Poll: Majority of GOP voters who already cast CD 15 ballots support Laurel Lee


The poll found support for Jackie Toledo plummeting.

More than half the Republican voters who already cast ballots in Florida’s 15th Congressional District voted for Laurel Lee. That’s according to survey results from St. Pete Polls.

The outfit conducted the poll for Florida Politics on Aug. 18, days ahead of an Aug. 23 Republican Primary. It found Lee, Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Secretary of State for most of his first term, leading the five-candidate field with support from 47% of likely Republican Primary voters. Her closest competitor, state Sen. Kelli Stargel, was the favorite for more than 20% of voters.

Strikingly, veterans Kevin ‘Mac’ McGovern and Demetries Grimes, at 7% and 6% respectively, come in ahead in the poll of state Rep. Jackie Toledo, the first candidate in the race and the second most successful fundraiser.

More than 13% of likely Primary voters remain undecided or won’t disclose who they support. But that leaves little support up for grabs as Lee sits on a 27-percentage-point lead.

The poll suggests significant shifts in the race since the last time St. Pete Polls published survey results from CD 15. In early August, the pollsters still found Lee leading but with 44% of the vote to Stargel’s 16% and Toledo’s 11%, with McGovern and Grimes each pulling 5%. Candidates’ gains appear to have come at Toledo’s expense according to the latest finding.

Regardless, the latest survey signals Lee may be in the process of securing a victory anyhow.

That’s striking as even Lee has spent much of her last minute Primary disbursements attacking both Stargel and Toledo.

Looking at crosstabs, nearly 43% of voters polled have already voted by mail or early. Of those voters, 52% already bubbled in Lee’s name. About 19% voted for Stargel and more than 10% went for McGovern. Toledo took 7% of the ballot share and Grimes picked up 6% of the vote.

The strong performance for Lee receives a lift from female voters, almost 53% of whom favor the Thonotosassa Republican over the rest of the field. By comparison, about 42% of men support Lee.

But Lee wins across all gender and age demographics. Stargel does better among older voters than younger ones, but Lee still leads Stargel 45% to 23% among voters aged 70 and up.

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