A new survey commissioned by the Donna Shalala campaign shows she’s favored to win a second term representing Florida’s 27th Congressional District.
The poll, obtained by Florida Politics, shows Shalala earning 50% of the vote. Shalala’s Republican opponent, Maria Elvira Salazar, is earning 43%, while the remaining 7% of voters are still undecided.
The internal poll was conducted by Bendixen & Amandi International and ran from Oct. 9-13. It sampled 500 likely voters in CD 27 and has a margin of error of 4.4 percentage points.
The margin of error applies to both candidates’ results, meaning Shalala’s 7-point lead isn’t wholly outside that margin. The result is, however, in line with her 2018 win over Salazar, when Shalala won the open seat by 6 percentage points.
Unsurprisingly, the Shalala poll conflicts with a mid-September survey from the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) showing Salazar with a 46%-43% lead. Publicly released polls backed by campaigns or partisan groups should be taken with a dose of skepticism. Though the findings can be accurate, these groups have an incentive to withhold internal polls showing poor results for their preferred candidate and only release favorable polls to the public.
Shalala’s internal survey also polled the 2020 presidential contest. Those results show the Democratic incumbent has room to improve her lead, as Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden is pulling in 54% of the vote. President Donald Trump has just 41% support.
While that’s good news in one respect for Shalala, it could cause some concern for Democrats. In 2016, Trump lost the district by 20 points despite winning Florida overall. A 13-point win for Biden constitutes a 7-point swing toward Trump.
Shalala did top Salazar in terms of favorability. Shalala had a +18 spread, with 48% viewing her “very” or “somewhat” favorably and 30% viewing her “very” or “somewhat” unfavorably.
Salazar has just a +11 gap, with 39% seeing her favorably and 28% unfavorably.
Salaazar outperformed Shalala among those voters who had strong views of the candidates. Salazar has a +4 gap among voters viewing her “very” favorably or unfavorably (18%-14%). Shalala sat at -4 (18%-22%).
Shalala also holds a large lead among voters who have already submitted their ballots. She leads 76%-24% over Salazar among that cohort. Those results track data seen across the states, where Democrats have been more willing to utilize mail-in ballot options.
The Republican challenger has seen an ability to bring in cash this cycle. But outside groups have not been active in the CD 27 contest, which could be a signal both sides see Shalala headed toward a safe reelection. Contrast that with the race in Florida’s 26th Congressional District, where outside groups have poured plenty of cash into what’s expected to be the closest congressional race in the state.
Major election forecasters rate Shalala’s CD 27 seat as “likely Democratic,” with FiveThirtyEight giving Shalala an 81% chance at reelection as of this posting.