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Ed Montanari shows healthy lead in St. Pete City Council re-election bid

Montanari leads in almost every demographic.

A St. Pete Polls survey released Monday shows St. Pete City Council member Ed Montanari with a healthy lead over his competition.

In a survey conducted July 17-19, Montanari leads his two challengersOrlando Acosta and Zac Collins — with 33 percent compared to Acosta’s 15.5 percent.

Collins claimed just 7.5 percent support in the polls, indicating a likely general election matchup between Montanari and Acosta. 

More than 44 percent of respondents were still undecided. 

Voters were asked who they would vote for in the primary election next month. Montanari is the only Republican in the race, which shows in his polling support from conservatives. 

Republican respondents favored Montanari over Acosta 42 percent to 9 percent, with 42 percent undecided. Republican voters made up the majority of survey respondents with 105 responses. Only 68 Democrats and 35 independent voters were polled.

Democrats were more likely to favor Acosta, but Montanari still has an edge with 28 percent compared to Acosta’s 16 percent. Democrats are also more undecided than Republicans with more than 54 percent saying they hadn’t chosen a preferred candidate yet. 

Acosta actually performed the best among independent voters with nearly 26 percent support compared to Montanari’s 23 percent. Collins also performed the best in the survey among independent voters with more than 17 percent support.

Young voters in the race are overwhelmingly more engaged, according to survey results. Only 28 percent of that demographic indicated they were still undecided. 

Montanari leads every age demographic. Among voters 18 to 20, Montanari has nearly 56 percent support with Acosta claiming just 11 percent. 

Collins only broke double-digit support in four demographics. Among those, only two demographics had a significant response. 

The survey lacked racial diversity: 196 of the 208 survey responses were from white, non-Hispanic voters. Only two black, non-hispanic voters, three Asian or Pacific Islander voters and three Hispanic voters were polled. Four respondents indicated unknown or other for their race. 

The primary election is Aug. 27.  The top two vote-getters will face off in the Nov. 5 general election. 

Montanari is the District 3 incumbent representing parts of northeast St. Pete. 

St. Pete Polls conducted the survey independently. It has a 6.8 percent margin of error.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in the Tampa Bay area since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as the sole staff reporter for WMNF News and previously covered news for and various local neighborhood newsletters. Her work has been featured in the New York Daily News, Free Speech Radio News and Florida Public Radio and she's been interviewed by radio stations across the nation for her coverage of the 2012 Republican National Convention. Janelle is a die-hard news junkie who isn't afraid to take on big names in local politics, including Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn, the dirty business of trash and recycling in St. Pete and contentious issues surrounding transit. Her work as a reporter and radio host has earned her two WMNF awards including News Volunteer of the Year and Public Affairs Volunteer of the Year. Janelle is also a devoted wife and mother to three brilliant and beautiful daughters who are a constant source of inspiration and occasional blogging fodder.

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