Poll: Jody Phillips has double-digit lead over Scott Wilson in Duval Clerk’s race

Jody Phillips
Phillips has an 11-point lead over Scott Wilson.

With just eight days before the Republican primary, Jody Phillips has a clear lead over Scott Wilson in the three-way race for the GOP nomination for Clerk of the Court, although more Duval voters are still undecided than are supporting a candidate.

Phillips, the Clerk of Court’s Chief Operating Officer, has the most support at 33%. Wilson, the former City Council President, is in second, but 11 points behind Phillips with 22% support.

Leon Jackson, a current Clerk’s employee, claimed less than 10% support in the poll conducted Aug. 8-9 among 608 likely Duval County Republican voters.

More than 35% of likely Republican voters polled in a St. Pete Polls survey released Monday don’t have a preferred candidate yet.

Even with so many undecided voters, the problem for Wilson is, in Duval County — which is determined to wait until Election Day to make its final decision — he is trailing among those who have yet to cast a ballot.

The winner of the Aug. 18 primary will face Jimmy Midyette in the Nov. 3 general election as he campaigns to become the county’s only countywide elected Democrat.

Phillips leads in most demographics including among White voters, both male and female voters and older voters. Phillips trails Jackson among Black voters with just 8% support compared to 31% for Jackson. However, only 13 Black voters were polled compared to 564 White voters.

The similar is true among young voters with those age 18-29 supporting Jackson over Phillips 25% to 19%, but young voters represent just 16 of the more than 600 responses.

Phillips also trails Wilson in voters ages 30-49 with 20% compared to Wilson’s 23%. That age group accounted for 71 of the overall responses.

The vast majority of those polled were ages 50-69 (294 responses) and 70 and older (227 responses.)

There are several take-aways from the poll results.

The high number of undecided voters is indicative of what is usually a sleepy race. Voters are running to replace incumbent Clerk Ronnie Russell, a Republican, who is not seeking reelection due to term limits.

Phillips’ spending in the race appears to be paying off with a clear lead among his Republican competitors. Phillips has raised more than $133,000 for the race and maintains about $33,000 for the final push.

But while Wilson has raised about $8,000 less, he’s also spent less and has about $28,000 left to spend, putting him on near equal footing with Phillips to try to claim some of the undecided vote, though 11 points is a big gap to fill.

The poll results are also telling for the Republican Party in Duval County as a whole. More than 57% of respondents said they plan to vote in person, while only 14% plan to vote by mail — a sign President Donald Trump’s words of caution about potential vote-by-mail fraud may be resonating among the county’s GOP despite the President also saying Florida’s vote-by-mail process was safe.

Results also show a party lacking in youth and diversity. Only 2% of respondents identified as Black and less than 2% identified as Hispanic.

Less than 3% of respondents were under the age of 30 while 12% were 30-49. Meanwhile, 86% were 50 and older.

The poll, conducted through an automated phone polling system, has a 4% margin of error.

Peter Schorsch

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises Media and is the publisher of FloridaPolitics.com, INFLUENCE Magazine, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. Previous to his publishing efforts, Peter was a political consultant to dozens of congressional and state campaigns, as well as 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. Follow Peter on Twitter @PeterSchorschFL.


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