Poll: Rutherford still leads race for Congress

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  • | 12:00 p.m. August 10, 2016
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John Rutherford retains a double-digit lead in the race to secure the Republican bid for a Northeast Florida congressional seat, according to a University of North Florida poll released today.

The former Jacksonville sheriff leads a seven-person race with 30.8 percent of the vote in the poll by the school’s Public Opinion Research Laboratory.

Behind Rutherford is Hans Tanzler III, former St. Johns River Water Management executive director, with 12.7 percent and state Rep. Lake Ray with 9.5 percent.

Other candidates polled at less than 5 percent.

The survey was conducted Thursday-Monday and had a sample size of 600 likely Republican voters. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percent.

However, the biggest response to the poll was the undecided, as 37.7 percent said they didn’t know who to vote for.

That is down slightly from a similar poll conducted by UNF in early June, when 46 percent of likely Republican voters said the same. That poll had 403 samples.

The difference among the candidates then and now isn’t as large.

Rutherford came in at 27 percent then, Tanzler at 13 percent and Ray at 9 percent.

“There is very little change from the poll last month and there is still a great deal of uncertainty in this primary,” said Michael Binder, the research lab’s faculty director, in a statement.

Binder said Rutherford has maintained his lead even as media campaigns have become more active. But, Binder said, voters in Nassau and St. Johns counties also polled at almost 10 percentage points as not knowing for whom they will vote.

That isn’t surprising, he said, because six of the seven candidates have roots in Duval County.