Jeff Greene joins Gwen Graham atop Democratic primary field, new poll shows; Philip Levine slips to third

greene, jeff - at fdp gala

There is a new front-runner in the Democratic primary for Florida governor. Well, more like a new co-front-runner.

Billionaire Jeff Greene, who joined the race just last month, has rocketed into first place, according to a new survey from St. Pete Polls and commissioned by Florida Politics.

Greene is at 21.6 percent — a tenth of a percentage point higher than former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham. 

“This poll confirms what I’ve seen firsthand campaigning across the state: Voters are sick and tired of politicians making false promises, and want to see a leader who can produce results,” said Greene in a statement. “The Democratic base is clearly looking for someone who can win in November and take on Trump, and Tallahassee Republicans in defense of Florida’s families.

“These results are exciting, but as we continue to reach voters from Key West to Pensacola, and Tampa to Titusville, I want folks to know one thing: We’re just getting started,” Greene added.

Former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who has already spent millions of his own money on a barrage of TV ads and who has been the leader in other recent polls, is in third place at 19.4 percent.

The poll does not have good results for Andrew Gillum, who, in recent weeks, seemed to be gathering momentum just as thousands of ballots are being mailed to overseas and early voters. The Tallahassee Mayor has seen his campaign account infused with the financial support of billionaires Tom Steyer and George Soros, among others. Gillum is in fourth place in this poll at 10 percent.

Far off the field is Orlando entrepreneur Chris King, who has also been up on TV and has earned kudos, even from his opponents, for his smart policy positions. He’s at 3 percent.

Of course, the true leader in this poll remains “Undecided,” as one in four Democratic voters do not yet know who they will vote for in the primary.

With three candidates within two points of each other and a fourth (Gillum) with a natural base that represents a large swath of the Democratic Party, the race is anyone’s to win.

Powering Greene’s lead is high favorable-to-unfavorable ratio with respondents. He’s at 45/16, just as Graham is at 43/13. Interestingly, Levine has the best favorable rating at 49/14.

The fundamental weakness of Gillum’s campaign to-date — that he hasn’t had the resources to introduce himself statewide — is apparent in the fave/unfave numbers. Sixty-one percent of Democratic primary voters are unsure how they feel about Gillum, the highest number of the field.

King’s favorable ratings remain an enigma. As with other surveys from different shops, King is upside down at 15/18. This really doesn’t make sense. As Democratic consultant and Gillum advisor Kevin Cate has noted on Twitter, King, while relatively unknown, is probably the most affable candidate in the field, with a beautiful family and a storybook career. There’s no reason not to like this guy, yet Democratic primary voters seem not to.

Further breaking down the poll’s numbers, it’s clear where Greene is winning — and why Graham and Gillum should be worried.

Greene has a slight lead over Graham with female voters — 22 to 21 percent. Graham, the only woman in the field, has made women’s issues central to her campaign.

Likewise, Greene is winning with black voters, capturing 23 percent of this demographic. Levine is actually second here, while Gillum is third. This might suggest that too many black voters, traditionally loyal to one of their own, don’t know enough about Gillum.

The St. Pete Polls survey was conducted July 14-15 and includes only responses from those voters who said they were planning on casting a ballot. The poll has a sample size of 1,314 providing a 2.7 percent margin of error at a 95 percent confidence level.

Peter Schorsch

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.


  • Erik Fortin

    July 16, 2018 at 10:07 am

    Jeff Greene is a dirt bag ! He ripped my company off for $8,000 in 2012. I was struggling to start a new business and had the misfortune to work for this man on his historical post office project in west palm beach. he refused to pay me, and every contractor on the job. He is a true monster !!

    • Jim Jeffords

      July 17, 2018 at 7:17 pm

      Do you happen to be Vlad Putin? I’ll bet you even voted for that dirt bag Trump because he ripped off contractors too.

  • dr3yec

    July 16, 2018 at 10:32 am

    The Democrat party is not the party of tolerance. It is not the party of acceptance. It is the party of intolerance. It is the party of closed doors, but open borders. It is the party of judgement. It is the party of identity politics.

    • Johanna

      July 22, 2018 at 3:43 pm

      Why would you be commenting on the Democratic primary candidates. Tell your story to Republicans. We are voting BLUE.

  • JJ

    July 16, 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Loool at comments above. The blue wave is coming, boys. Time for for the old white politics to leave room for some common sense, futureproof politics.

  • Domino

    July 16, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    Geoff Burgan just announced that St. Pete Polls wafted through Gillum’s campaign HQ, “like a warm fart through a cold building.”

    Kevin Cate was seen opening a window.

  • S.E.M.

    July 17, 2018 at 8:20 am

    I welcome Jeff Greene !!!!

  • CEB

    July 17, 2018 at 5:53 pm

    I just saw a Jeff Greene campaign ad. I usually turn the channel immediately so I don’t have to listen to this garbage. He made a comment that a visit from President Trump cost millions of dollars and the picture showed a closed road. He indicated that this wouldn’t happen if he was governor. What an idiot !!!! whenever a President visits, roads are closed, delays are caused and it costs a lot of money. Typical campaign ad – half truths and lies. What an idiot!!

    • Jim Jeffords

      July 18, 2018 at 12:45 pm

      Trump is totally wasting Fl. and U.S. taxpayer money. He’s on the road and golfing more than he is in the WH. I think Jeff will put a stop to Fl. footing the bills and will bill the federal govt. So, in that sense he will put a stop to it.

  • Donna Kopenhaver

    July 17, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    I have yet to see a TV AD Gillum. I did see a debate on local news & I liked what I heard. BUT.. I’ve every other ad.. what’s the problem? He has a couple of backers now w/$$$. So bring on the ADs before it’s too late!!

  • Jaime Wlodarski

    July 17, 2018 at 8:04 pm

    Youve have made it clear to me who Im Voting for! Qdam Putman

  • Donna Bryan

    July 19, 2018 at 8:10 am

    I think King is so unfavorable because he endorses Gillium alot I have seen his debates and he talks a lot about how good Gillium I personally do not think he is in it to win it but really in there to endorse Gillium to win but overall I think Gwen Graham will take it she is the only one who has already run and won against Republicans and Levine although has done good work much of what he did in Miami was unenforceable so it doesn’t count its great ideas but if you cant make it into law and enforceable its a waste of energy, time and money

Comments are closed.


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