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Rasmussen: Mack Leads Nelson in Fla. Senate Race

Thursday, 15 March 2012 11:18 AM

Republican Congressman Connie Mack now posts a seven-point lead over Democratic Senator Bill Nelson in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, and the incumbent remains just ahead of his other two potential GOP rivals.

Connie Mack IV
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of likely voters in Florida shows the GOP's Mack with 43 percent support to Nelson’s 36 percent. Five percent like another candidate in the race, and a sizable 16 percent are undecided.

A month ago, Mack and Nelson were tied at 41 percent apiece. Last November, Mack, a congressman from the Fort Myers/Naples area of the state, led 43 to 39 percent.

If former U.S. Senator George LeMieux is the Republican candidate, Nelson is ahead by a narrow 41 to 38 percent. That compares to 45-35 percent last month. Five percent now prefer another candidate given that matchup.

Seventeen percent are undecided. Then-Governor Charlie Crist named LeMieux to the Senate in September 2009 to complete the term of Senator Mel Martinez who resigned from office early. LeMieux chose not to seek a full Senate term in the 2010 elections because of Crist’s decision to run. Crist was defeated by Marco Rubio.

Nelson now leads businessman Mike McCalister, the other top GOP hopeful, 42 to 38 percent. Given this matchup, 4 percent favor another candidate, and 15 percent are undecided. This is essentially unchanged from a month ago.

Nelson has been a member of the Senate since 2000 when he won the contest to fill the seat vacated by the retirement of Mack’s father. Florida Republicans will pick their Senate candidate in an August 14 primary.

This Florida survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted on March 13, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points.

Elections for 33 U.S. Senate seats will be held in November, 23 of which are currently held by Democrats. Rasmussen Reports has recently polled 2012 U.S. Senate races in Massachusetts, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Montana, Virginia, New Mexico, Ohio, and Missouri. All but Nebraska are close at this stage.

Nelson is viewed very favorably by 20 percent of Florida voters and very unfavorably by 23 percent.

For Mack, very favorables and very unfavorables are both 15 percent. Seven percent share a very favorable opinion of LeMiuex, while 20 percent view him very unfavorably. McCalister is seen Very Favorably by five percent , and very unfavorably by 15 percent.

Unfavorables are up seven points for Nelson from last month at this time and up five for LeMieux. The numbers for the others are basically unchanged.

All three Republicans lead among male voters, while Nelson is out front among female voters. The GOP hopefuls are ahead among married voters but trail among unmarrieds.

Mack and Nelson are now almost tied among voters not affiliated with either of the major political parties, but the incumbent leads LeMieux and McCalister among these voters.

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