SAINT LEO, Fla., Feb. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Democrat Alex Sink leads Republican David Jolly 46-37 percent ahead of the March 11 special congressional election in the Pinellas, Florida-based 13th congressional district, according to a new poll released today by the Saint Leo University Polling Institute. Libertarian Lucas Overby would get 12 percent of the vote if the election were held today.
"Ms. Sink's advantage is being driven by solid favorability ratings coupled with issue positions that seem to be more closely aligned with voter preferences than are Jolly's," said Frank Orlando, a political science instructor at Saint Leo University. "She overcomes a partisan ID disadvantage in the district by maintaining much higher favorability among Republicans and Independents than Mr. Jolly does among Democrats. The fact that a Libertarian candidate has robust support levels in the double digits seems to be contributing to the size of Sink's lead."
Democrats are overwhelmingly (88 percent) favoring Sink with only 6 percent favoring Jolly and 4 percent favoring Overby. However, Republicans are a bit more divided on their candidate. Only 64 percent of Republicans are backing Jolly. Sixteen percent of Republicans say they'll vote for Sink and another 14 percent say they'll chose the Libertarian candidate.
After a heavy advertising campaign, both Sink and Jolly have become well-known in the district and have similar favorable ratings. Sink has a net favorability ratings of +7 and gross ratings of 51 percent favorable, 44 percent unfavorable. Jolly has a net favorability rating of +3 and gross ratings of 47 percent favorable, 44 percent unfavorable. Sink enjoys an intensity advantage among voters who say they are "very favorable" toward a candidate, with 33 percent holding a "very favorable" opinion of Sink and 21 percent holding a "very favorable" opinion of Jolly.
Libertarian Overby, who has been included in debates and has received more media attention than third party candidates often do, has hard name identification of 58 percent (30 percent favorable, 28 percent unfavorable). His net favorable rating is +2.
Methodology: The Saint Leo University Polling Institute poll of likely voters who live in FL-13 was conducted February 9-11, 2014 using a blended sample reached by Interactive Voice Response and an online panel. The sample size was 400 respondents, yielding a margin of error of +/- 5% with a 95% confidence level. 372 respondents (93% of sample) were reached on randomly dialed landline telephones using an automatic dialer, pre-recorded questions, and touch-tone telephone keypad responses. To ensure that a representative sample of younger voters was included, 28 respondents in this age group were reached using an online panel. To be included in the survey as a "likely voter," all respondents had to affirm twice that they are 18 or older and then they had to get past three screening questions.
SOURCE Saint Leo University Polling Institute