Shock poll (even if it is from Rasmussen): Connie Mack 46%, Bill Nelson 37%

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Republican Congressman Connie Mack draws his highest level of support yet against incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson in Florida’s 2012 U.S. Senate race.

A new Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of likely voters shows Mack earning 46% of the vote to Nelson’s 37%. Seven percent (7%) prefer some other candidate, and 10% are undecided.

The numbers were flipped back in April when Nelson held a 47% to 36% lead over Mack. At that time, Mack still had heavy competition for the GOP nomination and was being heavily criticized for a lackluster campaign. The contest was closer in earlier surveys.

This race is now considered Leans Republican in the Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power.  Elections for 33 U.S. Senate seats will be held in November, and Democrats have more than twice as many seats they now hold at stake compared to seats with Republican incumbents.

Mack is expected to easily win the Republican primary on August 14. Nelson was elected to the Senate in 2000 to fill the seat vacated by Mack’s father.

Florida, with its large number of retirees, has consistently registered high opposition to President Obama’s national health care law and was one of the leaders in the recent unsuccessful constitutional challenge of the law before the U.S. Supreme Court. Fifty-two percent (52%) of Florida voters favor repeal of the health care law, while 36% oppose repeal. These findings include 44% who Strongly Support the law’s repeal and 29% who are Strongly Opposed. These findings are similar to those measured nationally. 

Mack earns 85% of the vote from those who Strongly Favor repeal. Nelson gets 78% support from the smaller group of voters Strongly Opposed to repeal.

Mack draws 86% support from voters in his own party, while Nelson is backed by just 66% of the state’s Democrats. But the incumbent leads Nelson leads by nine points among Florida voters not affiliated with either major political party.

The Republican leads 43% to 37% among male voters in Florida and by an even wider 48% to 38% margin among female voters.

Nelson is viewed Very Favorably by 17% of Florida voters and Very Unfavorably by 25%. The latter finding is up from the previous poll.

For Mack, ratings are 18% Very Favorable and 14% Very Unfavorable. Both ratings have inched up slightly from April.

Though Nelson and Mack are pretty well known in the Sunshine State, Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with strong opinions more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers at this point in the campaign.

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.