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.
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.”