Yet another survey of the Democratic race for Governor shows Nikki Fried down by at least ten points, but she didn’t show concern Tuesday in Jacksonville.
A survey of 701 likely Democratic Primary voters commissioned by Floridians for Economic Advancement showed Fried with 33% support, behind Rep. Charlie Crist at 43%. State Sen. Annette Taddeo rounded out the field with 15% support.
The margin between Crist and Fried is smaller than in some polls of the Democratic Primary field, such as the 26-point spread in a February survey. But it’s still a considerable deficit. Despite the continued gap, Fried said Tuesday that she’s “very confident” with where the polls are so far.
“Obviously, we have room to grow, and that’s what we’re doing,” Fried said. “Every time I speak to a new voter, every time I speak to a new organization, by the time that we are done, they all become Nikki Fried supporters.”
That confidence extends to fundraising, where Fried framed her campaign as competitive with Crist’s in terms of cash on hand.
Fried has roughly $2.6 million in her Florida Consumers First political committee and roughly a million dollars in her campaign account. Crist has roughly $1.3 million in his campaign account, and more than $3.4 million in Friends of Charlie Crist.
“We’ve basically come very close in cash on hand.” Fried said. “We are using our resources, we’re getting out the votes. As you see, this campaign is built on grassroots. The amount of people, individual donations we are getting from across the entire state is exciting. It is showing that this entire campaign is built on grassroots momentum and we’ve got it.”
In Jacksonville Tuesday, Fried spoke to labor union leaders and representatives from around the region, and questions were pointed as to whether she could prevail in the Primary and the General Election. One union rep said that while he personally might be open to support her, many of those in his union liked DeSantis and the much-discussed “Parental Rights in Education” legislation, which critics have dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.
Those comments illustrated a finding in the same poll that should concern Democrats who messaged heavily against this legislation. About 52% of respondents say students in Kindergarten through 3rd grade should not be taught about sexual orientation in class by teachers, which was one of the major points of contention about this legislation.
No matter which Democrat gets the nomination, the challenger will be playing catch-up with DeSantis, who is well ahead in most polling of the race. DeSantis also has nearly $90 million cash on hand between his campaign account and his political committee, Friends of Ron DeSantis.