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Poll shows Rice with big lead in 2012 Pinellas County Sheriff's race, Rice campaign says



PINELLAS COUNTY -- In a poll unlikely to surprise many Republican voters, 52 percent of Pinellas Republicans said they would "probably" or "definitely" vote for former longtime Sheriff Everett Rice over Chief Deputy Bob Gualtieri for sheriff in 2012, according to a survey released this week by Rice's campaign.

The poll showed 9 percent supported Gualtieri's bid, 35 percent were undecided and 3 percent declined to say which way they were leaning. The poll by Voter Survey Service surveyed 601 likely Republican voters by phone June 6-8. It had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

The poll also showed that Rice leads in name recognition, with 81 percent of voters saying they were “aware” of Rice, who served as sheriff from 1988 to 2004. Sixty percent of respondents said they recognized the name of fellow Republican candidate Gualtieri. Gualtieri became the agency’s general counsel in 2006 and was tapped as chief deputy in 2008, but spent many years with the department in the 1980s and 1990s as a deputy.

The poll skewed older, with 60 percent of those polled over the age 60. Rice is 66; Gualtieri is 49.

--Rita Farlow, Times staff writer

[Last modified: Friday, June 10, 2011 2:57pm]


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