Florida Poll: Nelson Leads Mack In Senate Race, Romney Trails Obama

MIAMI, Florida -- U.S. Rep. Connie Mack has an overwhelming lead over the Republican field for Florida’s U.S. Senate nomination, while Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson edges him by a nose, 43 – 39 percent, in a November match-up, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

A shift by independent voters gives President Barack Obama a 46 – 42 percent lead over Republican Gov. Mitt Romney in the Sunshine State, according to the independent Quinnipiac University poll.

In the GOP U.S. Senate primary, Republican registered voters give Mack 41 percent, while none of the other three candidates crack double digits.  Former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux gets 8 percent, with Tea Party favorite Mike McCalister at 5 percent and former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon at 3 percent.  Another 39 percent of Republicans remain undecided.

“At this point, the Republican Senate nomination is Congressman Connie Mack’s to lose,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “In politics, anything is possible and we still have two months to go until the Senate primary, but it would take a major change in public opinion for one of the other candidates to stop Connie Mack.  And the projected November election between U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Mack looks like it could go down to the wire.”

Mack also runs best against Nelson among the GOP hopefuls. The Democratic incumbent‘s leads over the other GOP Senate aspirants is in double digits: 47 – 32 percent over LeMieux; 45 – 34 percent over McCalister and 47 – 31 percent over Weldon.

Nelson’s razor-thin lead over Mack compares to a tie in the May 24 Quinnipiac University poll with Mack at 42 percent and Nelson at 41 percent.

“Sen. Nelson gets modest reviews from voters who give him a 47 – 32 percent job approval rating,” said Brown. “By 46 – 33 percent they say he deserves another term.  He 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 Democrats 80 – 9 percent and independent voters 44 – 33 percent, while losing Republicans 81 – 6 percent.  Men split 42 – 42 percent while women go for Nelson 44 – 36 percent.

In the presidential race, Obama’s lead reflects the coalition that elected him four years ago.  He carries women 49 – 39 percent, African-Americans 91 – 5 percent and voters 18 to 34 years old 55 – 28 percent.  Obama also leads 48 – 41 percent among voters 35 to 54 years old.  Men split 44 – 45 percent.  Romney carries white voters 50 – 37 percent and voters over 55 years old 48 – 43 percent.

Independent voters shift from 44 – 36 percent for Romney in a May 23 Quinnipiac University poll, showing Romney ahead 47 – 41 percent overall, to 46 – 37 percent for Obama today.  In today’s results, Obama carries Democrats 88 – 4 percent, while Romney takes Republicans 91 – 5 percent.

While Florida voters say 48 – 44 percent that Romney would do a better job on the economy, they split 45 – 45 percent on who would create more jobs and say 49 – 44 percent that Obama would do more “to advance the economic interests of middle class Americans.” 

“The president is doing better among independent voters,” said Brown.  “It also is worth noting that the last Quinnipiac University Florida poll was on the heels of the president’s backing of gay marriage, which might have hurt him at that time.  

“At this point, Romney is not well-defined in the minds of many voters, especially those in the middle.  This movement reflects that uncertainty among voters who are up for grabs.”

From June 12 – 18, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,697 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.4 percentage points.  Live interviewers call land lines and cell phones.  The survey includes 698 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percent.


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