An overwhelming majority of Florida voters haven’t heard of any of the Republican or Democratic candidates for governor, according to a University of North Florida poll released today.
The poll also finds strong support for a constitutional amendment to restore voting rights for most felons who have completed their sentences, for legalizing marijuana and for allowing young non-citizens who were brought to the U.S. as children to remain in the country and eventually apply for citizenship.
Republican Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam, who won statewide elections in 2010 and 2014, is the best-known candidate for governor — but 67 percent of Florida voters say they’ve never heard of him. U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Palm Coast, is unknown by 72 percent of voters and House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land-O’Lakes, is unknown by 78 percent in the poll.
On the Democratic side, former Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine, who recently invested big bucks in TV ads, is unknown by 73 percent; former U.S. Rep. Gwen Graham is unknown by 78 percent and Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum is unknown by 81 percent.
“It’s a little surprising that so few people have heard of the candidates, particularly Adam Putnam who has won two statewide races, and Gwen Graham, who is a former member of Congress and the daughter of former Gov. and Sen. Bob Graham,” said Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF. “These results highlight both the opportunities for the candidates to shape the voters’ perception of them and the challenges they face in getting out their message.”
UNF polled 619 registered Florida voters between Jan. 29 and Feb.. 4 using live phone calls. The poll’s margin of error is 3.9 percent.