It seems voters in the northern Florida Congressional district currently represented by Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) might be sick of his antics.
Gaetz often seems particularly interested in drawing attention to himself, whether that’s through defenses of those who participated in the Capitol riot, antagonistic comments about those supporting reproductive rights that left even certain anti-abortion voices expressing concerns, or opposition towards broadly popular policies in Congress. His district is generally considered solidly Republican, but a new poll from The Listener Group shows Democratic challenger Rebekah Jones, a former data scientist for the state of Florida, less than two percent behind him, although there is also a significant portion of undecided voters. According to the elections data and analysis site FiveThirtyEight, which cataloged the poll, the survey was conducted for the Jones campaign.
The poll found Gaetz with 40.5 percent of the support and Jones with 38.7 percent. In the survey, 20.9 percent of respondents identified themselves as undecided — which perhaps bolsters the poll’s credibility, since it’s not simply a comprehensively positive set of indicators for Democrats. The numbers show that with just weeks until the November elections voters in Gaetz’s district are concerned about his leadership, or the lack thereof. The poll found Jones entirely in the lead among Escambia County voters, and The Listener Group described that jurisdiction as the largest and most politically diverse county in Gaetz’s district. Even if Gaetz wins this November by a small margin in the single digits, the result would be surprising. In 2020, he won by over 30 percentage points against Phil Ehr, with more than 430,000 votes cast.
The Listener Group also recently released a poll showing Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis losing to Democratic challenger Charlie Crist, who is himself a former governor, although he held the post as a Republican. Crist was ahead by six percent in the survey, with 53 percent of the support compared to just 47 percent for DeSantis, who is currently ensnared in controversies including the transports his team assembled under false pretenses taking vulnerable migrants from Texas to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, without previously establishing that the group would have what they need — and without even providing local authorities with advance notice. The point was to draw attention to immigration-related issues, or try to annoy Democrats at migrants’ expense, or something.
Greg Fink, who was identified in media coverage as conservative-leaning and is with The Listener Group, pointed to accurate predictions from the pollster regarding Trump’s margin of victory in the 2020 presidential race in Florida and Crist’s win in Florida’s Democratic primary for governor this year, which wasn’t a unanimous consensus in polling. “They thought we were crazy,” Fink told Newsweek, per recent reporting. “Everyone thought we were stupid as hell. And we ended up being right.”