A summer of turbulence and tempest actually improved the public perception of Jacksonville’s Republican Mayor and Sheriff according to new polling from the University of North Florida’s Public Opinion Research Lab.
Mayor Lenny Curry and Sheriff Mike Williams saw their numbers improve with Duval County voters compared to a broader survey of registered voters in June.
Curry remains underwater in the UNF PORL poll’s estimation, but less so than he did in the June canvass.
His overall net approval in the survey is minus two, but there are positive signs. The 47% approval is up two since early summer, and more respondents strongly approve of Curry than disapprove of him.
Despite partisan posturing including a red meat performance at one of President Donald Trump‘s final rallies before his COVID-19 diagnosis, Curry again struggles with Republicans. Just 72% approve of the Mayor, a former chair of not only the county GOP but the Republican Party of Florida; 27% disapprove of his job performance.
NPAs polled appreciate the Mayor almost as much as members of the GOP. Curry is at 57% with that cohort.
However, the Mayor does not connect with Democrats, who comprise a plurality of Duval County voters. Just 16% approve of his job performance, with a full 74% fed up.
Curry is above water with men, with 55% approving of him. But at 41% approval with female voters, the Mayor faces a measurable gender gap.
Other polls, including a recent St. Pete Polls survey commissioned by Florida Politics, and Curry’s own internal polling, have proven more favorable to the Mayor.
While Curry slightly improved from the June numbers, his gains could not compare to those of Sheriff Williams, who was regarded more favorably than Curry in this survey.
Williams enjoys 54% approval overall, putting him at a solid +14 after a summer of minimal bad press compared to law enforcement in many other parts of the country.
If he wants a political future after 2023, this survey suggests a John Rutherford style path.
Five in six Republicans (83%) approve of the Sheriff, with just 15% disapproving. He also can boast a 68% approval rating with independent voters.
Democrats, meanwhile, are still not sold. Just 16% approve of Williams.