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Amanda Makki is one of the GOP candidates backing term limits. Image via Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans


Poll: Amanda Makki now far-away leader in CD 13 GOP primary

All of the candidates are struggling with voter recognition.

Amanda Makki is leading the Republican primary for Florida’s 13th Congressional District, according to a new survey from St. Pete Polls.

Makki leads in two metrics — both who voters would vote for if the election were held right now and in favorability.

Asked who they would vote for 28% indicated Makki. The next closest candidate in the five-way field is George Buck with just 21%. Anna Paulina Luna follows with 13%. No other candidate had more than 10% support. In fact, former attorney Sheila Griffin polled at just 4% political newcomer Sharon Newby at just 2%.

There’s still room for growth for the top tier candidates with 33% of respondents indicating they were still unsure.

Of those polled, nearly 90% said they were “absolutely certain” they would vote in the primary with another nearly 7% saying it was likely they would vote.

The high undecided rate is likely fueled by the candidates’ being relatively unknown among voters.

More than half of all respondents said they didn’t know enough about or had never heard of every single candidate in the race to determine whether or not the candidate was favorable.

Makki had the highest favorability rating at 42% and only 8% said she was unfavorable. But 46% said they didn’t know enough about her. Another 4% had never heard of her.

The rest of the pack performed far worse with their connection to voters.

Buck again came in a distant second with a 28% favorability rating compared to just 10% unfavorable. But 60% said they didn’t know enough about him and 3% had never heard of him.

Paulina Luna was even further back with more than 70% of voters polled indicating they didn’t know enough about her (65%) or had never heard of her (6%).

While she polled third in both overall voting intentions and favorability, she came in second to last voter familiarity, with only Newby having more voters who had never heard of her, and dead. Last in her unfavorable rating, the only candidate to have more than 10% of voters indicate they didn’t like the candidate.

That’s a shocking metric considering Paulina Luna has looked like Makki’s most significant competition, aggressively targeting voters and seeking the Trump-arm of the party.

It’s a strategy that, on paper, should work. Among the same voters polled, 87.7% found President Donald Trump favorable, with only 11% indicating the opposite. Only 2% said they didn’t know enough about Trump to form a decision and the number of those who had not heard of them was statistically insignificant at just 0.3%.

Griffin and Newby are non-starters, according to the latest poll. Griffin’s favorability rating was just 11% and Newby’s failed to even crack 10%, at 9%.

The poll’s demographic breakdowns also reveal some telling information about the Republican Party in general, though would probably shock few.

Of the 558 registered Republican voters polled, 510 were white and 477 were 50 and above, lending credence to the notion the GOP is saturated with older white voters. Only 15 respondents were between 18 and 29 and 66 were 30 to 49.

The winner of the GOP primary will take on Democratic incumbent Charlie Crist in the November 3 general election.

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at

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