Democratic challenger David Shapiro is still 10 points behind U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan in his effort to beat the incumbent’s reelection effort, according to the newest poll.
A new survey from St. Pete Polls commissioned by Florida Politics shows 44 percent of voters in Florida’s 16th Congressional District would vote for Buchanan in the election were held today, and 34.5 percent would back Shapiro. Another 21.5 percent remain undecided.
That puts the race within single digits — just barely. But the news comes as political handicappers move this race closer to toss-up territory. Cook Political Report earlier this month moved the race into the “Lean Republican” column. Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball for some time has said the same.
The St. Pete Polls survey found 44.2 percent of voters in the district have a favorable view of Buchanan, a six-term incumbent, while 38.3 have an unfavorable view of him; 17.5 percent remain undecided.
By comparison, 33.6 percent view Shapiro favorably, and 28.8 percent see him as unfavorable. The Democrat’s biggest issue may be that 37.5 percent remain unsure.
The poll shows Buchanan winning 65.7 percent of Republicans and 16.5 percent of Democrats, while Shapiro takes 58.9 percent of Democrats and 17 percent of Republicans.
Independents break for the incumbent, with 40.5 percent supporting Buchanan and 33.9 percent backing Shapiro, with the rest undecided.
Buchanan’s most noticeable weakness comes among minority voters. Among black voters, Shapiro wins 31.4 percent of the vote while Buchanan takes 27.5 percent. Hispanic voters break evenly, with both candidates taking 38.1 percent of the vote.
Among white voters, Buchanan leads with 45.5 percent to Shapiro’s 34.9 percent.
Buchanan also loses among voters ages 50 to 69, a demographic Shapiro wins with 43 percent to the incumbent’s 41.1 percent. But Buchanan wins all other age breakdowns in the poll, and takes 51.4 percent of voters age 70 and up compared to 29.7 percent who back Shapiro.
Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling in April released a poll showing Buchanan with a 12-point lead, and showed an extremely tight race among “very excited” voters.
And in FL-16 Vern Buchanan won 60-40 in 2016. He only leads Democrat David Shapiro 49-37 now, and among the 58% of voters who are 'very excited' to turn out this year, his lead shrinks to 48-44
— PublicPolicyPolling (@ppppolls) April 26, 2018
Buchanan currently serves as co-chair of Florida’s Congressional delegation. He also boasts about $2.5 million in cash on hand, according to second quarter reports, while Shapiro has upward of $785,000.
The poll surveyed 681 likely voters registered to vote in the 16th district. The survey has a 3.8 percent margin of error and pollsters report a 95 percent confidence level.