Rep. Connie Mack holds a commanding lead over his Republican primary opponents in Florida’s U.S. Senate race and is running narrowly ahead of incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.
Even though the Aug. 6 primary is still nearly three months away, Mack leads with 40 percent of the vote to 7 percent for former Sen. George LeMieux and 8 percent for tea party favorite Mike McCalister, according to the survey of 1,722 registered Florida voters taken May 15-21.
The poll did not take into account the late entry last Friday of former Rep. Dave Weldon in the GOP primary contest.
At the same time, the poll found that if the November general election were held today, Mack would pull 42 percent of the vote to Nelson’s 41 percent.
“Although some activists have been critical of Congressman Connie Mack and his campaign, he retains an overwhelming lead in the race for the Republican Senate nomination and is tied with Sen. Bill Nelson,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
“It is not clear how the late entrance of former Congressman Dave Weldon into the race will affect the campaign, but Mack’s lead is pretty formidable with three months until the primary,” Brown said.
The poll also found that Florida Gov. Rick Scott’s job approval rating has climbed above 40 percent for the first time in the Quinnipiac Florida survey, but still remains low with only 41 percent saying they like what he’s doing.
“Although Gov. Rick Scott’s numbers aren’t that impressive, they are a step up for him — the first time he has gotten his approval rating out of the 30s since taking office,” Brown noted.
The survey also revealed that 56 percent of those polled still support the state’s “Stand Your Ground Law,” which has drawn so much attention since the shooting in April of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin.
Support for the law remains higher among Republicans by a margin of 78 percent to 15 percent, the poll found, and independents who support it by a margin of 58 percent to 35 percent.
But survey participants who identified themselves as Democrats said they oppose the law by a margin of 59 percent to 32 percent.
In addition, the survey revealed that white voters support Stand Your Ground by a margin of 61 percent to 31 percent and Hispanic voters favor it by 53 percent to 36 percent. Black voters, meanwhile, said they remain opposed to the law by a margin of 56 percent to 30 percent.
“Despite the [Trayvon Martin] controversy, public opinion seems to be solidly behind ‘Stand Your Ground’ and slightly against stricter gun control,” Brown said.
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