Florida Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera could be well-positioned to run for Congress if he wants to, according to a new poll obtained by the Miami Herald.
The robopoll found Lopez-Cantera leading a hypothetical three-way GOP primary field in the race to replace Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who represents Florida's Democratic-leaning 27th district. The survey was conducted by Front Porch Strategies on behalf of Public Concepts, a top Republican political consulting firm in West Palm Beach run by Randy Nielsen and Rich Johnston. Johnston advised Lopez-Cantera during his short-lived 2016 U.S. Senate campaign.
Lopez-Cantera would start the contest with 57 percent support, according to the poll, compared with 13 percent support for former Miami-Dade County School Board member Raquel Regalado and 3 percent for Miami-Dade Commissioner Bruno Barreiro, the only big-name Republican who's declared a candidacy. The error margin was plus-or-minus 5.6 percentage points.
In a potential general election against Miami Democratic state Sen. José Javier Rodríguez, Lopez-Cantera would lead by 41-34 percent, the poll found. The error margin was plus-or-minus 3.5 percentage points.
Robopolls usually skew Republican because they miss cellphone-only voters: young, minority and poor people who lean Democratic. But Front Porch had a large polling universe, surveying 301 likely Republican voters for its primary-election sample, and 805 likely voters for its general-election sample. It's the first poll made public since Ros-Lehtinen announced her retirement last month.
The poll also measured how favorably respondents viewed two other top Republicans, Gov. Rick Scott and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio -- and found more unfavorable than favorable opinions. For Scott, 41 percent of respondents viewed him unfavorably, compared to 30 percent who viewed him favorably. For Rubio, the figures were similar: 40 percent unfavorable, and 32 percent favorable.
For Lopez-Cantera, the numbers were 37 percent unfavorable and 55 percent favorable.
An earlier version of this post misstated Barreiro's percentage in the poll.
Photo credit: Al Diaz, MIami Herald staff