crosses party lines. He leads 40-26 percent among Democrats, 43-23 percent among Republicans and 39-32 percent among unaffiliated and third-party voters.

Pizzo also demolishes Campbell among white voters, with more than half favoring him compared to just 19 percent for Campbell, and Hispanic voters, who prefer him by a 13-point margin.

Add to that his strong leads among women voters, who prefer him by a 12-point margin, and among men, who favor him over the incumbent 44-28 percent. The Miami Law School grad is can also celebrate what looks to be strong cross-generational support, with his campaign holding double digit leads among millennials, gen xers and boomers. The 70-and-up crowd were only slightly less enthusiastic, preferring him 36-27 percent.

Black voters were the only subset where Campbell was the pick, and it’s not clear yet if that’s a bright spot.

According to census data, SD 38’s voting age population is nearly one-third black, while non-black Hispanic voters make up a 37 percent share and white voters make up 27 percent.

Without enormous turnout, the 42 percent of undecided black voters would need to break strongly in her favor to bolster her current 35-24 lead or she’ll have to make up ground by cutting into Pizzo’s firm leads among white and Hispanic voters.

When it comes to voter outreach in the final stretch, Campbell’s campaign fund is nearly bone dry. As of Aug. 10, she had just $4,260 in the bank. Add on top recent scandals, including touting a false endorsement and calling the police on a Miami Herald reporter covering a public event, and her campaign looks like it’s in freefall rather than surging toward a hard-fought victory.

Pizzo, meanwhile, has juiced his campaign with $300,000 in loans and had nearly $50,000 banked on Aug. 10. In addition to having outspent Campbell by a nearly threefold margin, outside groups are pouring in more support to help him close the deal.

The St. Pete Polls survey took responses from 306 voters within the northern Miami-Dade district. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 5.6 percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level.

Drew Wilson covers legislative campaigns and fundraising for SaintPetersBlog and FloridaPolitics.com. While at the University of Florida, Wilson was an editor at The Independent Florida Alligator and after graduation, he moved to Los Angeles to cover business deals for The Hollywood Reporter. Before joining Extensive Enterprises, Wilson covered the state economy and Legislature for LobbyTools.

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