A new poll is putting Broward County Sheriff Gregory Tony well on the path to reelection this November.
Tony’s campaign commissioned the Frederick Polls survey. It shows Tony receiving 52% of the vote, more than double his opponent, Wayne Clark‘s 20% share.
The remaining 28% of voters are undecided. Even if every single one of those voters broke toward Clark — a near impossibility in the heavily Democratic county — Tony would still lead Clark by 4 percentage points.
Non-party affiliated candidate Charles Whatley and write-in candidate Fuad Kiuhan have also qualified but were not listed in the poll. The survey sampled 448 likely General Election voters from Sept. 21-23. It has a margin of error of 4.8 percentage points.
Publicly-released internal polls should be taken with a dose of skepticism. Though the findings could be accurate, campaigns have an incentive to withhold internal polls showing poor results for their candidate and only release favorable polls to the public.
The results align with the county’s sharp left lean, however. Former Broward Sheriff Scott Israel won his 2016 reelection bid with 72% of the vote, a sign that any Democratic candidate is the presumptive heavy favorite in the race.
Voters have had to weigh some questions regarding Tony’s bid after he failed to disclose his fatal shooting of an 18-year-old prior to being appointed Broward Sheriff. Tony was only 14 years old when that shooting occurred. He was cleared in the incident, claiming self-defense, and his records were sealed.
The lack of disclosure triggered a Florida Department of Law Enforcement investigation.
Still, voters chose Tony over former Sheriff Israel in the Aug. 18 Primary Election. That signaled a willingness by a plurality of Democratic voters to forgive Tony’s previous transgressions and put him in prime position to win his first full term in the office. The new survey would seem to cement that likelihood.
Gov. Ron DeSantis removed Israel as Broward Sheriff over how the Sheriff’s Office responded to the 2018 Parkland attack. DeSantis replaced Israel with Tony. Tony has earned backing from several families impacted by the attack.
The polling memo also showed 92% of Broward voters “feel safe” from crime under Tony’s leadership. The survey found 64% of respondents felt positively about Black Lives Matter. That could help Tony, who has made the need for police reform a top message of his reelection bid.
In the presidential contest, Democratic nominee Joe Biden is leading President Donald Trump 60%-26% in Broward County, according to Frederick Polls. In 2016, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton won Broward by a 67%-31% margin over Trump.