First poll after GOP primary has David Jolly up over Alex Sink

Although the national media folks who have parachuted in from Washington (or simply opined from a desk in the Beltway) have been reporting that Alex Sink is a sure thing in the special CD13 election in March, the first poll conducted since David Jolly captured the Republican nomination on Tuesday shows the lobbyist with a slight lead over his Democratic counterpart, 47-43 percent.

D.C. analysts give Sink the edge because of her advantages in name recognition and fundraising ability, but the fact is that Jolly has dominated the political coverage on the ground in recent weeks as he homed in on nailing down the nomination over fellow Republicans Kathleen Peters and Mark Bircher. With no primary of her own, Sink has been meeting with various citizens and groups away from the media spotlight.

Inside the poll are some interesting tidbits, such as:

Regarding whether the candidate has a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the candidates, Jolly has a 10 percent favorable spread, 45-35 percent, whereas Sink's is almost neutral, at 45-43. That is something to watch.

There are two policy questions on the survey that pose their own challenges for the candidates.

Obamacare is unpopular in Pinellas County. Nearly 63 percent want the Affordable Care Act repealed, while only 35 percent want it maintained. Jolly has said if elected he will vote to join House Republicans and vote to repeal the law. While Sink has criticized the ACA's bumpy rollout, she has maintained that the law is in place and supports it.

The other question asked is on undocumented immigration. CL has not queried Alex Sink on the issue, but Jolly has taken a firm line that he doesn't support "amnesty." But of course the issue is a little more nuanced than that. The measure that passed the U.S. Senate last summer (and has yet to be taken up by the House) would make most undocumented people go through an arduous process to become a citizen in what is known as a pathway to citizenship.

When asked if they support a pathway to citizenship, 42 percent say they do in the poll. 32 percent want undocumented people deported, 8 percent prefer outright amnesty, and 10 percent are not sure.

The survey
was conducted by St. Pete Polls and commissioned by blogger Peter Schorsch. Six percent of the voters polled were undecided, and 4 percent chose libertarian candidate Lucas Overby.

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