Bill Nelson leads Connie Mack by 13%, latest poll says

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Winning the Republican primary in Florida’s US Senate race may prove to be a shallow victory, according to the latest Public Policy Polling survey.

Bill Nelson continues to lead all of his opponents by double digits, as has consistently been the case in PPP’s polling on the contest. He’s up 13 on both Connie Mack and George LeMieux at 49-36 and 48-35 respectively, 47-33 on Mike McCalister, and 47-31 on Dave Weldon.

What makes Nelson an unusually strong candidate is his appeal to Republicans. 23% of them approve of him, unusual in this highly polarized political climate. And he gets anywhere from 13-17% of the GOP vote in head to heads against his potential opponents. He’s also strong with independents, leading the Republican candidates by anywhere from 20-24 points with them.

This race is likely to tighten once the GOP gets unified around its eventual nominee. There are almost twice as many undecided Republicans as Democrats in every possible match up for the fall, and once the candidate’s been chosen that person’s likely to see the party base unify around him some.

One thing to keep in mind though is that Nelson has pretty consistently run about 10 points ahead of Barack Obama in the state, largely because of his ability to peel off Republican votes. That means Obama would likely have to not only lose Florida, but lose it by a wide margin to bring Nelson down with him. That seems unlikely.

Our polls on this race have been pretty consistent- Mack’s a strong favorite to win the primary, and then Nelson’s a strong favorite to defeat him for another term in the general election.

Full results here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including,,, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.