A straw poll released Thursday by the Sarasota County Democratic Party shows strong support for Michael Bloomberg and Pete Buttigieg. Results come weeks ahead of Florida’s March 17 Presidential Preference Primary.
That’s a major shift from when party leaders polled members just a few weeks ago, when former Vice President Joe Biden dominated. Now, Biden is barely on the radar.
Kevin Griffith, vice chair for the county Democratic Executive Committee, said a straw poll was taken Wednesday night at a regular meeting. He released the results on Twitter.
The poll, taken among 90 precinct captains in Sarasota County, shows support for the two former Mayors surging in Southwest Florida. Bloomberg, former New York City Mayor, and Buttigieg, former South Bend, Ind. Mayr, tied atop the poll with 26% each.
Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar came in third in the poll with 22%. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, came in fourth with 14%.
Biden this time polled in single digits, at 9%, followed by Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren with 3%.
But the party just two weeks ago polled party regulars at the opening of a South Sarasota County office for the party. At that time, Biden received 34% of the vote.
Then, Klobuchar was in second with 14%, with Buttigieg and Warren closely behind with 13%.
Bloomberg then showed up with less than 12%, while Sanders was at 7%.
Colorado Sen. Michael Bennett and California billionaire Tom Steyer both showed up with 3% at the time, and entrepreneur Andrew Yang received a single vote.
Since that time, Bennett and Yang have both dropped out after failing to win much support in Iowa or New Hampshire.
Results for the nations first primary and caucus seem to have hurt Biden and Warren in standings as well. Warren came in third in Iowa, but a disappointing fourth in New Hampshire, adjacent to her own state. Biden came in fourth in Iowa and fifth in New Hampshire.
The straw poll hardly represents a scientific survey, which Griffith acknowledges.
Undoubtedly, the massive infusion of TV marketing on Bloomberg’s part helped lift his candidacy in the region, and Buttigieg’s first-place finish in Iowa and runner-up position in New Hampshire also seem to have generated enthusiasm and buzz.