Tracking time - The Race to be Florida's next Governor
Bottom Line: The race for Florida's next Governor is likely to the most hotly contested from start to finish we've seen. Multiple credible candidates for both parties for the primaries and what's certain to be as hotly contested of a general election as we've seen in Florida and is likely to take place nationally this year (be mindful that state and even occasionally local elections are often nationalized these days).
The second round of accredited polling rolled in for the primaries last week and revealed that no party has a clear-cut front-runner at the onset of this cycle. Let's start with the Democrats:
According to the average accredited polling...
Gwen Graham (Former US Rep): 20% (+1 vs. last week)
Philip Levine (Former Miami Beach mayor): 17% (+5 vs. last week)
Andrew Gillum (Tallahassee Mayor): 10% (-1% vs. last week)
Notably 49% of Democrats are undecided leaving this race as about wide-open as it could be about 6 months before the primary. We saw an additional 6% of Democrats identify with a candidate this week as compared to last - with Philip Levine being the biggest beneficiary- which makes sense as he's led the strongest initial ad campaign of any candidate in either party. This is the first time in the cycle in which a majority of Democrats have a preferred candidate in this race.
It's a slightly different version of a similar thing on the right.
Adam Putnam (Florida's Ag Commissioner): 27% (+2%)
Ron Destanis (US Representative): 23% (+2%)
We also saw six percent of Republicans find a candidate they prefer over the past week taking the undecided percentage down to (43%) are currently undecided. The caveat however is that 7% of those declared currently support a candidate, Richard Corcoran (Florida House Speaker), who isn't in the race. Regarding the two front runners who are...both raised their support by 2% over the past week continuing to indicate an extremely tight race that's emerging. Both candidates have taken to media to attempt to raise their profiles (somewhat odd in Putnam's case given that he's won two statewide elections by sizable margins but nevertheless)...
Typically, those with less name recognition have the best opportunity for growth and momentum in primaries as voters become more familiar with them and potentially are convinced of their candidacy. That could be good news for Destanis in this race. We're just getting warmed up in this mid-term cycle. Until next week...