Game-changer: late entrant Mack leads GOP Senate field, nearly ties Democratic Sen. Nelsonby George Bennett | November 11th, 2011
“The entrance of Congressman Connie Mack into the Senate race changes what had been shaping up as an easy reelection for Sen. Bill Nelson into a tough fight that the incumbent could lose,” said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “The fact that Mack is essentially tied with Nelson, who has been a statewide political figure for two decades, should set off warning bells at Democratic headquarters.”
Mack, whose office announced he would enter the race Oct. 26, gets 32 percent of GOP primary support in a poll taken Oct. 31 to Nov. 7. Placing a distant second is former appointed Sen. George LeMieux at 9 percent, followed by businessman Mike McCalister at 6 percent and 2 percent apiece for former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner and former restaurant CEO Craig Miller.
As was the case for months before Mack got into the Republican Senate race, the biggest GOP number is the 45 percent of voters who say they are undecided.
In a hypothetical general election matchup, two-term incumbent Nelson gets 42 percent and Mack gets 40 percent — a virtual tie considering the poll’s 2.9 percent margin of error.
While President Obama and Gov. Rick Scott have high disapproval ratings among Florida voters, Nelson gets a 47 percent approval score with 27 percent disapproving.
Republican Sen. Marco Rubio‘s approval rating is 49 percent, with 29 percent disapproving — essentially unchanged since September and unscathed by a flap over whether he exaggerated the exile status of his Cuban-born parents.