A new poll by U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan's re-election campaign shows him with a 22-percentage-point lead over Democratic challenger Keith Fitzgerald for the local seat in Congress.
A memo released by Buchanan's pollster, Public Opinion Strategies, concludes that Buchanan is "well positioned" to win re-election from a newly redrawn 16th Congressional District.
The poll showed 54 percent of likely voters supporting Buchanan, and 32 percent supporting Fitzgerald. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
Fitzgerald's campaign dismissed the significance of the poll, while again restating that Buchanan remains under investigation for his fund-raising and business practices.
"Congressman Vern Buchanan is under investigation by a Tampa grand jury, the IRS, the FBI, Justice Department, the Office of House Ethics, and CNN. Of course he released a bogus poll," said Adam Scott, Fitzgerald's campaign manager.
(The Federal Elections Commission and House Ethics Committee ended probes of Buchanan without taking action against him. The other investigations, including a separate one by the Ethics Committee, are pending.)
The survey results belie the fact that when it comes to raising money for his campaign, Fitzgerald remains competitive.
Fifty-three percent of those surveyed had a "favorable" view of Buchanan, R-Sarasota, versus 33 percent "unfavorable."
Only 45 percent of respondents recognized Fitzgerald's name, a point amplified by the finding that only 16 percent viewed him favorably and 7 percent viewed him unfavorably, according to the memo.
Forty-two percent of respondents said they "definitely" will vote for Buchanan, while only 21 percent expressed an identical intensity for Fitzgerald, according to the poll.
The survey of 400 likely voters was conducted July 15-16 in the 16th District, which is largely comprised of Sarasota and Manatee counties.