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Vern Buchanan, David Shapiro

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Internal poll shows David Shapiro within striking distance of Vern Buchanan

A new internal poll from the David Shapiro campaign shows him trailing, but within striking distance of, Vern Buchanan in the race for Florida’s 16th Congressional District.

Conducted by ALG Research, the survey showed Shapiro earning 44 percent support among likely voters to Buchanan’s 48 percent — just within the poll’s 4.9 percent margin of error.

The poll, which sampled 400 people, ran from Aug. 22 to Aug. 25 and utilized live telephone interviews.

Since this is an internal poll, it should be noted that they routinely offer numbers more biased toward the campaigns releasing them, and should be a factor when assessing its reliability.

Nevertheless, if this is even in the ballpark of truly gauging the race, it’s good news for Shapiro. Analysts tend to see this seat sticking in the Republican column.

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But a four-point gap in the polls can easily be overcome by Election Day.

“Voters are turning on corrupt Congressman Vern Buchanan because they realize they deserve better than a Washington insider who uses his position in Congress to line his own pockets,” said Javier Hernandez, spokesperson for the Florida Democratic Party.

“It’s no mystery why Buchanan has been dodging his constituents lately: he is afraid to answer for his ethics problems and the fact he wrote a tax law to help the special interests bankrolling his political career and luxury lifestyle.”

Hernandez is referring there to the fact that Buchanan purchased a yacht on the same day House Republicans passed the first version of their tax cuts bill last year. It was later reported that Buchanan received a loan for that purchase from a company who was also lobbying in support of the tax bill.

Buchanan’s camp denied anything improper occurred regarding the yacht’s financing.

The Buchanan campaign also remains skeptical of Shapiro’s new poll, doubting it is an accurate reflection of the race.

“Obviously it’s a bogus push poll,” dismissed Buchanan campaign manager Max Goodman.

“If Shapiro could barely beat a no-show candidate in the Democrat primary after outspending her 50-to-1, he sure isn’t within striking distance of Vern. The fact that he would release a phony poll after such a poor showing shows just how demoralized and panicked he is.”

On Tuesday, Shapiro defeated Jan Schneider by just over 9 percentage points despite heavily outspending her during the primary. Then again, Buchanan did spend big on anti-Shapiro ads throughout the primary, which may have held down his numbers among Democrats who are likely to come back to him during the general.

While there’s no clear evidence the poll was outright “bogus,” a four-point margin doesn’t quite line up with the shape of the race right now, according to other data.

A FiveThirtyEight analysis of the race shows Buchanan with an expected margin of victory of just under 10 points, per available data. That would give him just under a 90 percent chance of winning the race, their model shows.

Written By

Ryan Nicol covers news out of South Florida for Florida Politics. Ryan is a native Floridian who attended undergrad at Nova Southeastern University before moving on to law school at Florida State. After graduating with a law degree he moved into the news industry, working in TV News as a writer and producer, along with some freelance writing work. If you'd like to contact him, send an email to ryan.t.nicol@gmail.com.

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