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Press Release for Thursday, August 25, 2016

Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit Likely Republican Primary Poll Shows Nelson Leading State Attorney’s Race, Cofer Ahead in Public Defender’s Race

Andrea Mestdagh, Specialist

Department of Public Relations

(904) 620-2192

Jacksonville, Fla. – A new poll of likely Republican Primary voters in Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit by the Public Opinion Research Laboratory (PORL) at the University of North Florida, in partnership with The Florida Times-Union, shows that Melissa Nelson leads Angela Corey in the State Attorney’s race 52 percent to 20 percent, respectively. Wes White garnered 7 percent with 21 percent still undecided.


This is a substantial change from the poll PORL conducted at the end of June in which Nelson had 34 percent and Corey had 24 percent. “The increase in support for Nelson is likely a combination of effects from endorsements, positive exposure and a well-run campaign,” said Dr. Michael Binder, PORL faculty director.


“While support for White remained constant since the PORL’s poll last month, the undecided voters appear to be gravitating toward Nelson as the August 30 Election Day draws closer.”

“Nelson has widespread support across all three counties,” Binder continued. “The lead Nelson has opened in the last month is very surprising. Incumbents are typically tough to beat, especially ones with name recognition.”


Early voting has been in progress since August 15 and 13 percent of the sample indicated they had already voted. Of those who have already cast their ballot, 57 percent said they selected Nelson and 26 percent said they had voted for Corey.


The poll also shows that Charles Cofer, with 43 percent, holds a comfortable edge over Matt Shirk, with 21 percent, in the Public Defender’s race.

“Even though Cofer is ahead by 20-plus points, there is still a great deal of indecision in the electorate for this race,” said Binder. “This race has not attracted the same level of attention that the state attorney’s race has gotten and, as such, has been overshadowed.”

“Among those who have already cast a ballot, Cofer’s lead jumps to over 30 points,” Binder continued. “But for those who have not yet voted, the lead is less, only 20 points. It’s possible that voters who were previously unsure are making the choice to vote for Cofer.”


Survey Results


State Attorney


Respondents were asked for whom they would vote if the election for State Attorney were being held today. The 4th Judicial Circuit includes Duval, Nassau and Clay Counties.

 

 

 

Candidate

Likely Republican Primary Voters n= 604

Likely Republican Primary Voters June 2016 n=467

Angela Corey 

20% 

24% 

Melissa Nelson 

52% 

34% 

Wes White 

7% 

8% 

Don’t Know 

21% 

35% 



State Attorney Vote Choice by County of Likely Republican Primary Voters



Candidate

Duval County 63% of total sample

Clay County 23% of total sample

Nassau County 13% of total sample

Angela Corey 

22% 

16% 

19% 

Melissa Nelson 

53% 

53% 

44% 

Wes White 

7% 

7% 

10% 

Don’t Know 

18% 

24% 

28% 

n=604 


State Attorney Vote Choice by Gender of Likely Republican Primary Voters

  

Candidate

Men 47% of total  sample

Women 53% of total sample

Angela Corey 

18% 

23% 

Melissa Nelson 

53% 

51% 

Wes White 

7% 

7% 

Don’t Know 

22% 

19% 

n=604 

 

 

 State Attorney Vote Choice by Vote Status of Likely Republican Primary Voters


Candidate

Voters Who've Voted 13% of total sample

Voters Who've Not Voted 87% of total sample

Angela Corey 

26% 

20% 

Melissa Nelson 

57% 

51% 

Wes White 

9% 

7% 

Don’t Know 

8% 

23% 

  

 

 

 

 

 

Public Defender

Respondents were asked for whom they would vote if the election, in Florida’s 4th Judicial Circuitfor Public Defender were being held today.

  

Candidate

Likely Republican Primary Voters

n= 604

Likely Republican Primary Voters June 2016 n= 467 

Charles Cofer

43%

35%

Matt Shirk

21%

17%

Don’t Know

36%

48%

  

Public Defender Vote Choice by County of Likely Republican Primary Voters


Candidate

Duval County
63% of total sample

Clay County 23% of total sample

Nassau County
13% of total sample

Charles Cofer 

45% 

40% 

39% 

Matt Shirk 

23% 

18% 

16% 

Don’t Know 

33% 

42% 

45% 

  

Public Defender Vote Choice by Gender of Likely Republican Primary Voters


Candidate

Men 47% of total sample

Women 53% of total sample

Charles Cofer 

41% 

45% 

Matt Shirk 

24% 

18% 

Don’t Know 

35% 

38% 



 

Methodology


The Florida Fourth Judicial Circuit Poll was conducted by the Public Opinion Research Laboratory (PORL), in partnership with The Florida Times-Union, Saturday Aug. 20, through Tuesday, Aug. 23, by telephone with live callers. Respondents were likely Republican primary voters in the Fourth Judicial Circuit (Duval, Clay and Nassau Counties, Florida). Samples were created through voter files provided by each county’s supervisor of elections and selected through the use of randomization among likely voters. Calls were conducted only in English, with 604 registered likely voters 18 years of age or older. Likely voters were considered people who had voted in the 2012 or the 2014 statewide primary election; or were newly registered voters that voted in the 2016 presidential preference primary; or new voters registered after June 27, 2016 were also included as likely voters. In addition to be considered a likely voter, respondent indicated that they would “Definitely Vote” or “Probably Vote” in August’s primary election.


The margin of error is +/- 3.99 percent for the survey. The breakdown of completed responses on a landline phone to a cell phone was 43 to 57 percent with <1 percent unknown. The sample used quotas for each county to ensure geographic representation. This survey was sponsored by The Florida Times-Union and the PORL at the University of North Florida and was directed by Associate Professor of Political Science Dr. Michael Binder. The PORL is a full-service survey research facility that provides tailored research to fulfill each client’s individual needs from political, economic, social and cultural projects. The PORL opened in 2001 and is an independent, non-partisan center and a charter member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research Transparency Initiative. For more information about methodology, contact Binder at porl@unf.edu or at (904) 620-2784.

 

Survey Instrument

S1. As you may know, the Florida Primary Election is being held August 30. How likely are you to vote in this election…….

1. You will definitely vote

2. You will probably vote

3. You will probably not vote [End Survey]

4. You will definitely not vote [End Survey]

5. Already Voted (volunteered – continue)

6. Don’t Know [End Survey] VOL

7. No Answer [End Survey] VOL


Q1. If the election for State Attorney were being held today, for whom would you vote? [Rotate – Leave Someone Else last]

1. Angela Corey

2. Melissa Nelson

3. Wes White

4. Someone Else VOL

5. Don’t Know VOL

6. No Answer VOL


Q2. If the election for Public Defender were being held today, for whom would you vote? [Rotate – Leave Someone Else last]

1. Charles Cofer

2. Matt Shirk

3. Someone Else VOL

4. Don’t Know VOL

5. No Answer VOL