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Julie Jenkins leads Jackie Toledo six points in potential bellwether HD 60 matchup

The district shows President Donald Trump may be dragging down ballot Republicans.

Signaling a tight race and a potential upset, Democrat Julie Jenkins leads incumbent Republican Rep. Jackie Toledo by six points in a new poll.

A St. Pete Polls survey among 466 likely HD 60 voters showed Jenkins leading outside the margin of error 48% to 42% with 10% undecided.

It’s a remarkable shift in a district Toledo won in 2018 by four points and in 2016 by 14 points and where Republicans carry 37% of registered voters compared to just 33.5% for Democrats.

The poll suggests what Democrats have been hoping — that President Donald Trump would negatively affect down-ballot races — is happening.

Trump narrowly claimed the district over Hillary Clinton in 2016 by less than a point, but is far behind former Vice President Joe Biden in the latest poll by seven points, with Biden claiming 51% of the vote to Trump’s 44%. Only 3% of voters are undecided in the district while only 1% plan to vote third party.

Likewise, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ job approval is down in the district with 47% disapproving of his job performance and only 44% approving. DeSantis carried the district in 2018 by less than half a point over Andrew Gillum.

Demographic breakdowns also show a potential disenchantment with Republican candidates, with Jenkins claiming more cross party votes than Toledo. While Toledo received support from less than 11% of Democrats, Jenkins earned support from more than 21% of Republicans.

The poll surveyed more Republicans than Democrats, 186 to 167, respectively.

Jenkins also leads among independent voters 47% to 42.5%.

Toledo leads among White voters 44% to 46%; Asian or Pacific Islanders 60% to 40% and Hispanic voters 45% to 38%. Jenkins leads among Black voters 78% to 12.5%. White voters made up the majority of those polled with 354 responses.

Jenkins leads significantly among male voters 51% to 42%, but only narrowly among women voters, 44% to 43%.

Jenkins’ lead comes despite a significant funding disadvantage. As of Sept. 4 Toledo had raised nearly $378,000 with another nearly $33,000 in support, mostly from the Republican Party of Florida for polling, staff and research. She has more than $183,000 still on hand.

Meanwhile, Jenkins raised less than $123,000 and has about $100,000 still on hand. She also had a $40,000 boost through in-kind contributions, a large chunk from the Florida Democratic Party for research.

Toledo’s $83,000 cash advantage means she’ll have the resources to counter the latest poll. Both parties have shown, however, they’re willing to weigh in heavily on the race.

The poll had a 4.5% margin of error.

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 Janelle@floridapolitics.com.

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