State Rep. Jose Felix Diaz holds a narrow lead over fellow state Rep. Ana Rivas Logan, with most voters still undecided, according to a new poll on the race between the two Miami Republicans who find themselves battling over the same seat after once-a-decade redistricting.
If the election were held today, 31 percent of respondents said they would vote for Diaz and 24.7 percent for Logan, with 44.3 percent undecided, according to the survey conducted by Miami pollster Dario Moreno. The margin of error for the poll of 300 likely Republican voters is 4.5 percent.
Moreno said he polled the race on behalf of a business group that asked to remain unnamed but authorized Moreno to release the poll results. Neither he nor the business group is working for either of the candidates, he said. Logan questioned the poll's results.
The race between Logan and Diaz, pitting two GOP incumbents against each other, is one of the most closely watched in Miami-Dade. An anonymous campaign flier attacked Logan as early as January -- eight months before the August election and weeks before the new House legislative district boundaries confirmed that the two sophomore state representatives would be in the same seat.
Moreno's poll shows that Logan is better known in the district, which overlaps with her old school board district. But Diaz, who this year served as vice-chairman of the Miami-Dade legislative delegation, is leading the survey thanks to more support from Spanish-speaking voters in the largely Hispanic district. Both Logan and Diaz are Hispanic -- though Diaz's name perhaps sounds more so.
Logan questioned the validity of the poll, saying Moreno polled the race a couple of months ago (for Malaysian casino giant Genting) and she held a 30-point lead. She also said she suspects Diaz is behind the poll, because it coincides with his campaign mailing fliers and advertising on Spanish-language television.
"This was oh-so-timed perfectly," she said. "My numbers tell me I'm 30 points ahead of him."
Moreno said that Logan was, in fact, leading Diaz a couple of months ago -- by about 20 points.
"I was surprised by these results" of the new poll, he said. "I thought it would be close, but I didn't think think he would be ahead." Support for relatively unknown state lawmakers, Moreno noted, is usually "soft" and can change easily and quickly. Logan disagreed.
She said Diaz's campaign is telling voters that she is not Cuban-American. Logan was born in Nicaragua to Cuban exiles; Diaz was born in Miami, also to exile parents.
"We will straighten that out," Logan said. "We will get the message out that I'm just as Cuban as he is."
Diaz dismissed the suggestion that his campaign would be disputing Logan's ethnic background. "I don't know anyone who would do that," he said.
He also said he was not behind the poll and chalked up the lead to his efforts to reach out to voters. "I think that hard work and perseverance will carry the day," he said. "The poll that counts is on Election Day."