Bill Nelson and Connie Mack in Tight Battle While Rick Scott Still Struggles

By: Kevin Derby | Posted: June 27, 2012 8:14 AM
Connie Mack and Bill Nelson

U.S. Rep. Connie Mack and U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson

A poll of Florida voters unveiled Wednesday shows that incumbent U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is in for a tough fight as he seeks his third term, while Gov. Rick Scott remains upside down in the Sunshine State.

The Quinnipiac poll finds Democrat Nelson taking 41 percent while U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, the favorite to win the Republican primary in August, is right behind him with 40 percent. A Q-poll released last week showed Nelson with a larger lead, taking 43 percent, while Mack followed with 39 percent.

"The U.S. Senate race between Bill Nelson and Connie Mack remains a dead heat with 17 percent of voters still undecided, an unusually large number," said Peter Brown, the assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

The poll shows both candidates doing well in securing their bases, with 76 percent of Democrats backing Nelson and 79 percent of Republicans behind Mack. Mack has a slight lead among independents, taking 37 percent of them while Nelson garners 36 percent of them.

The poll finds a slight gender gap in the Senate contest. Men lean toward Mack with 41 percent supporting him, while 39 percent back the Democrat incumbent. Nelson does better with women, taking 43 percent of them while Mack has the support of 38 percent.

White voters break toward Mack with 48 percent of them behind him while 36 percent support Nelson. Nelson crushes Mack with black voters, taking 74 percent of those surveyed while 3 percent support the Republican. Mack runs close to Nelson with Hispanics with 37 percent backing the Democrat and 35 percent opting for the Republican.

The poll shows Scott remains underwater with 48 percent of those surveyed disapproving of his performance in office while 35 percent approve of it. Scott did better in the Quinnipiac poll released last week which showed 39 percent approved of his performance while 49 percent disapproved.

While 71 percent of Republicans approved of Scott in the earlier poll, 60 percent of them do in the new poll while 25 percent disapprove. A majority of independents -- 52 percent -- disapprove of Scott while 33 percent approve of his job in Tallahassee. Democrats continue to break heavily against Scott with 66 percent disapproving of the governor and 16 percent approving of him.

Scott is upside down with the three racial groups included in the poll. While 41 percent of whites approve of Scott, 45 percent of them disapprove of him. A majority of Hispanics surveyed -- 51 percent -- disapprove of Scott while 27 percent approve of the governor. Scott does worst with black voters, with 62 percent disapproving of the governor while only 15 percent approve of him.

The poll finds Scott struggling with voters of both gender. While 37 percent of men approve of Scott, 50 percent of them disapprove of the governor. Scott gets the approval of 34 percent of the women surveyed while 46 percent of them disapprove of him.

The poll of 1,200 Florida voters was taken from June 19-25 and had a margin of error of +/- 2.8 percent.

Reach Kevin Derby at kderby@sunshinestatenews.com or at (850) 727-0859.

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