JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The mayoral race is neck and neck according to a new poll released by UNF Monday.
That poll also found there’s one issue motivating voters more than anything else: Crime.
According to the poll, Democrat Donna Deegan holds a one-point lead over Republican Daniel Davis.
It’s a dramatic shift compared to past polls that showed Deegan with solid leads between eight and 15 points over Davis.
“I think it’s an extremely close race,” said UNF political science professor Dr. Michael Binder.
Binder said voters spoke loudly when it came to their top issue: Crime.
According to the poll, 47% of voters named it as their top issue, while every other issue failed to break 10%.
Binder said he finds some irony in the result, as other polls conducted by the university have found most Duval residents feel safe in their own neighborhoods.
“It’s everywhere else. The problem is, you know, if every single neighborhood feels safe in their neighborhood maybe we should all feel safe in Jacksonville,” said Binder.
The Davis campaign has gone on the offense on the issue of crime, releasing an ad painting Deegan as soft on crime.
“I went to every one of those Black Lives Matter Protests,” said Deegan in a clip played multiple times throughout the attack ad.
Deegan recently responded with her own ad, defending her public safety agenda.
“I support our police and have the plan to keep our neighborhoods safe and healthy,” said Deegan in her new TV spot.
Deegan told us on Monday she’s confident voters will see through the noise.
“People know me in this city. They know I’ve worked with the police. They know that I’m pro-law enforcement. It is just an attempt to scare people,” said Deegan.
Davis on the other hand, said he feels confident with the support of local law enforcement, voters who care about crime will support his candidacy.
“They know I’m going to be the right partner with them and we’re going to provide a safer more affordable Jacksonville,” said Davis.
With only 5% of the voters undecided according to the poll, Dr. Binder argued turnout will be key come Election Day, and both candidates have their own unique challenges in that realm.
For Deegan, Binder said that means mobilizing the Black vote and NPA voters.
For Davis, he said it means earning the support of those who voted for other Republican candidates in March.
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