UNF Public Opinion Research Lab releases a new poll revealing Congressional District 16 currently favors Buchanan over Shapiro

Sam Chaney, Managing Editor

Florida’s polls appear to be tightening as the official mid-term election races closer and, according to a new poll released by the UNF Public Opinion Research Lab, incumbent Republican Representative Vern Buchanan is currently leading ahead of David Shapiro in Congressional District 16. District 16, which covers western Manatee County and Sarasota County in the state of Florida, has typically seen a history of Republican-leaning voters. In that case, just how close is the race this time around?

Specifically, the poll revealed that 49 percent of total responding likely voters plan to vote for Buchanan, leaving Shapiro trailing behind at 40 percent. Of the likely voters, 11 percent don’t know who their choice will be.

Taking party affiliation intro consideration, 82 percent of Republicans voters confirmed they will, in fact, vote for Buchanan, whereas another eight percent of those same Republicans voiced their support of Shapiro. Democrats, on the other hand, showed a reversal, where seven percent of voters supported Buchanan and 83 percent stood by Shapiro.

Courtesy of the UNF Public Opinion Research Lab.

“This historically strong Republican district is closer than it should be,” explained Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab. “In 2016, Buchanan won by almost 20 points, so the fact that this race is within shouting distance for Democrats should give Republicans real concerns when it comes to keeping control of the House of Representatives.”

With that in mind, in looking at this poll, one cannot help but wonder: if a historically Republican district is seeing an uncharacteristically close run come time for the 2018 mid-term election, what does this mean for other traditionally “red” areas of the country?

Of course, how voters cast their votes may be greatly influenced by how they feel about the current Trump Administration.

When asked, 54 percent of the likely voters in District 16 voiced approval President Trump and his job thus far, whereas 45 percent reportedly disapprove. More specifically, 86 percent of Republicans were in approval of Trump, while 14 percent disapprove. Of the participating Democratic likely voters, 12 percent approve of Trump’s job performance and 89 percent disapprove.

Courtesy of the UNF Public Opinion Research Lab.

Moreover, when asked about what they considered to be the “most important problem in the district,”  the environment took the lead with a total of 22 percent. Health Care followed behind at 18 percent, and immigration was close at 17 percent.

Likely voters, according to the poll, also appeared to believe that Buchanan would presumably to do a better job with regard to the environment. 40 percent of total likely voters supported Buchanan and, when taking political affiliation into consideration, 76 percent of likely Democrats answered they believed Shapiro would do the better job, where 67 percent of Republicans specifically held fast to their belief in Buchanan.

Courtesy of the UNF Public Opinion Research Lab.

This concern, of course, likely stems from how hard the area has been hit by red tide.

“The red tide is impacting a lot of the Florida coast, perhaps nowhere more than this area,” Binder said. “Voters are concerned; this issue is on their minds and driving their votes.”

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