Skip to Main Content
hand writing on a chart with PORL on the left hand side

Embargo for October 4, 2018 - 5 a.m. EST

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Director

Department of Public Relations

(904) 620-2102


Methodology Results Contact: Dr. Michael Binder

Public Opinion Research Lab Director

(904) 620-2784


Crosstabs (PDF) 


UNF Poll Shows Buchanan Ahead of Shapiro in Florida's Congressional District 16 House Race Majority of Likely Voters in CD 16 Approve of Trump

The Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida has a new poll of likely voters that reveals incumbent Republican Vern Buchanan in the lead for the upcoming U.S. House of Representatives race in Florida's Congressional District 16, with David Shapiro close behind. The survey also shows that a majority of likely voters in Florida's CD 16 approve of the job Donald Trump is doing as president.


The poll, comprised of Florida's Congressional District 16 likely voters, shows that 49 percent of respondents plan to vote for Buchanan, the Republican candidate, in the upcoming election for U.S. House of Representatives in Florida's CD 16, while 40 percent plan to vote for the Democratic candidate, David Shapiro.


Of those likely voters, 11 percent don't know who their choice will be. Eighty-two percent of Republican likely voters say they will vote for Buchanan, while 8 percent indicate they'll vote for Shapiro. Eleven percent don't know. Among Democrats, 7 percent indicate they plan to vote for Buchanan and 83 percent for Shapiro; 9 percent don't know where they'll cast their vote. For non-party affiliations and alternative party candidates, Shapiro holds a 9-percentage point lead.


"This historically strong Republican district is closer than it should be," said Dr. Michael Binder, faculty director of the Public Opinion Research Lab at UNF. "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."


Additionally, 54 percent of likely voters approve of the job that Trump is doing as president, and 45 percent disapprove. Eighty-six percent of Republican likely voters approve of Trump, while 14 percent disapprove. Among Democrats, 12 percent approve of Trump's job performance and 89 percent disapprove.


When asked about the most important problem in the district, environment (22 percent) led the way, followed closely by health care and immigration with 18 percent and 17 percent, respectively. Among Republicans, immigration led as the most important problem in the district at 22 percent, followed by environment at 20 percent. Health care was the most important problem among Democrats (27 percent) followed by environment at 24 percent.


Regarding the recent red tide algae blooms and the environment in general, when asked who they thought would do a better job as congressman on those issues, 40 percent said Buchanan and 37 percent said Shapiro, while 21 percent didn't know. Among Republican likely voters, 67 percent said Buchanan and 11 percent said Shapiro. Twenty-one percent didn't know who would do a better job. Of Democratic likely voters, 7 percent believe Buchanan would do a better job, 76 percent indicated Shapiro and 17 percent didn't know.


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

Survey Results

*Due to rounding, some results may total to greater than 100%


If the 2018 election for Florida's 16th Congressional District of the US House of Representatives were being held today, how would you vote if the candidates were…
Answer Options Likely Voters n=499
Vern Buchanan, the Republican 49%
David Shapiro, the Democrat 40%
Someone Else 1%
Don't Know 11%


By Party
Answer Options Democratic Likely Voters n=165 Republican Likely Voters n=240 NPA/Other Likely Voters n=94
Vern Buchanan, the Republican 7% 82% 37%
David Shapiro, the Democrat 83% 8% 46%
Someone Else 1% - 3%
Don't Know 9% 11% 14%


Do you approve or disapprove of the job that Donald Trump is doing as President?
Answer Options Likely Voters n=477
Approve 54%
Disapprove 46%
Don't Know/No Opinion -


By Party
Answer Options Democratic Likely Voters n=156 Republican Likely Voters n=232 NPA/Other Likely Voters n=90
Approve 12% 86% 46%
Disapprove 89% 14% 54%
Don't Know/No Opinion - - -


What do you think is the most important problem facing your district today? [Choices Rotated]
Answer Options Likely Voters n=513
Economy/Jobs/Unemployment 10%
Education 15%
Healthcare 18%
Immigration 17%
Environment 22%
Crime 7%
Terrorism 1%
Something Else 6%
Don't Know 4%


By Party
Answer Options Democratic Likely Voters n=172 Republican Likely Voters n=246 NPA/Other Likely Voters n=96
Economy/Jobs/Unemployment 7% 13% 8%
Education 16% 12% 19%
Healthcare 27% 11% 20%
Immigration 10% 22% 18%
Environment 24% 20% 23%
Crime 5% 9% 2%
Terrorism 2% 1% 1%
Something Else 7% 7% 4%
Don't Know 2% 5% 5%


In thinking about the recent red tides and the environment in general, which of the two candidates for Congress, Vern Buchanan or David Shapiro, do you think will do a better job as Congressman?
Answer Options Likely Voters n=503
Vern Buchanan, the Republican 40%
David Shapiro, the Democrat 37%
Someone Else 1%
Don't Know 21%


By Party
Answer Options Democratic Likely Voters n=167 Republican Likely Voters n=241 NPA/Other Likely Voters n=96
Vern Buchanan, the Republican 7% 67% 31%
David Shapiro, the Democrat 76% 11% 35%
Someone Else 1% 1% 2%
Don't Know 17% 21% 31%

Survey Demographics

Party Registration Likely Voters n=551
Republican 47%
Democrat 33%
NPA and other 20%


Age Likely Voters n=551
18 to 24 6%
25 to 34 7%
35 to 44 11%
45 to 55 14%
56 to 64 19%
65 and older 43%


Race Likely Voters n=551
White (not Hispanic) 83%
Black (not Hispanic) 7%
Hispanic 6%
Other 4%


Sex Likely Voters n=551
Male 45%
Female 55%


Phone Type
Telephone Likely Voters n=551
Landline 32%
Cell phone 66%
Don't Know/Refusal 2%


What is the highest grade in school or year of college you have completed?
Education Likely Voters n=551
Less than high school 4%
High school graduate 18%
Some college 42%
College graduate 20%
Post graduate degree 14%
Don't Know -
Refusal 2%


The UNF Florida Statewide Poll was conducted and sponsored by the Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida, from Sunday, September 30 through Tuesday, October 2, by live callers via the telephone; calls were made from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. during the week.Interviews were conducted in English by PORL interviewers. The phone numbers used for this survey were sourced from the voter file database provided by the Florida Division of Elections' August 8, 2018 update.


The sample frame was comprised of potentially likely voters who reside in Florida's 16th congressional district. Potentially likely voters were determined by vote history and having voted in the any of the following elections: 2014 primary election, 2014 general election, 2016 primary election, or any two of these elections - the 2016 presidential preference primary, the 2016 general election or the 2012 general election. All voters who were 22 years of age and younger were included as potentially likely since they were ineligible to vote in enough of the previous elections to qualify as potentially likely. The voters who met these requirements were then randomly contacted by probability sampling. Respondents who answered that they would "definitely vote" or "probably vote" in the upcoming Florida General Election qualified to participate in the survey. Overall, there were 551 completed surveys of likely voters in Florida's 16 congressional district, 18 years of age or older.


The margin of sampling error for the total sample is +/- 4.4 percentage points. The breakdown of completed responses on a landline phone to a cell phone was 32 to 66 percent (2 percent were unidentified). A single interviewer, through hand dialing, upon reaching the specific registered voter as identified in the Florida voter file, asked the respondent to participate, regardless of landline telephone or cell phone. To ensure a representative sample being collected, the sample was stratified by county. Quotas were placed on each of the counties to ensure a proportionate amount of completed surveys from across the district. Data were then weighted by partisan registration, sex, race, age, and education. Education weights were created from the 2016 American Community Survey (ACS). Partisan registration, sex, race, and age weights were created from the August 8, 2018 update of the Florida voter file to match the active registered potentially likely voters in the state of Florida. These demographic characteristics were pulled from the voter file list. All weighted demographic variables were applied using the SPSS version 23 rake weighting function. There were no statistical adjustments made due to design effects. This survey was sponsored by the UNF PORL and directed by Dr. Michael Binder, UNF associate professor of political science.


The PORL is a full-service survey research facility that provides tailored research to fulfill each client's individual needs from political, economic, social and cultural projects. The PORL opened in 2001 and is an independent, non-partisan center, a charter member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research Transparency Initiative and a member of the Association of Academic Survey Research Organization. For more information about methodology, contact Dr. Michael Binder at or at (904) 620-2784.


UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.