JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The first poll made public in the race for mayor of Jacksonville finds Mayor Lenny Curry with a commanding lead.
The poll of 1,027 likely voters conducted Feb. 12 for the website Florida Politics found that, if the election were held now, well over half would vote for Curry in the four-way race.
If that margin were to hold true in the March 19 first city election, Curry would earn a second four-year term without a runoff.
University of North Florida Political science professor and pollster Michael Binder is preparing to conduct his own poll but said Thursday that this one says a lot about the mayor’s race.
"I certainly think this could be decided in March," Binder said.
If the election were held now, St. Pete Polls found that Curry would receive 57.8 percent, Councilwoman Anna Brosche would get 19.6 percent, Jimmy Hill would receive 3.6 percent and 3.3 percent would vote for Omega Allen.
While 15 percent of those polled were undecided, Curry still had comfortable above the 50 percent threshold he would need to win without a runoff.
"I think Curry is going to be close to 50 (percent)," Binders said. "I don’t think it’s going to be at 60 or 65 percent or anything like that, but the question is 49.9 or 51, 52, 53 percent."
Breaking down the poll by political party, race and age, Curry had the lead among every demographic group and a clear majority in most groups.
While Jacksonville's election is nonpartisan, Curry, Brosche and HIll are all Republicans and Allen is an independent. There are no Democrats in the race.
While Brosche has campaigned for and drawn some Democratic support, even among those identifying themselves as Democrats, Curry has a 15-point lead over Brosche in the poll.
Curry received 68.8 percent of the vote by white voters in the poll and 38.1 percent of the black vote, outpacing Brosche by 10 points.
Brosche expected to receive strong support among women, but this poll found 60.1 percent of female voters said they would vote for Curry and only 18.1 percent would vote for Brosche.
With just over a month to go before the election, Brosche's campaign is becoming more active. Her campaign released a second television commercial Thursday. While still attacking Curry on crime, it was softer than her first commercial and more of an introduction of herself to the community.
News4Jax political analyst Rick Mullaney of Jacksonville University’s Public Policy Institute called her strategy unusual.
"She is going after what she perceives as a vulnerability of the mayor," Mullaney said. "You can expect that back-and-forth in terms of negative ads."
Absentee ballots are in the mail and absentee voting is open at the Duval County Supervisor of Elections Office. Early voting begins March 9 and all precincts will be open March 19.
The poll found 94 percent of those questioned said they intended to vote in the city election -- a much higher number than the expected turnout of 30 percent or less.