Two new surveys of the race in Florida’s 13th Congressional District show the volatility of the just-formed match between Republican incumbent David Jolly and his Democratic challenger, Charlie Crist.
A private poll conducted for the Crist campaign by Public Policy Polling survey shows Crist leading Jolly, 46 to 43 percent.
The only previous public survey conducted by St. Pete Polls showed the race in a dead heat, with the candidates tied at 44 percent.
The McLaughlin & Associates survey also shows that while Jolly has an extremely favorable/unfavorable rating of 46/13 percent, Crist is underwater, with 37 percent favorable and 41 percent unfavorable.
“David Jolly is well-positioned to win this race,” write pollsters Jim McLaughlin and Rob Schmidt in a memo. “Jolly is quite popular with voters and he has significantly higher favorable ratings than Charlie Crist. Even though this seat has become somewhat more Democratic, David Jolly appears to be the best candidate to keep this seat in Republican hand.”
All these published surveys upend the narrative that the district was impossible for a Republican to win after the Florida Supreme Court ruled last summer the district was one of eight drawn up in violation of the Florida Constitution in 2012. While CD 13 previously was a slightly leaning Democratic district, the newly drawn district makes it much more Democratic-friendly.
Jolly announced Friday that was dropping out of the race for U.S. Senate, and would run again for re-election in CD 13, now against Crist, who announced his candidacy last fall. Democrats tried to downplay the announcement, citing statistics about how well Democrats have done in the district in recent years. They mentioned how Barack Obama won the newly drawn up district by 11 points in 2012, and Bill Nelson won it by 26 points over Connie Mack the same year.
But that may not hurt Jolly, who won a special election in March of 2014 to succeed his former boss, the late C.W. Bill Young, a Republican who held the seat for more than four decades.
The PPP survey was taken of 1,030 voters in CD 13 on June 6 and 7.
McLaughlin & Associates conducted a survey of 400 registered voters in Florida’s 13th Congressional District on June 1 and 2. It has an accuracy of plus-or-minus 4.9 percent at a 95 percent confidence interval.