Internal poll shows Phil Ehr could pose a strong challenge to Carlos Giménez in CD 28

Phil Ehr Carlos Gimenez
In a theoretical vote after respondents learned about both candidates, Ehr trailed Giménez by just 3 points.

New polling indicates that Democrat Phil Ehr could give Republican U.S. Rep. Carlos Giménez a run for his money in Florida’s 28th Congressional District — if he can familiarize voters with who he is.

The poll, commissioned by Ehr’s campaign and conducted by California-based firm Change Research, shows Giménez is underwater by 8 percentage points among CD 28 voters who are familiar with him.

It also shows that after being given positive information about both candidates, respondents favor Ehr far more than the incumbent. In a theoretical vote, Ehr trailed Giménez by just 3 points.

“The people who know Congressman Giménez don’t like him,” Ehr’s senior campaign adviser, Obi Umunna, said in a statement Wednesday. “This poll shows he is beatable. In the next year, our campaign will make sure that the voters of Florida’s 28th Congressional District know they have a choice to level up to a representative in Phil Ehr who will fight for their values and their pocketbooks with integrity.”

Change Research surveyed 500 likely CD 28 voters in English and Spanish Oct. 13-17. Pollsters adjusted the results demographically and by education, ZIP code and their 2020 presidential vote to improve the accuracy of the results.

The poll’s margin of error was 4.7 percentage points.

The survey asked respondents twice whom they would vote for between Ehr and Giménez if the election were today. In their first response, 45% chose Giménez, while 32% selected Ehr.

Sixteen percent said they weren’t sure, and 7% said they would not cast a vote in the race if those were their only two choices.

Respondents were then given positive information about the candidates.

The survey described Giménez as the former Mayor of Miami-Dade County and CD 28’s current Representative in Congress.

“As the Mayor, Giménez attracted increased investments to Miami-Dade County while lowering taxes and increasing wages for residents,” the survey said. “Since being elected to Congress, (he) has continued his efforts fighting for lower taxes, a stronger compassionate immigration system and better support for our local small businesses.”

Of Ehr, a U.S. Navy Commander who has served domestically and abroad, the survey said he is a Humanitarian Service Medal recipient and has completed numerous humanitarian missions, including one to save people fleeing Fidel Castro’s socialist regime.

“Recently, when Russia invaded Ukraine, Phil took his fight overseas once again, completing humanitarian missions to deliver food, water, and supplies to the Ukrainians,” pollsters wrote.

“Phil is running for Congress to fight for our democracy, combat socialism, lower the cost of prescription drugs, give women a right to choose to have an abortion, and ensure that everyone has the opportunity to achieve the American Dream.”

In the second theoretical vote, respondents’ support for Ehr jumped 10 points to 42%, while support for Giménez rose by just 1 point to 46%.

Twelve percent of respondents said they were either unsure of whom to vote for or that they wouldn’t vote for either candidate.

When asked how they view 15 people and organizations, 33% of respondents said they viewed Giménez unfavorably compared to 25% who viewed him favorably. Twenty-six percent said they were neutral. Sixteen percent said they never heard of him.

Of note, Giménez’s favorability among independents is awful according to poll details shared with Florida Politics. Forty-six percent of no-party voters said they thought poorly of him, while 6% approved of him.

Ehr’s favorability was better among those who knew of whim — which wasn’t many — but still in the red. Seven percent said they didn’t like him compared to 4% who said they did. More than three of every four people answering said they’d never heard of him.

Respondents liked the U.S. Navy best (70% net favorability) and Castro worst (-88%). The second-most despised entry on the list was President Joe Biden, who received a -26% net rating. Donald Trump, meanwhile, sat at 1% net favorability, the same as former President Barack Obama.

Others in the red included U.S. Sens. Rick Scott (-17%) and Marco Rubio (-5%), Gov. Ron DeSantis (-4%) and former U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, who in August launched a campaign to unseat Scott.

Respondents really like the Navy and like the Republican Party a lot more than the Democratic Party. Image via Change Research.

Respondents were also asked to choose three policy issues they believe are most important now. Illegal immigration and inflation topped the list, with 41% of respondents calling them urgent issues, followed by 39% for jobs and the economy, 35% for housing costs, 32% for ending corruption and 30% for health care.

Twenty-nine percent said protecting abortion rights is important to them. The same percentage said they were concerned about political extremism on the left, compared to 23% who shared the same concern about the right.

Of those polled, 90% chose to take the survey in English, which may explain the high vote count Ehr received despite having little name recognition in Miami-Dade compared to Giménez.

Sixty-seven percent of respondents identified as Hispanic or Latino, while 21% identified as non-Hispanic White, 9% identified as Black and 1% said they were Asian.

Forty-five percent identified as male. The remainder said they were female. In terms of education, 42% said they had a four-year college degree or more.

Nearly half said they were Republican, compared to 38% who identified as Democrats and 14% who called themselves independent.

Forty-eight percent said they voted for Trump in 2020 compared to 42% who voted for Biden. Five percent said they didn’t vote. Four percent said they voted for another candidate.

A two-time candidate in Florida’s 1st Congressional District, Ehr switched last week from a Senate bid to running in CD 28, which spans a southern portion of Miami-Dade and all of the Keys in Monroe County.

Giménez has represented the area in Washington since unseating Mucarsel-Powell in 2020. In November, he comfortably won re-election, defeating former Democratic state Rep. Robert Asencio and GOP write-in candidate Jeremiah Schaffer with 64% of the vote.

As of Sept. 30, he held $890,000 to defend his seat. Ehr’s Senate campaign raised more than $690,000 since July, but heavy spending left him with just $89,000 of it by the end of last month.

Democrat Marcos Reyes entered the race in early October and won’t have to report any campaign finance activity until next year.

Jesse Scheckner

Jesse Scheckner has covered South Florida with a focus on Miami-Dade County since 2012. His work has been recognized by the Hearst Foundation, Society of Professional Journalists, Florida Society of News Editors, Florida MMA Awards and Miami New Times. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @JesseScheckner.


Florida Politics is a statewide, new media platform covering campaigns, elections, government, policy, and lobbying in Florida. This platform and all of its content are owned by Extensive Enterprises Media.

Publisher: Peter Schorsch @PeterSchorschFL

Contributors & reporters: Phil Ammann, Drew Dixon, Roseanne Dunkelberger, A.G. Gancarski, Anne Geggis, Ryan Nicol, Jacob Ogles, Cole Pepper, Gray Rohrer, Jesse Scheckner, Christine Sexton, Drew Wilson, and Mike Wright.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @PeterSchorschFL
Phone: (727) 642-3162
Address: 204 37th Avenue North #182
St. Petersburg, Florida 33704