If the GOP is to take control of the U.S. Senate in 2012, they will likely need to make a strong showing in the Florida U.S. Senate race. The latest news from Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) is not a good sign for Republicans heading into next year.
Several Florida Senate polls conducted shortly after Connie Mack IV’s entry into the race found a toss up contest, but PPP’s newest look finds that any announcement bump Mack may have received has now receded. Bill Nelson leads him by a 46-35 margin. That’s pretty consistent with two earlier polls of a Nelson/Mack match that PPP had conducted. In March we found Nelson with a 13 point advantage and last December we found him ahead by 9 points.
Nelson has two big things going for him in a match against Mack. One is that he wins 14% of the Republican vote, an unusual amount of crossover support for a Democrat. The other is that he has a 42/33 advantage with independent voters. 22% of Republicans are undecided compared to only 13% of Democrats so this race will likely tighten up once the GOP unites around a candidate, but for now Nelson has a healthy lead.
Nelson has healthy leads against the rest of the Republican field as well- 47-32 against Mike McCalister and George LeMieux, 48-33 against Adam Hasner, and 49-30 against Craig Miller. It’s going to have to be a pretty bad year for Democrats nationally in order for Nelson to be defeated.