New Poll: Republican Majority Can't Decide on Bill Nelson Challenger
A Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll released on Friday found that Florida Republicans remain undecided on who they want to challenge Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson in 2012. While Nelson was beating the various Republican hopefuls, he failed to crack 50 percent against any of them despite his decades on Florida’s political stage.
Of those surveyed, 52 percent were undecided. U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan, who has left the door open to running but has done little in terms of building a foundation for the campaign, took 14 percent followed by U.S. Rep. Allen West -- who announced earlier in the week that he was not running -- with 11 percent.
Former Florida House Majority Leader Adam Hasner led actual announced candidates with 8 percent followed by former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux with 7 percent. Businessman Craig Miller took 5 percent, followed by retired Army officer and businessman Mike McCalister with 2 percent. Hillsborough County Sheriff David Gee -- who is also not an announced candidate -- took 1 percent.
“Florida Republicans are voting ‘undecided’ in a big way with less than one year before the Florida Senate Republican primary,” said Ron Sachs, president of Sachs Communications.
The poll also found Nelson holding solid leads over most of the field but failing to crack 50 percent. West came closest to topping Nelson though the Democrat led 44 percent to 38 percent. Nelson beat out LeMieux 49 percent to 34 percent. Nelson took 45 percent against Hasner who trailed with 34 percent. The Democrat beat Buchanan by a similar margin -- 45 percent to 35 percent.
“While Senator Nelson has a comfortable lead for now, Republicans have yet to find their candidate and the field has yet to be settled,” said Sachs.
The Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll of 625 regular voters was taken from August 18 through August 22 and had a margin of error of +/- 4 percent. The poll of 300 likely Republican primary voters had a margin of error of +/- 5.8 percent.