Two prominent Broward politicians have a big hurdle to surmount if they have any hope of winning the Democratic nomination for governor in 2014 – virtually no one in Florida knows anything about them.
That’s the finding of a Quinnipiac Poll of Florida voters conducted earlier this month. It didn’t explicitly assess them as candidates, instead measuring their favorability ratings.
Even though he’s a former state representative who rose to become one of the top
Among the rest, he had a favorable rating of 4 percent and an unfavorable rating of 3.
Rich is a former state representative and state senator who served two years as the
Kevin Hill, political science professor at Florida International University, summed up the challenge for Rich and Seiler: "Obviously nobody knows who they are."
Candidates can start from near zero and become known enough to win, Hill said, but that requires money. "The problem with using money to build name recognition is it's a Catch-22. You need money to build name recognition, but if nobody knows you they aren't going to give you any money."
Seiler said Friday the poll is irrelevant to the decision ha plans to make next year about whether he'll run.
"It's so early and I have never run on a statewide ballot before. I guess the nice thing is I would get to define myself to most of the public," he said. "If I am going to run statewide it is a tremendous amount of expense and a tremendous amount of work to get your name out.
"I'm going to make my decision based upon whether I think I can make Florida a better place. If it's an uphill battle, it'll be an uphill battle. But I'm going to base that on my own factors," Seiler said.
Rich said the poll won't affect her effort. She said she's always been planning to begin more active campaigning throughout the state beginning early in 2013, and has a Panhandle campaign swing scheduled for January.
"I'm out there building an infrastructure. It'll begin to show in the poll numbers as the year progresses," she said.
Both Rich and Seiler fared better among Democrats than
Quinnipiac surveyed 1,261 registered voters from Dec. 11-17. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.
Also faring poorly: potential candidates Orlando Mayor
Rich said Crist has "been a governor [and] run multiple times statewide, so his name recognition is obviously going to be a lot higher than anybody else's."
Mitch Ceasar, chairman of the Broward Democratic Party, said it would take time for Rich or Seiler to overcome the name recognition deficit, so they need to start raising money and campaigning soon.