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Poll gives Duval’s political leaders high job approval numbers

Jacksonville’s City Hall has been a cauldron of discontent in recent months; as recently as Tuesday, the Mayor and the City Council President were trading barbs about a priority piece of legislation the Council President opposed.

Despite the fissure between the city’s chief executive and lead legislator, city leaders are polling pretty well, per University of North Florida pollster Michael Binder.

“All of Duval’s political leaders have extremely high job approval numbers,” said Binder. “Contrast this level of satisfaction with what’s happening in Washington right now, and downtown looks like a political paradise.”

Whether Downtown Jacksonville is anyone’s idea of paradise is a matter of interpretation; however, even by the favorable light of UNF polling, it seems that Mayor Lenny Curry, Sheriff Mike Williams, State Attorney Melissa Nelson, and Public Defender Charles Cofer will sail to re-election.

Curry’s numbers, per the poll, are particularly sky-high.

Of the 512 registered Duval voters polled by live dial between Oct. 2 and 4, Curry has 69 percent approval against 13 percent disapproval.

For Democrats who may be looking to run against the Republican Mayor once dissed as a “party boss,” consider this: even among registered Democrats, Curry has a 57 percent approval rating.

Curry does well with all ethnic demographics: 74 percent approval with white voters, 59 percent with African-American voters, and 64 percent with Hispanics.

Sheriff Williams is likewise strongly positioned ahead of his inevitable 2019 run for re-election. The first-term Republican Sheriff has 67 percent approval — and 60 percent approval among Democrats.

Williams also has broad appeal in all ethnic groups; his worst performance in the survey is 54 percent with African-American voters.

Neither Williams nor Curry have filed for re-election, but they both have active political committees (“A Safe Jacksonville” and “Build Something that Lasts” respectively).

Though State Attorney Nelson and Public Defender Cofer don’t face voters until 2020, the two first-term Republicans’ numbers might prove encouraging.

Nelson has a 55 percent approval rating, and 13 percent disapproval; Cofer has a 36 percent approval rating, and 14 percent disapproval.

Moving beyond the executive level, the UNF survey also bodes well for the Jacksonville City Council, yet somewhat less well for the Council Presidency of Brosche.

The Council enjoys 50 percent approval against 26 percent disapproval, per the poll.

Brosche, a first-term at-large Republican Councilwoman, has 29 percent approval and 20 percent disapproval. Her main publicity since assuming the gavel in July: a controversial proposal to remove Confederate monuments from city-owned property.

Brosche, interestingly, is underwater with members of her own party, with 20 percent approval among Republicans, against 24 percent disapproval.

Written By

A.G. Gancarski has been a correspondent for since 2014. In 2018, he was a finalist for an Association of Alternative Newsweeklies "best political column." He can be reached at

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