BrowardBeat Exclusive Poll: Geller Losing By Double Digits

BY JIM KANE Pollster

Most political observers would agree the District 6 County Commission race has developed into the most talked about and, of course, the most negative campaign in Broward County’s political history. This epic battle began over two years ago when Steve Geller announced his intention to challenge Sue Gunzburger in her reelection bid for County Commissioner.

Since then, both candidates have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for a district that has only 8000 likely Democratic Primary voters. Both candidates began TV and direct mail attack ads as early as May of this year, some four months prior to the election.  And both candidates have made this election personal.

Back in July, 2008, the BrowardBeat.Com published our poll setting the base-line for this race which showed both candidates very popular, but with Steve Geller having far more “very favorable ratings than Sue Gunzburger. When placed in a “head to head match-up, Geller had a 14% lead at the time, making him the early front runner. We  noted then that this poll was done absent of any campaigning and only reflected the current popularity of both candidates.

But after the mud bath both have taken in the past four months, it appears that Sue has taken a significant lead going into the final week — 51-30 percent with 19 percent undecided.

In Table 1, we show a comparison of our two surveys, one taken in July, 2008, and, the most recent poll completed from August 14 to August 16, 2010, of 403 likely Democratic Primary voters (see Methodology below).

                                                            Table 1

Later this month Democratic voters will be able to select a candidate for August July
District 6 County Commission.  If the Democratic Primary was held today, who 2010 2008
would you vote for if it was between: [READ AND ROTATE]  Steve Geller and    
Suzanne Gunzburger?    
  % %
1=Steve Geller 30 42
2=Suzanne Gunzburger 51 28
3=Don’t Know/Undecided 19 30
Total 100.00 100.00


As the table shows, Geller has gone from a 14-point lead to a 21 point deficit, a net loss of 35 points in two years. How did this happen? First, let’s start with the premise that vote choice is determined by a voter’s “impression of both candidates, realizing that no contested election is done in a vacuum. Our instrument for voters’ impressions is the common favorability rating used in most common political polls. This question determines “name recognition and how positive or negative a voter feels about the challenging candidates.

In table 2, we display the changes in favorability ratings for Sue Gunzburger that have occurred over the last two years.

                                                Table 2

  2010 2008
Next, how would you rate:  Suzanne Gunzburger    
  % %
1=Very Favorable 29 17
2=Mostly Favorable 29 36
3=Mostly Unfavorable 12 5
4=Very Unfavorable 8 1.00
5=Never Heard of person/Do not recognize name 8 31
6=Recognize name but neither favorable nor unfavorable 14 10
Total 100.00 100.00


The table clearly shows how Sue’s numbers have overall improved. Her name recognition has jumped from 69% (true name recognition 59%) to 92% (true name recognition 78%), and her total “very favorable responses increased from 17% to 29%. Her total negative responses have increased as well, but compared to Geller’s negatives and the negativity of the two campaigns, they seem relatively low. Now look at Table 3 and see how the campaign has influenced voters’ impression of Steve Geller.

                                                Table 3

  2010 2008
Next, how would you rate:  Steve Geller    
  % %
1=Very Favorable 14 22
2=Mostly Favorable 24 33
3=Mostly Unfavorable 18 5
4=Very Unfavorable 21 3
5=Never Heard of person/Do not recognize name 9 23
6=Recognize name but neither favorable nor unfavorable 14 14
Total 100 100


Unlike Gunzburger’s rating, Geller’s positive responses have significantly declined. His “very favorable responses fell 8% to 14%, and, his “mostly favorable rating fell 9% to 24%, a total decline in positive responses of 17%.

While Geller’s positives fell dramatically, his total negatives jumped an amazing 31%, from 8% to 39%!  

The only good news for Geller in these numbers is that his name recognition increased from 77% (true name recognition 63%) to 91% (true name recognition 77%).

So how did all this happen? Well the data doesn’t give us that answer, but we have to conclude that the attack ads of Sue Gunzburger resonated far better with voters than the ads produced by Steve Geller.

In addition, Sue Gunzburger deftly used the environment of ethics reform to her benefit. In a political year when being an incumbent should be a negative, she turned it into a positive.

Her railing against lobbyists and even her own colleagues on the commission, accusing them of trying to undermine ethics reform, morphed her from an insider to an outsider being persecuted by special interests.

And Sheriff Al Lamberti’s awkward investigation into Gunzburger’s  late husband’s sale of  recycled outdoor furniture to the county –she was quickly cleared of any wrongdoing —  only contributed to this perception.

Finally, let’s be clear that any survey is snap shot in time and that the real battle begins with the grassroots campaign. Geller does have strong support from unions who will undoubtedly be in force on Election Day. And even though this survey would suggest Steve Geller has a steep hill to climb before the asphalt runs out, anything can still happen. After all, this is Geller versus Gunzburger isn’t it?


From August 14 through August 16, 2010, telephone interviews with 403 registered Broward County Democrats living in County Commission District 6 were conducted.  The survey sample was obtained from a list of registered Democratic voters who had a history of voting in one of the last two county primary elections. Respondents were randomly selected from this list and qualified as to residency and that they were currently registered to vote at their current address.

The confidence level for the survey is 95% with a margin of error or +/- 4.9 % (this margin of error varies slightly on each proportional type question depending on the amount of difference between proportions.) This means that in 19 out of 20 surveys of this kind, the results would be within the defined margin of error. In addition to sampling error, other sources of error due to question wording, question order, and other difficulties of in measurement can bias the results of all surveys.


Jim Kane is one of South Florida’s premier pollsters and political strategists, appearing regularly on national television and in the national print media. He currently teaches graduate seminars at the University of Florida in survey research, political behavior, political campaigning and political parties and interest groups. He has written numerous papers on politics for publications such as Political Research Quarterly and won an American Political Science Association Award in 2004 for the best paper in the state and local elections section. Kane was the first Democratic pollster to work for the Republican Party of Florida.


31 Responses to “BrowardBeat Exclusive Poll: Geller Losing By Double Digits”

  1. Geller Lies says:

    So Steve is getting his just rewards. All I can say is that he deserves the loss heading his way.

  2. WOW ........ says:

    hahahahha….. a poll of sue gunzburger supporters doesn’t mean anything….. she is living in her own little bubble.

  3. Too Bad says:

    David Brown and Steve Geller must be stuffing their faces at the buffet table to get over their failure. Brown is toast in Broward since he lost his judicial races two years ago and is going to lose this race in a week.

  4. Buddy Nevins says:

    Steve Geller sent me this responsed to the poll:

    Broward Beat just published a poll that showed that I am losing the District 6 County Commission race to Sue by 325% , or some other such outlandish number. I don’t believe it.

    The last 8 days have been terrible for Sue. She has been attacked by her colleagues, called “paranoid” by the Miami Herald, and thoroughly chastised in the Sun-Sentinel. Former Senator Skip Campbell said that Sue was lying in her “Scarlet Letter” ad to gain a political advantage. The “word on the street” is that it’s a very close race, but that most people believe that I’m ahead. The pollster that took this poll advised me that before he took it, he believed that I was ahead.

    We have had Labor working hard on my behalf. In fact, Sue’s only Private Sector Union Supporter (Unite Here) announced Yesterday that they had withdrawn their support for Sue. The Firefighters and other unions working and calling for me have advised me that they are receiving an excellent reception.

    The number of supervoters with accurate phone numbers in this district is not very large, and they are getting disgusted with the amount of phone calls that they are receiving. I cannot tell what effect this would have on a polls accuracy.

    A poll is a snapshot in time. They are good predictors, especially when there are a lot of polls with similar results over a period of time. Sometimes they’re wrong, especially when there is only one poll, which shows different results from all other polls, and which seems to defy the common feeling. As I’m sure Jim Kane himself would advise you, it’s dangerous and foolish to rely on only one poll document.

    I continue to believe that in this very competitive race, that we will emerge victorious on Tuesday, August 24.

    Steve Geller

  5. Geller Desperate says:

    To be attacked by County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman and Stacy Ritter who newspapers say are under investigation by a multi-unit task force is a compliment.

    Voters might want to ask themselves how much they will end up paying for the deals Geller made with unions to get their support. Gunzburger didn’t get their support because she told them we are in a recession and the taxpayers can’t afford any more.

    Union support = Taxpayers pay.

  6. Fake Dan Louis says:

    Sue or Steve, I predict which ever one of you has ever wronged me least will win in my poll 55-45 but if you do a mailpiece with me I predict my poll will have you at 70-30.

    Work of Satire, I would never wish to imply that there is any thing questionable with Dan Louis or his polls

  7. Aap says:

    Ha ha ha, Steve. Thanks for the good laugh.

    The pollster that took this poll advised me that before he took it, he believed that I was ahead.

    Well, Steve, he obvious thinks you’re losing big time now!!! Cuz the pollster wrote the article. Buddy wrote how you waved this same guy’s 2008 poll around for months saying how accurate it was when you were leading. Now that you’re losing you don’t believe the poll is good. What a sleazy pathetic f’ing loser joke you’ve become Geller.

    Promise us this: when you lose next week by at least 20 points that you never again run for anything in Broward. Consider that your crowning act of public service to us.

  8. Hey Steve says:

    Jim Kane did a poll two years ago that showed you ahead. How come you agreed with that poll and not this one?

  9. Tommy the Fry Cook says:

    So there’s been an inexplicable 35% (or whatever it is) swing in the polls? Yeah, right. Let’s put it this way:

    If pollsters knew what they were doing, Al Gore would have won Florida and the Dark Age of George Bush would never have occurred.

    So what could have contributed to Sue’s change in poll numbers?

    Was it her list of legislative accomplishments? No, that can’t be it because she doesn’t HAVE any legislative accomplishments.

    Was it was the ringing endorsement of her commission colleagues? No, because they hate her guts, calling her a liar and a hypocrite and giving her the biggest public shredding of an elected official in Broward history.

    Was it all the favorable press? No, because it’s all been negative.

    Was it all the lies, distortions, and evil-minded misrepresentations she’s been hurling at Geller for months? Well, you might have something there.

    But wait, here’s an idea: MAYBE IT WAS JUST SLOPPY POLLING!!

    If you think that never happens, go discuss it with President Gore.

  10. Buddy says:



  11. Aap says:


    Sue has gotten tons of favorable press, she is endorsed by the Miami Herald, the cops, Equality Florida, the Sierra Club, the Black Caucus, United Condo Assns of Hallandale, Bob Butterworth, and 9 of the dustrict’s 17 mayors/city commissioners (vs 6 who are with Geller), and she’s endorsed by the Presidents of the giant Hollybrook and Century Village and Olympus condos. And Sue’s scumbag colleagues are helping Geller Maybe that’s why Sue had such a big lead now.

    Or you can keep sipping the Kook-Aid on your cruise to Gellertown aboard the Titanic (Aka: SS Geller)!

  12. watcher says:

    good for you buddy on your offer…i have no horse in this race i find all this posturing by some supporters to be very sad

  13. Rosa says:


    You seem to forget that Gore actually did win Florida…don’t you remember Sue counting the chads? Perhaps you were hanging out with Katherine Harris that day?

    And a simple analysis of your writing style would prove you are David Brown. You CAPITALIZE in the same manner.

  14. Hey Steve says:

    Steve Geller was the wrong candidate (lobbyist) for these times when the public is sick of Broward’s ethical lapses and is looking for clean government.

  15. Aap says:

    Sue Gunzburger for Broward County STRONG Mayor in 2012 (or 2014)!

  16. David Brown says:

    TO: roSA,

    i AM NOT Tommy OR ANYONE ELSE BUT mE. If you have nothing better to do than analIZE MY CAPITALIzATion STYLE…you need to get a life.

  17. Samuel Lurie says:

    You write Steve that “Campbell said that Sue was lying in her “Scarlet Letter” ad to gain a political advantage”

    Since we are seeing this accusation on television, what is a lie about this? All the ad says is you voted for the law. Did you or didn’t you?

  18. T. R. says:

    The poll is believable for the reason that as an active Democrat, I have never seen a worse one than Steve Geller’s. His negative ad on TV has Ilene Lieberman attacking Sue. The only one Geller can get to support him on TV is a county commissioner being investigated! Sue has ads about being endorsed by Bob Butterworth. The better campaign?

  19. Fan of Robespierre says:

    I wish for the day when they both could be behind in the polls.

  20. They Both Stink says:

    I love Robespierre’s post. Both candidates have so much baggage to carry I am surprized they can stand up straight. Thnakfully I don’t live in their district so I don’t have to try to pick between two such flawed candidates. They both have fed at the public trough for way to long. I guess that if I was voting I would hold my nose and vote for Gunzberger but believe me she stinks, just not as bad as Geller.

  21. AMarkoff says:

    This perception of Geller losing to Gunzburger isn’t about an accurate depiction of either candidate’s ethical history, and it isn’t about how either candidate has truly served their constituents throughout their political careers. It also isn’t about who has garnered the support of cohorts and political allies and who hasn’t, or about who has effectively pursued progress on behalf of our quality of life as opposed to whichever candidate has done little to nothing to improve it.

    This is actually about little more- very little more- than Steve Geller being photo-shopped holding wads of cash, his face coming up on a slot machine on another mailing, and his face and figure being superimposed in the driver’s seat of a bulldozer, all with the words “SLEAZY” and “GREED” and “DEVELOPERS” being emblazoned above and about quotes from the gossip columns amongst the phone-sex line ads in the local rags.

    The Gunzburger campaign has targeted and pursued the lesser-informed voters who will likely vote based on their personal comfort level with public images in campaign advertising. Low-information voters are probably less likely to vote based on talking to residents of the district and learning the history of how we have been represented in both Broward and in Tallahassee over the last few decades.

    Should Sue win, she’ll be overwhelmed with happiness. Her relief and joy will overwhelm what she really should be feeling: shame and disgust for disparaging and degrading and humiliating a man with photo-shopped images, insults and flat-out lies that no matter what the cynics counter with in the comments section, he did not deserve and actually did not engender. Plenty of cynics and political blog lurkers enjoy insulting local public figures and insinuating misdeeds because of rumors and personal agendas, let alone because there’s more than enough nefarious sorts and circumstances to go around in South Florida. But the true record, the true efficacy and the true demonstration of leadership will not be borne out if the prediction of the poll discussed here turns out to be accurate enough.

    We should have less concern about who’s actually interested in ethics reforms on the commission after one candidate has been there under the current and previous paradigm for many, many years and the other candidate has actually fought and won the legislative battles to better our lives and our communities. We should instead be more concerned about the lies, the insults and the imagery that money can buy and that can sway elections so boldly in one direction or another- when what we should all really want is a better exercise in democracy in every election.

  22. Truthiness says:

    Andrew: you’re missing the point if Gunzburger’s mail because you’re a Geller supporter and don’t want to see the truth.

    The photoshopped images of Geller are comically done to portray as a caricature what Geller really is: a sleazy developer lobbyist. Everything Sue wrote about Geller was true and thoroughly sourced so that anyone and everyone could look up those Herald, Sentinel & New Times articles (compete and in context on her website), plus the original source documents like his lobbyist registration forms.

    But there also are two key ideological differences between the two. Sue is a staunch environmentalist who has voted against countless projects (and successfully blocked several odious ones) vs Geller who is pro growth for any development anywhere. The other is overall philosophy. Sue is a progressive who was one of the 2 state co-chairs of the Howard Dean campaign in 2004. Steve, at the same time in response to MoveOn, the Dean movement, and so on, declared himself a Blue Dog Democrat and founded a group named Fla Mainstream Democrats (implying progressives were outside the mainstream).

    Why you are choosing to stand on the wrong side of that divide, Andrew, I have no idea.

  23. AMarkoff says:

    I don’t agree that Steve Geller is “sleazy,” Mr. ‘Truthiness.’ I don’t agree that he would be “pro growth for any development anywhere.” While Sue may claim that she has her principles, and while her pro-environment stance and progressive politics may be entirely in line with my own (although I’ve never been a Dean admirer but instead a Kucinich fan), and while I’m opposed to overgrowth and ugly development, Sue Gunzburger has not engendered the respect and the gratitude of too many local officials and members of the community in Broward that have asked for her help over so many years. Steve Geller, however, has been responsive and pro-active in regards to pursuing his constituent’s interests, which requires a balance of listening to a variety of demands while evaluating the political environment at hand.

    The Florida Mainstream Democrats lists their founder and their participants on their website:

    “Florida Mainstream Democrats was founded by Todd Wilder. Wilder is a Democratic
    consultant based in Tallahassee. Another individual associated with this
    organization is Becky Wilson, Treasurer. Legislators assisting in fundraising for
    Florida Mainstream Democrats are Representative Joseph Abruzzo, Representative
    Janet Long and Senator Dave Aronberg.”

    Steve Geller is not listed there. Any political alliance, however, does not necessarily reflect core values, but instead can reflect a degree of pragmatism in a very right-wing and often a very nefarious environment in Tallahassee that can prevent any sort of progress whatsoever when participants in the process are unwilling to communicate and participate. I am, by the way, a very determined supporter of Dan Gelber for Attorney General and NOT Dave Aronberg.

    The anger and frustration expressed at Sue Gunzburger on the county commission has less to do with an unwillingness to progress on ethics and more to do with Sue’s modus operandi over the years in dealing with others from who she should have garnered cooperation. While she’s portrayed herself as so vociferously pro-ethics reforms at present, where was she over the last almost 20 years?? How many ‘selection committees’ has she just recently appointed herself on?

    I am standing on the divide of effective political maneuvering in a very tricky and mistrustful environment: Broward County, S. Florida, Florida, America. We need an effective, responsive and astute politician to take the district forward and improve quality of life, not more of freezing out of perceived enemies and entire municipalities that Sue had decided aren’t a priority for her.

    In other words, your good principles cannot effect progress if you’re too often an obstructionist who has refused to respect, cajole and cooperate with your cohorts. There’s a commissioner where I live with the same problems: expressing good principles but accomplishing exactly nothing other than acting as an obstructionist whose agenda ends up being ignored by the other commissioners.

    Steve Geller is proven as a good Senator representing the district. His lobbying activities did not destroy our lives and obstruct what his constituents have really wanted (the photo of the Beach Club towers in Hallandale Beach on Sue’s latest mailing is obviously intended to imply that Steve Geller was behind the project getting the go-ahead in court, but if Sue Gunzburger had been around at the time, she had obviously failed to prevent the monstrosities from being built despite the city’s fight against them over many years, and Geller certainly wasn’t fighting for the go-ahead to build them).

    Representing developers as a lawyer and ensuring that their interests do not control the agenda as a state senator is a balance that can only be achieved if ordinary, individual constituents have been satisfied that their interests have been well attended to.

    Freezing any kind of progress, even allowing aged and less viable real estate to fester rather than expressing and pursuing ideas that could improve viability, is not in the end going to necessarily improve a community’s quality of life.

    Someone had posted a sentence on BrowardBeat that brilliantly said it all about the race between Gunzburger and Geller:

    “Really, this is like choosing between being frozen to death or roasting to death.”

    Gunzburger’s apparent tendency to freeze out cohorts and officials whose support she would have been grateful for now hasn’t served her or her district well, and progress on the district’s quality of life is questionable. Geller is an accomplished and savvy politician, so we as voters are always taking a risk that such politicos are smarter and more scheming than the rest of us. We have to watch vigilantly if we don’t want to be roasted by the influences of special interests.

    I fully understand the image that is created by Geller’s lobbying activities, and I can certainly see how “the photo-shopped images of Geller… comically done to portray a caricature” can be an effectively mean-spirited way to exploit Geller’s persona and his interactions with business interests. That doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that Steve Geller has placed business interests above the interests of our environment and progressive policies that could benefit ordinary people all the time and at any cost. There’s a balance needed to successfully navigate amongst some others who have just about zero good intentions in Florida and American politics.

    We have a choice of true progress being frozen by a continuing attitude of dismissiveness. That choice includes a lack of solution-oriented policies that navigate the interests of businesses and the politicians who want to continually increase millage rates via density. We also have a choice of an astute politician who’s been responsive to local officials and constituents over the years. I’ve chosen to go for that “roasting.”

    Steve Geller isn’t a cherub with a halo hanging over his head, and my support hasn’t caused me to idolize him. I’m careful. I’m skeptical of everyone in local politics. But I also trust in myself to participate in the process as it goes forward and keep my eye on the game and see the complexity of issues rather than the simple conclusions that don’t really provide as clear a picture as some want to believe they do. We need an effective and pro-active politician who listens to cohorts and local officials and who has a personality that is open to ideas from others. We need someone who doesn’t simply complain about density but actually pursues ideas to improve quality of life given the circumstances we’re in.

    This race did not have to be nasty, and Steve Geller is not deserving of total disrespect. Sue Gunzburger’s past record and her family’s involvement in county politics have rightfully engendered some scrutiny. I haven’t seen her photo-shopped, however, and I haven’t seen her made to look comical and ridiculous and purposefully humiliated as a caricature. I wouldn’t support that. I do support Gunzburger’s principles as she portrays them, but in regards to effective representation and principles that are evidenced by action, I support Steve Geller for that commission seat.

  24. Truthiness says:

    Andrew – You only need to do a little more newspaper article research on Google to see that Geller is a Blue Dig:


    ”I think our primary goal is to elect Democrats,” said Sen. Steve Geller, the Hallandale Beach Democrat who leads the [Florida Mainstream Democrats] organization. “Our secondary goal is to remind moderate to conservative voters in the state of Florida that the Democratic Party really does represent them as well.”

    Geller said the group’s philosophical ties are close to the Democratic Leadership Council, the national, moderate Democratic group that represents the more conservative wing of the party and that helped elect President Bill Clinton and bring other Southern Democrats to prominence.

  25. Gumby says:

    It is amazing that with the Commissioners being investigated and one in jail a lobbyist would run for the county commission. How can voters even consider voting for a lobbyist?

  26. AMarkoff says:

    The Democratic Leadership Council and the Blue Dog Democrats do not hold and operate coalitions on the Broward County Commission. While Geller may hold his own political philosophies, I also hold mine, and I do not go quietly into that good night. Both Steve and Sue know that I speak up, and Steve’s the one who has taken the time to provide answers and explanations to me one on one. But besides whatever I want from government, I’ve talked to other present and past officials about their experiences attempting to get assistance from both candidates over the years. That has been the biggest influence on me in this race.

  27. Sue says:


    The poll wasn’t done scientifically.


  28. Steverino says:

    To All those questioning about Steve Geller in the Senate.
    While in the state Senate, Steve Geller was part of the business lobby and very friendly with the conservative Republicans. That is why the republicans made him chair of the agriculture committee. He was known to be the friendly member of the Senate to the gambling interests.
    He used his Senate seat to further his own lobbying business for developers by sponsoring legislation that would take away the Broward County Commission’s power to regulate land use. It was all well written up at the time.
    This is the kind of commissioner he would be. He would be in the pocket of the special interests as he was in the Senate.

  29. AMarkoff says:

    Yes, but what kind of commissioner has Sue Gunzburger been, and I mean before she had an opponent when she is facing her last term and her opportunity to get that county pension in two years? Why hasn’t the county, the county commission and city officials been thrilled with Sue Gunzburger over the last 18 years? If Sue’s principles are in the right place, then where’s the evidence of her district’s quality of life being attended to by a truly responsive county commissioner? Shouldn’t Steve Geller answer as to why he supported removing land use regulation from the county commission rather than Sue’s attack ads only portraying our former state senator as an evil cartoon character? This campaign could have been run on addressing real issues and actual history in the district and in the state senate, not nasty and degrading attacks. But then again, perhaps… just perhaps… that’s all that Sue had to go on.

  30. Hootey says:

    Any time a candidate goes against the will of the people it’s fatal. Steve Geller’s ties to development are well known in Broward County; the people for the most part are against further development, especially on the Beach. Why wouldn’t people vote for Sue Gunzburger knowing she is against over development and stopping the concrete jungle and further density problems? Hollywood has enough problems with their City Commissioner (Asseff) from District 1 who is also pro-development. IMO, the only reason she was elected was that the vote was split between Case and Anderson and I seiously doubt she will be re-elected as she has voted against the will of the people in District 1 time and time again. Steve Geller would never defeat a candidate like Gunzburger for the same reason.

  31. AMarkoff says:

    Hootey, Geller lost by only twelve hundred votes. Gunzburger can’t stop development with one vote. She has to convince other commissioners to agree with her. While Gunzburger is relatively popular in Hollywood, she is very unpopular in Hallandale, where Geller is liked and respected. It’s not just the will of the people. It’s whether or not the people feel that they’re being listened to in regards to any and all of their queries and communications to their representatives.