Poll finds majority of GOP voters in Matt Gaetz’s district still stand with him

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But if he resigns, Doug Broxson would have an edge in a special election.

At least one poll of U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz’s district shows a majority of Republican voters on his side. But if the Republican resigns, there are other candidates voters appear ready to consider.

Victory Insights, a Republican firm with a presence in Florida, tested the waters in Florida’s 1st Congressional District. The firm surveyed 400 registered Republican voters on April 9, a week after news of a sex trafficking scandal first broke.

The poll found more than three in five CD 1 voters  believe Gaetz’s denial of any wrongdoing.

When asked if they believe Gaetz is guilty, more than 63% of voters said no. Almost 18% of voters said yes, and another 19% remained neutral or said they need more information.

Asked if Matt Gaetz should resign, the firm found similar results, but with an even stronger 72% of voters saying he should not quit. But about 19% do think he needs to resign.

Pollsters note the number who think Gaetz should quit, while not exceeding high, does indicate “at least some part of Gaetz’s base has already abandoned him.”

Notably, about 7% of those who think Gaetz is guilty do not think he should resign. The same goes for 48% of voters who have not made up their mind. But 40% of the fence about Gaetz’s guild still thinks he should quit.

For the most part, those who think he committed any of the crimes for which he is accused want him gone, while those who believe his denials think he should tough the headlines out. And if there’s a silver lining for Gaetz there, pollsters say, it’s that if Gaetz indeed is exonerated, “he could regain the support of more than 85% of those who believe he should resign.”

With more stories piling up by the day, Victory Insights also polled who voters might support in the event of a special election. There, pollsters surveyed support for a number of candidates already generating gossip.

Nearly 59% of voters remain undecided or favor someone who is not in the poll. But of the options presented, state Sen. Doug Broxson, a Pensacola Republican, surfaced as a clear favorite with 17.6% of support. That gives him a lead well outside the margin of error compared to Chris Dosev, the next best performer with over 7% support.

Digging into the numbers pollsters found Broxson performing well among those with no opinion on Gaetz’s future, suggesting name ID with the casual voter played a role. “As these voters do not have strong feelings either way toward resignation, it’s likely that they are not as in tune with political news as the other groups,” a polling memo states.

Dosev, who challenged Gaetz in Republican primaries in 2016 and 2018, meanwhile appears to lock up the anti-Gaetz vote. “Dosev enjoys a significant spike among those who believe Gaetz should resign,” the memo reads. “However, Dosev might need to tread carefully in the anti-Gaetz lane, as most Republicans still believe that Gaetz should stay in office.”

Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, an interesting choice to include as he already holds statewide office, polled third with about 5%. Former U.S. Attorney Larry Keefe made a case with about 4% of voters.

State Rep. Alex Andrade, a Pensacola Republican, came in around 3%. So did attorney Doug Bates. State Sen. George Gainer, a Panama City Republican showed with under 2% of the vote and 1% like former state Rep. Frank White, another Pensacola Republican.

The pollsters report a margin of error of 3.9%.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]


8 comments

  • James Robert Miles

    April 11, 2021 at 11:40 am

    Just another example of the DUMB Floriduh voter! Apparently child molesters are Ok representatives to the GOP and its minions!

  • Ron Ogden

    April 11, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    Why should he? All you have to do is look at leading Dems–Biden accused of rape, no consequences, Cuomo beating multiple sex complaints–to know that “me, too” has run its course. Time for the Dems to invent something else. Fried is trying with her vaccination politics but that isn’t getting much traction, either. Face it, Dems, cliches get old fast and yesterday’s lies wilt in the light of a new day.

    • tjb

      April 11, 2021 at 3:39 pm

      Ron,
      You left out Trump. He has been accused of rape by over twenty women. If you are going to cry foul on the Dem’s, make sure that you name all the Republican politicians accused of rape and pedophilia. Matt is a creep. He should step down before Greenburg, his buddy brings him down.
      Finally, Ron, do you support sex trafficking?

  • Ocean Joe

    April 11, 2021 at 2:05 pm

    If Greenberg, who is extra slimy, is flipping on this guy, then prosecutors have decided who the more “valuable” target is. Let’s not forget these were Trump administration DOJ prosecutors, so it is not a witch hunt…but if it was, it looks like there is an actual witch there.

    • Demetries

      April 11, 2021 at 8:44 pm

      @MattGaetz…Perfect allegory of mediocre & low caliber self serving so-called populists taking over American politics both sides of the aisle. Too many elected & appointed at state & federal levels. US democracy is under assault by self serving taxpayer funded narcissists. #GOP #Dems

  • Andrew DeGeorge

    April 13, 2021 at 3:19 pm

    Let’s see that actual polling data. What was the polling sample size, margin of error, how they collected the data and exactly what were the questions. It matters.

  • James Connor

    April 14, 2021 at 3:23 am

    400 is a very small sample so I would sincerely doubt the 3.9% MOE. WIth that in mind I downloaded the full details and could not find any reference to a MOE – so where did you get the figure of 3.9% from?

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