Poll: Nelson leads Mack in Senate race

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Sen. Bill Nelson has a 43-39 percent lead over GOP frontrunner Connie Mack, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday.

In terms of the GOP primary, Quinnipiac has Mack running away with the nomination, getting 41 percent of the vote to 8 percent for former Sen. George LeMieux, who dropped out of the race Wednesday. Tea Party favorite Mike McCalister received 5 percent, while Rep. Dave Weldon got 3 percent. Another 39 percent of Republicans remain undecided.

A Quinnipiac poll, released in May, had Mack up by a slim 42-to-41 percent margin.  That survey, however, was based on a sample that came under fire from Democrats who said the survey’s demographic breakdown did not mirror registration numbers.  Democrats hold roughly a 40-36 percent registration edge over Republicans in Florida but Quinnipiac’s weighted sample is 34 percent Republican and 31 percent Democrat.

“The projected November election between U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Mack looks like it could go down to the wire,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a statement.

Still, Nelson has some reasons to be optimistic. He has a high favorability rating and is faring well with women and independents:

  • Nelson’s job approval rating is at 47 percent, while 32 percent disapprove.
  • By 46 – 33 percent margin voters say Nelson deserves another term. The percentage of voters who feel Nelson deserves to be reelected is the highest it has been in four months.
  • Nelson gets a 44 – 26 percent favorability rating. By comparison, Mack has a 34 – 22 percent favorability rating, with 42 percent who don’t know enough about him to form an opinion.
  • In the Nelson-Mack matchup, Nelson carries coveted independent voters by a 44 – 33 percent margin.
  • Men split 42 – 42 percent while women go for Nelson 44 – 36 percent.

The poll was taken June 12 – 18, surveyed 1,697 registered voters, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, 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.