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Poll: Philip Levine maintains lead among Tampa Bay Democrats

Another month, another poll, another win trumpeted by Philip Levine’s gubernatorial campaign.

A Public Policy Polling survey, released first to Florida Politics, again shows the former mayor of Miami Beach  atop the primary field among Tampa Bay Democrats. The poll was commissioned by Levine’s senior adviser, Christian Ulvert.

He’s the pick for a full third of voters, while his three rivals combine to 32 percent support. Former Congresswoman Gwen Graham accounts for most of that at 19 percent, followed by Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum at 8 percent and Orlando-area businessman Chris King at 5 percent.

At 35 percent, “unsure” reign as the top choice for likely voters remains unbroken, though the share has shrunk by a few points since the last Tampa Bay poll, which showed Levine polling at 32 percent followed by Graham at 18 percent.

The survey showed the South Florida Democrat firmly in the No. 1 spot among men and women, young and old, and in each of the five counties surveyed – Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota and Pasco. Graham, was the No. 2 pick in all categories and Gillum was firmly in third. Despite a few ties with King in the crosstabs, he never slipped to the back of the pack.

Though the top-of-page results are nearly identical to last month’s edition, there were some gains that’ll be met with glee at Levine’s headquarters, none more so than name recognition.

As of mid-May, 54 percent of Tampa Bay Democrats have now heard enough about Levine to form an opinion – a 6-point gain from the last poll – and he’s seen in a favorable light by a margin of 45-8. That puts him 17 points ahead of Graham in name recognition and in another league from Gillum and King.

The same number of respondents indicated they’d see one of Levine’s TV commercials, an 8-point gain. Among those who had, he scored plus-53 in favorability, 61-8. That’s certain to be seen as a good return on Levine’s “investments,” which have shown no sign of slowing down, and have little reason to with the Aug. 28 primary fast approaching.

Graham polled 30-7 in the favorability measure, with 63 percent unsure about the North Florida Democrat. Gillum followed at 16-7 and King continued to be the least-known of the four major Democrats, earning a neutral favorability score with 86 percent of Tampa Bay Democrats unsure of their opinion or unaware of his candidacy.

Hillsborough County and Pinellas County were each home to a third of those polled, while the remaining 33 percent was split between Manatee, Pasco and Sarasota.

The age breakdown showed 49 percent of respondents in the 65-and-up bracket, 40 percent between 45 and 65, and 12 percent aged 18 to 45. The race breakdown showed 69 percent of those polled were white, 16 percent were black and 10 percent were Hispanic or Latino. The gender split was 57-43, with women in the majority.

Levine’s support peaked among young voters and men. Graham’s No. 2 showing put her behind Levine by 17 points among women, 11 points among men, 20 points among younger voters, and 13 points among middle-aged and older voters.

Levine’s results breached 40 percent in Manatee and came in only a point lower in Sarasota. He beat his 33 percent overall score by a point in Pasco, too. Still, those counties combined have 50,000 fewer registered Democrats than Hillsborough, which produced his weakest (though still leading) showing in the five-county area.

Pinellas was by far the best county for Graham. The 25 percent share she earned there was 8 points ahead of her results in Hillsborough, her next-best county.

Gillum broke double digits in Hillsborough and Pasco, while only 5 percent of Pinellas voters backed him; King hovered around 5 percent in all but Manatee, where his support came in at 1 percent. Gillum and King supporters tended to be middle-aged, with Gillum polling a few points higher with men than women. King’s backers were twice as likely to be women.

The PPP poll contacted 581 likely Democratic voters by phone on May 15 and 16.

Written By

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including Florida Politics and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Schorsch is also the publisher of INFLUENCE Magazine. For several years, Peter's blog was ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch

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