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Poll: Jane Castor Leads David Straz By 36 Points In Tampa Mayor's Race

Tampa mayoral candidates Jane Castor (l) and David Straz.
Daylina Miller and Steve Newborn
WUSF Public Media

Tampa mayoral candidate Jane Castor leads her opponent David Straz by 36 points in a new poll from the University of North Florida's Public Opinion Research Lab.

The poll includes responses from more than 700 likely Tampa voters and was conducted April 10-12.

Jane Castor received support from 64% of respondents to David Straz's 28%. A small remainder said they are still undecided.

Support for Castor was evident in both political parties, with 68% of Democrats choosing her and 59% of Republicans.

Michael Binder, Faculty Director at UNF’s Public Opinion Research Lab, said results from some additional questions in the poll may help explain Castor’s strong lead.

For example, the survey asked respondents whether they believe Tampa is on the right track or heading in the wrong direction.

“Overwhelmingly, 78% thought Tampa was headed in the right direction, and I think that might lend some depth of understanding as to where Castor’s support is coming from,” Binder said.

“From my understanding, she is kind of viewed as the establishment candidate and incumbents have endorsed her, she has a lot of endorsements from the political status quo. So if you think the city is headed in the right direction, you’re much less likely to go for an outsider or a challenger view.”

The poll also asked what voters feel are the most important issues affecting Tampa.

"Access to public transportation far and away the most important issue,” Binder said. “The other most important thing to talk about, I think, is the role of local government in affordable housing. Tampa Bay voters feel the local government really should be responsible as opposed to business leaders or religious or nonprofit leaders even.”

Of  those who said transportation was their top issue, 72%  plan to vote for Castor while 21% plan to vote for Straz.

Voter turnout for the initial election on March 5 was just 21%. While the UNF poll focused solely on people whose voting records suggested they would participate in the runoff, Binder said even a quarter of those respondents said they were unsure if they would actually vote on April 23.

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