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Donna Shalala rakes in $100K with a high-profile Georgetown fundraiser. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

South Florida

New York Times poll gives Donna Shalala modest lead in CD 27 race

The New York Times wrapped its live poll in Florida’s 27th Congressional District, finding Democrat Donna Shalala leading Republican Maria Elvira Salazar by seven percentage points.

But Shalala, once considered a shoe-in, falls well short of majority support less than three weeks from Election Day, and a full 15 percent of voters remain undecided.

“The retirement of the Republican incumbent, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a Cuban-American, in a district Hillary Clinton won by 20 percentage points seemed to suggest an easy victory for Democrats,” the Times writes. “But it hasn’t worked out that way.”

The Upshot, a division of The Times, announced a partnership earlier this year with Siena College to poll the most competitive House and Senate races nationwide and report results after every phone call.

The effort in transparency and public education on polling provides live results, short nuggets on the players in each race and quotes from experts on the ground.

So far, that’s also included a finished poll in Florida’s 15th Congressional District, and there’s an ongoing poll in Florida’s 26th Congressional District.

While this poll showed the strongest performance to date for a Florida Democratic candidate, the Times also reports angst among party leaders.

“It shouldn’t even be this close,” a former chairman of the Miami-Dade County Democratic Party told The New York Times. “I know from my Republican friends that they’re kind of bullish. It has me nervous because it would be a devastating loss.”

The Times also blankets its coverage with disclaimers, explaining that in the end, pollsters made 33,769 phone calls but only spoke to 542 voters. That leaves a margin of error of 5 percent. The poll was conducted between Oct. 15 and 19.

Bottom line, the Times poll confirms the race’s tossup status. The Times shows a number of polls on the race showing a variety of results. RealClearPolitics, Cook Political Report both rate it as a toss-up, while Sabato’s Crystal Ball ranks it as “Leans Democratic.”

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Written By

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at jacobogles@hotmail.com.

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