Q poll gives Nelson reason to smile, and sweatby John Kennedy | August 5th, 2011
Running for a third term next fall, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson can take some solace in this week’s Quinnipiac University poll that shows none of his potential Republican rivals so far emerging as a clear frontrunner.
A whopping 53 percent of registered Republicans told Quinnipiac they were undecided between former Rep. Adam Hasner of Delray Beach, former short-time U.S. Senate appointee George LeMieux, ex-steakhouse boss Craig Miller, and tea party courter Mike McAlister, who topped the field with support from 15 percent of voters.
Forty-six percent of respondents also told Quinnipiac they would support Nelson over any Republican, with the rival drawing 35 percent.
But before the Democratic incumbent gets too comfortable, he might look at his own disapproval rating among voters. Nelson plunged to 42 percent when Congress and President Obama forged their debt ceiling deal last week — the Florida senator’s lowest mark since his scraped 42 percent in August 2004.
But then, Nelson was still two years away from re-election. And that year, he faced off against politically damaged Republican Katherine Harris, in a non-presidential election year.
Post-debt deal, a plurality of those polled were willing to say Nelson deserved to be re-elected. But the 44-38 percent margin may be a little too close, especially since a frontrunning alternative is certain to emerge in coming months out of the pack of Republicans nipping at Nelson’s heels.
Tags: Craig Miller