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Tallahassee Voices Survey Is A 'Beauty Contest' Between Local Candidates

Local Candidates (left to right) Eric Friall, Sabrina M. Allen, Brian Lee (campaign manager for Daniel Parker) and Akin Akinyemi.

A recent Tallahassee Voices survey is shedding some light on how voters feel about the field of candidates seeking public office Leon County and the City of Tallahassee. The survey reads more like a popularity contest for local elected officials and contenders.

“We basically asked are you aware of so-and-so, and do you have favorable, neutral or unfavorable opinions of that person," said lead researcher Philip Downs.

A poll of more than 300 likely voters shows politicians that have been around the longest are also the ones with the highest unfavorable ratings. Among them are Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell at 40 percent, former Tallahassee Mayor Scott Maddox at 38 percent and Leon County Commissioner Akin Akinyemi at 30 percent unfavorable. Akineymi along with superintendent challenger Sabrina M. Allen and county commission candidate Eric Friall were on hand for the survey findings and had lots of questions.

Downs says the poll, taken in the middle of July, isn’t an indicator who will win an election.

“We didn’t ask people why you have a favorable or unfavorable rating. With so few people turning out for these local elections, 30 percent maybe,  if you’re a good politician and you mobilize the right set of people, even if you have negatives of 30-35 percent, it’s not going to eliminate you from the race.”   

Leon County School Superintendent Jackie Pons had the highest favorability rating at 65 percent, followed by County Commissioner Brian Deslodge at 61 percent and City Commissioner Andrew Gillum at 55 percent.

Candidates with the highest citizen awareness:

  • School Superintendent Jackie Pons – 89% awareness
  • County Commissioner Brian Desloge – 82% awareness
  • City Commissioner Andrew Gillum Gillum – 81% awareness
  • Scott Maddox – 80% awareness
  • Leon County Sheriff Campbell – 80% awareness
  • Clerk of Court Bob Inzer – 77% awareness
  • Mary Ann Lindley – 72%

Candidates with the highest positives:

  • Leon County School Superintendent Jackie Pons – 65%
  • County Commissioner Brian Desloge – 61%
  • City Commissioner Andrew Gillum – 55%
  • Clerk of Court Bob Inzer – 48%
  • Mary Ann Lindley – 44%
  • Leon County School Board Member Crumpler – 43%
  • Scott Maddox – 42%

Candidates with the highest negatives

  • Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell – 40%
  • Scott Maddox – 38%
  • County Commissioner Akin Akinyemi – 30%
  • Clerk of Court Bob Inzer – 29%
  • Steve Stewart – 29%
  • Mary Ann Lindley – 28%
  • Cynthia Turner – 28%