Whitney Fox message-testing poll shows narrow path to victory in red CD 13
Whitney Fox. Image via Fox campaign.

But a competitor's poll suggests getting through the Democratic Primary might not be so easy.

A poll commissioned by Democrat Whitney Fox’s campaign for Florida’s 13th Congressional District shows her with a razor thin path to victory in a district that polls at R+8 and that the Cook Political Report lists as R+6.

Asked whether they would vote for a Democrat or a Republican in a generic General Election, half of respondents say they’d vote for the GOP candidate, while only 43% say they’d cast their ballot for a Democrat. Asked to choose between Fox and incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. Anna Paulina Luna, Luna’s support jumps to 51% and Fox’s increases by 3 percentage points, to 46%.

The poll, conducted by GQR Insights and Action, then offers an “informed vote” question, which is presented after giving respondents additional information about each candidate.

The polling memo from Fox’s campaign does not provide the exact language delivered to respondents, but it summarizes that they were told about Luna’s “extreme positions like supporting a national abortion ban without exceptions for rape, incest, or the life of the mother, cutting Social Security and health care — removing the $35 cap on insulin and blocking Medicare from being able to negotiate lower costs for prescriptions drugs.”

With that in mind, Fox’s support in the poll jumps to 49%, while Luna’s drops to just 47%.

The polling memo notes that “Luna’s position on abortion is clearly out of step with the district and is her largest vulnerability,” adding that “the reproductive rights ballot measure and its potential to impact turnout creates an opportunity for Fox to win.”

While the poll offers voters leading questions that could skew results, it serves as an effective indicator of how well particular messages resonate with a district’s electorate.

“Our polling results clearly show Florida’s 13th Congressional District is in play this November and is the most flippable House seat in Florida. Whitney Fox has a clear path to victory against Anna Paulina Luna once voters learn about Luna’s self-serving political games and her extreme stances on abortion, Social Security, and Medicare, all while Floridians struggle with record-high costs,” Fox Campaign Manager James Corti said.

“Let’s not forget that Anna Paulina Luna underperformed other Republicans by six percentage points in 2022 when Democratic turnout was at a decade-low. With the Florida abortion amendment and Pinellas County as a hotspot for inflation, Fox is poised to defeat Anna Paulina Luna and end her attacks on democracy, women, and seniors.”

Fox has been running hard on reproductive rights and frequently criticizes Luna on her anti-abortion positions.

Luna dismissed any potential Democratic opponent in the race as “not serious” in a statement to the Washington Examiner about the poll. She added that the candidates “don’t even understand the basics when it comes to legislation.”

Fox’s poll made no mention of other Democrats in the race and focuses solely on messaging for a General Election. But she does have a competitive Primary to wade through before turning her sites on Luna.

One of her top opponents, Liz Dahan, also recently conducted an internal messaging poll, but it focused more on the Primary than the General Election.

That poll showed none of the Democratic candidates with significant name ID among voters, with Fox as the longest running candidate having just 30% name recognition.

That polling memo didn’t provide all of the data on candidates’ name ID or levels of support, but it noted that Dahan, after voters received positive statements about her, moved from just 5% support in a baseline survey question to 24%. Fox went from 16% to 19%, and Sabrina Bousbar moved from 8% to 9%. The poll included questions about candidate Mark Weinkrantz, but the polling memo did not highlight results.

The memo also notes that once voters were given biographical information, the share of undecided voters dropped to just 39%. It emphasized Fox as the perceived front-runner, but challenged that notion.

“While some have been tempted to call this race over, the one thing the data is perfectly clear about — it hasn’t even started,” the memo reads.

Fox is the former Communications Director for the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority and is running both with a fundraising advantage and the lion’s share of local and statewide establishment support, such as U.S. Reps. Kathy Castor, Lois Frankel and Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

But Dahan, Bousbar and Weinkrantz have all exceeded six figures in their fundraising push, with Weinkrantz largely self-funding his campaign. And all have impressive résumés on which to run.

Dahan has served as an advisor to high-ranking Democrats, including former U.S. Sen. Tom Daschle and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. Bousbar worked in the Joe Biden administration in the Department of Health and Human Services. Weinkrantz is a military veteran and a well-regarded local community leader and philanthropist.

Janelle Irwin Taylor

Janelle Irwin Taylor has been a professional journalist covering local news and politics in Tampa Bay since 2003. Most recently, Janelle reported for the Tampa Bay Business Journal. She formerly served as senior reporter for WMNF News. Janelle has a lust for politics and policy. When she’s not bringing you the day’s news, you might find Janelle enjoying nature with her husband, children and two dogs. You can reach Janelle at [email protected].


  • Benjy Busdriver

    June 16, 2024 at 5:45 pm

    Ms. Fox’ sole function in Congress would be to ensure a never ending river of money pouring into the pockets of the red-hatted curia of bureaucrats who control the future development of Pinellas County and Tampa Bay.

  • Adam Ross

    June 18, 2024 at 1:58 pm

    Anna Paulina Luna has done nothing for Pinellas County. Our flood insurance rates have skyrocketed. She’s defunded our public schools. Luna has spent her time kissing Marjorie Taylor Green’s butt while flying around the country with that criminal, Donald Trump. Anna Paulina Luna has no formal education or serious work history in politics. She is a social media conspiracist, who became famous by posing suggestively, while holding a machine gun. No thank you!

  • John Liccione

    June 29, 2024 at 3:43 am

    This article inaccurately describes the contest as a four-way race, overlooking the fact that it is actually a five-way primary. John Liccione, a USAF/NSA veteran and high-tech executive and engineer, was the first to file his candidacy on June 28, 2023, well before Whitney Fox entered the fray. The omission of John Liccione from this report, and the false claim that Fox filed first, not only deprives your readers of accurate information about the existence of a significant candidate but also appears to align with the Democratic Party’s efforts to marginalize him. Despite the party’s public defamation campaign and its warnings to members against mentioning his name or allowing him to participate in party events, it is crucial for fair and comprehensive journalism not to perpetuate such false narratives. This is, in its way, fake news that calls for publication of a correction.

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