From: Dustin Ingalls, Assistant Director of Public Policy Polling To: Interested Parties Subject: Buchanan up 8 but very vulnerable

Date: 7/23/2012

Rep. Vern Buchanan’s lead over Democratic challenger Keith Fitzgerald is eight points (44-36). 19% are still undecided with just over three months to go, making this a potentially tight race. This district leans slightly Republican, but with the incumbent’s campaign finance woes, this is definitely a winnable seat for Democrats. Most of Buchanan’s lead is built on his significantly higher name recognition. Twothirds of voters are either not sure how they feel about the Democrat or have not heard of him at all. Only a quarter of voters say the same of Buchanan. Those who do already know Fitzgerald are more likely to see him in a positive light than those who express a personal opinion on the Republican. 40% view Buchanan favorably, but almost as many (37%) unfavorably. The breakdown for Fitzgerald is 22-11. If he is able to close this gulf between his profile and Buchanan’s, Fitzgerald could make up serious ground. The voters who are the most tuned in at this early stage—those with an opinion on both of the candidates already, whether positive or negative—favor the challenger by 16 points (56-40).
The undecided voters skew heavily female, and are quite a bit younger than the overall electorate. 63% are women, and 34% are under the age of 45. These voters still prefer Romney over Obama by two points, but they have almost no clue who either of the two Congressional candidates are. Therefore, Fitzgerald has a huge opportunity to define Buchanan and himself with a fifth of the electorate, more than enough to hurdle over Buchanan. PPP surveyed 586 likely voters in Florida’s new 16th Congressional district from July 18th to 19th. The survey’s margin of error is +/-4.1%. These results come among an electorate that plans to vote for Mitt Romney over President Obama by five points (49-44), two points wider than John McCain’s edge in the area that is now the 16th congressional district.

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