Reports of crime could be impacting Miami Beach voters’ priorities ahead of the Nov. 2 election, a new poll shows.
The McLaughlin & Associates survey shows a majority of respondents — nearly 52% — say Miami Beach is moving in the wrong direction. A slim majority — 53% — also say crime and safety are the most important issues on voters’ minds. That leads flooding and sea level rise at 20%, growth and development at 13% and rebuilding the economy at 10%.
Mayor Dan Gelber maintains a +24 approval rating, with 57% approving and 33% disapproving. That’s a drop of 13 points since February, however, according to McLaughlin & Associates. Gelber earned a 62% approval rating in February with only 25% disapproving, for a net +37 rating.
McLaughlin & Associates is a typically Republican-aligned pollster, with dozens of GOP clients in its catalogue. The pollster also earned a rating in the “C/D” range according to FiveThirtyEight’s pollster rating system, making it fair to question how close its recent numbers are to reality.
But Miami Beach has seen its fair share of crime in recent months. That includes a string of seemingly random assaults by a group of cyclists in the popular South Beach region, an area popular with tourists and residents alike. Police have connected the group of bikers to a handful of similar attacks dating back to March.
That could play in voters’ minds as they weigh their choices in the Nov. 2 municipal election. According to the McLaughlin & Associates survey, nearly 41% of voters approve of the city’s handling of crime and safety issues, while more than 54% disapprove. That’s a net rating of -14. February data from McLaughlin & Associates showed a -4 net approval rating.
The survey ran Aug. 6-8 and sampled 300 Miami Beach voters.
Still, Gelber likely remains the favorite to secure reelection. Ronnie Eith, Carlos Gutierrez and Konstantinos Gus Manessis have all filed to challenge Gelber. But Gelber has been raising plenty of cash during his reelection bid.
As of July 31, Gelber holds more than $220,000 in his war chest. Eith and Gutierrez haven’t raised any money, and Manessis has less than $100 on hand.