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Press Release for Thursday, March 5, 2015

UNF Poll Finds Uncertainty and Indecision as March Election Looms

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Director
Department of Public Relations
(904) 620-2102

A new poll from the Public Opinion Research Laboratory at the University of North Florida reveals registered voters on the First Coast are indecisive as the March election draws near.

The poll, which interviewed likely voters in Duval County, revealed that Alvin Brown is leading the mayor’s race with 37 percent; Lenny Curry, 25 percent; Bill Bishop, 11 percent; Omega Allen, 2 percent; and 25 percent, don’t know or refused to answer. With early voting starting in a mere four days, a quarter of the electorate is unsure whom they are voting for in this election. Such high levels of uncertainty provide opportunities for each of the candidates to increase their vote share.

Brown’s job approval rating is 55 percent, typically a good sign for incumbents, however, that isn’t translating into votes for the mayor. Of the 546 likely voters polled, 44 percent think Brown is a strong leader and 41 percent don’t think he is a strong leader, with 15 percent unsure or unwilling to answer.

Continuing the trend of uncertainty with the electorate, 23 percent think that Curry is a strong leader and 15 percent don’t think he is strong leader, while a whopping 62 percent don’t know or refused to answer. When asked if Brown cares about people like you, 63 percent of likely voters think he does while 22 percent doesn’t. When asked about Curry caring about people like them, 36 percent believe he does and 15 percent doesn’t, however, 49 percent don’t know or refused to answer.

When respondents were asked to place Brown, Curry and Bishop on a five-point ideological spectrum, the results further highlight the awareness gap between the incumbent and the challengers. Forty-three percent of respondents classified Brown as liberal, while only 14 percent didn’t know or refused to place him on the five-point scale.

Conversely, 38 percent of respondents considered Curry conservative, but 49 percent of likely voters were unable or unwilling to place him on the ideological scale. A plurality of voters that were able to place Bishop on the ideological scale—13 percent—considered him a moderate or middle of the road, but 66 percent didn’t know or refused to place him ideologically. The large numbers of likely voters that are unfamiliar enough about the two main challengers to even have opinions on the ideological positions highlights the lack of awareness about the election among the most likely voters.

In the sheriff’s race, voters are no more decided. The UNF poll shows Ken Jefferson is leading the pack with 24 percent; Mike Williams, 16 percent; Jimmy Holderfield, 10 percent; Jay Farhat, 7 percent; Tony Cummings, 4 percent; Rob Schoonover, 4 percent; Lonnie McDonald, 2 percent; and 34 percent didn’t know or refused to answer. With seven candidates and such a large percentage of undecided voters, this race is completely up in the air.

The Public Opinion Research Laboratory, through the use of a 27-station telephone-polling laboratory at UNF, conducted the survey. Approximately 120 UNF students participated in the data collection. A polling sample of randomly selected likely voters was drawn from the Duval County Supervisor of Elections voter file. Likely voters are classified as voters who cast a ballot in three of the four previous general elections (2011 first election, 2011 general election, 2012 general election and 2014 general election) or for more recently registered voters if they have voted in all eligible general elections (both 2012 and 2014, or only 2014 if they were registered to voter after the 2012 general election).

The survey was conducted Monday, Feb. 23, through Friday, Feb. 27, and includes 546 adult registered likely voters in Duval County with a margin of error of +/- 4 percent. Race, gender and party registration were weighted to reflect an electorate that is similar to what turned out in March 2011—partisan registration is roughly equal and African-American voters represent approximately 28 percent of the electorate.

Below are the full results of this poll, which was supported by Dr. Barbara Hetrick, College of Arts and Sciences dean. For more information or questions about methodology, contact Dr. Michael Binder, UNF assistant professor of political science, at (904) 620-1205 or m.binder@unf.edu.

UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.



Toplines

Q2. If the election for mayor were being held today, for whom would you vote?

N=546  +/- 4 percent Even Party ID (similar to March 2011)
Alvin Brown - Democrat 37 percent
Lenny Curry - Republican 25 percent
Bill Bishop - Republican 11 percent
Omega Allen - No Party Affiliation 2 percent
Someone Else <1 percent
DK/R 25 percent

Q3. Who would be your second choice?
*Only asked if Q2 responded Bishop, Allen or Someone Else

N=80
Alvin Brown - Democrat 31 percent
Lenny Curry - Republican 48 percent
Someone Else 4 percent
DK/R 17 percent


Vote for mayor by party ID
N=546 Democrats Republicans NPA All
Brown 63 percent 12 percent 29 percent 37 percent
Curry 5 percent 47 percent 17 percent 25 percent
Bishop 8 percent 14 percent 21 percent 11 percent
DK/Refused 22 percent 25 percent 27 percent 24 percent



Vote for mayor by race
N=546 Whites African-Americans All
Brown 22 percent 67 percent 37 percent
Curry 34 percent 2 percent 25 percent
Bishop 17 percent 1 percent 11 percent
DK/Refused 25 percent 26 percent 24 percent


Q4. Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Alvin Brown is handling his job as mayor of Jacksonville?
N=546
Strongly Approve 18 percent
Somewhat Approve 37 percent
Somewhat Disapprove 18 percent
Strongly Disapprove 16 percent
DK/R 11 percent


Q5. Do you think Alvin Brown is a strong leader or not a strong leader?
N=546
Strong Leader 44 percent
Not a Strong Leader 41 percent
DK/R 15 percent


Q6. Do you think Lenny Curry is a strong leader or not a strong leader?
N=546
Strong Leader 23 percent
Not a Strong Leader 15 percent
DK/R 62 percent


Q7. Do you think Alvin Brown is someone who cares about people like you or someone who doesn’t care about people like you?
N=546
Cares about people like you 63 percent
Does not care about people like you 22 percent
DK/R 15 percent


Q8. Do you think Lenny Curry is someone who cares about people like you or someone who doesn’t care about people like you?
N=546
Cares about people like you 36 percent
Does not care about people like you 15 percent
DK/R 49 percent


Q17. How would you place Alvin Brown on a five-point scale arranged from very liberal to very conservative?
N=546
Very Liberal 16 percent
Slightly Liberal 27 percent
Moderate; Middle of the Road 29 percent
Slightly Conservative 9 percent
Very Conservative 5 percent
DK/R 14 percent

Q18. Where would you place Lenny Curry on this scale?
N=546
Very Liberal 3 percent
Slightly Liberal 3 percent
Moderate; Middle of the Road 9 percent
Slightly Conservative 16 percent
Very Conservative 22 percent
DK/R 47%

Q19. Where would you place Bill Bishop on this scale?
N=546
Very Liberal 2 percent
Slightly Liberal 4 percent
Moderate; Middle of the Road 13 percent
Slightly Conservative 10 percent
Very Conservative 5 percent
DK/R 66 percent


Q9. If the election for sheriff were being held today, for whom would you vote?
N=546
Tony Cummings-Democrat 4 percent
Jay Farhat- Republican 7 percent
Jimmy Holderfield- Republican 10 percent
Ken Jefferson-Democrat 24 percent
Lonnie McDonald- Republican 2 percent
Rob Schoonover- Republican 4 percent
Mike Williams- Republican 16 percent
Someone Else 1 percent
DK/R 34 percent                                  


Q11. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the Jacksonville Sherriff’s Office is handling its job?
N=546
Strongly Approve 24 percent
Somewhat Approve 39 percent
Somewhat Disapprove 17 percent
Strongly Disapprove 14 percent
DK/R 6 percent

Q28. Are we reaching you today on a landline or cell phone?
N=546
Landline 40 percent
Cell Phone 59 percent
R 1 percent

Q29.What is the highest grade in school or year of college you have completed?
N=546
Less than High School Degree 2 percent
High School Graduate 15 percent
Some College 31 percent
College Graduate 30 percent
Post Graduate 19 percent
DK/R 2 percent


Q30. What is your annual household income?
N=546
Less than $25,000 9 percent
$25,000-$50,000 21 percent
$50,000-$75,000 16 percent
$75,000-$100,000 13 percent
Above $100,000 20 percent
DK/R 22 percent

Q31. Race
N=546
White 67 percent
African-American 28 percent
Hispanic 3 percent
Other 2 percent

32. Party ID
N=546
Democrat 45 percent
Republican 45 percent
No Party Affiliation 7 percent
Other 2 percent

33. Gender
N=546
Male 46 percent
Female 54 percent




-UNF-