He’s wealthy, he’s starred on reality TV, and headlines can’t quit him, but a new poll seems to indicate voters in the state’s wealthiest House district are ready to cancel Republican Rep. Fabian Basabe’s Tallahassee show.
An email survey of 1,376 registered voters in House District 106 produced the lowest favorability rating of anyone that Evan Ross, CEO of Public Communicators Group, has ever polled on, he said.
“We have never polled the popularity of walking barefoot on thumbtacks, but at 3.73% favorability, Basabe’s (favorability) and the resulting foot punctures might be competitive,” Ross joked.
The poll, which relies on people responding to an email, has a +/-3% margin of error, Ross said.
Basabe, the former star of the E! Network show “Filthy Rich: Cattle Drive who the New York tabloids dubbed “the male Paris Hilton” became the first Republican in memory to win the seat after spending six figures of his own money on the campaign. He won the right to represent by less than half a percent or 242 votes.
Ross says no one paid for the survey of Basabe’s popularity. But Ross, who lives in the district, said he was curious after Basabe attracted more than the usual attention that a freshman lawmaker gets.
Among Basabe’s popcorn-worthy moments of the past Session:
— He was booed at a Pride event in his district after voting for a bill restricting instruction of gender identity and sexual orientation through the eighth grade.
— He filmed a video (now taken down) blaming the Democratic minority’s intractability for the six-week ban on abortion despite the 68 amendments to the law the blue team proposed and the majority rejected. He skipped that vote.
Basabe is now facing a challenge to his re-election. And Ross’ poll shows that former Democratic Rep. Joe Saunders is poised to trounce him. Asked who they would vote for if the election were today, 33% said they would vote for Saunders, one of the the first openly gay members of the Legislature who has worked for nearly a decade as political director of LGBTQ advocacy group Equality Florida, and 14% said they would vote for Basabe.
Basabe did not return an inquiry seeking comment.