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Pat Kemp leads Sandra Murman as Democrats sweep latest Hillsborough poll

Kemp’s lead is less than half her victory margin four years ago, showing a still competitive race.

Democratic Hillsborough County Commissioner Pat Kemp holds a four point lead over her Republican challenger, fellow incumbent Sandra Murman, according to the latest survey from St. Pete Polls released Saturday.

Kemp’s lead in the District 6 race falls outside the poll’s 3.2% margin of error.

Still, 14% of voters are undecided less than three weeks from the Nov. 3 General Election.

While the race pits incumbent on incumbent — Murman currently represents residents in District 1, but is attempting to swap seats due to term limits — the lead is not surprising considering the Democratic advantage in the district. Democrats hold a significant voter registration advantage both in the total number of registered voters and active voters in the county. Of the county’s 936,623 registered voters, 39.5% are Democrats, compared to just 30% for Republicans. Of those partisan voters, 42% of Democrats are considered active — they’ve voted in at least one elections in the past four years — compared to just 34.5% of Republican voters.

However, the poll also shows the power of incumbency in races, especially in this rare occasion where both candidates currently sit one the board. Kemp defeated Republican challenger Tim Schock by nearly 11 points four years ago, an almost six point difference than Kemp’s current lead over Murman this year.

Still, there are signs of life for Murman as she approaches the two week mark from the election. Murman is leading in crossover party appeal with 16% of Democrats polled planning to cast a ballot for her compared to just 14% of Republicans for Kemp. The only reason Kemp still leads in the survey are because the responses proportionally represent the county’s partisan makeup, meaning more Democrats were polled than Republicans. If GOP turnout overperforms Democratic turnout, the lead could shift.

However, Kemp’s lead among independent voters could bridge any gains Murman makes due to turnout with 45% support compared to 39%.

Kemp leads among male voters 47.5% to 38%, but the two are in a dead heat among women at 43% each.

Meanwhile, races for constitutional offices also show advantages for Democrats.

Nancy Millan, the current communications director for the Hillsborough County Tax Collector’s office, leads Republican TK Mathew 48% to 41% in the race for her office’s top job.

Incumbent Bob Henriquez leads his Republican challenger, D.C. Goutoufas, 50.5% to 37%. Henriquez lead exceeds the amount of undecided voters in his race, 12%, while Mathew still has voters to pull from, with just 11% undecided in his race, though a seven point lead would be difficult to overcome.

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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