Reporter William March has covered state and national politics since 1994. Email
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PPP poll: Mack has long primary lead, but Nelson beats all Republicans
Posted Jun 7, 2012 by William March
Updated Jun 7, 2012 at 02:19 PM
Connie Mack IV has a long lead in the Republican U.S. Senate primary, but incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has double-digit leads over Mack and all other potential Republican challengers, according to a new Public Pollicy Polling survey.
—In the GOP primary, Mack led with 34 percent to George Lemieux’s 13 percent, Mike McCalister’s 10 percent and 6 percent for former Rep. Dave Weldon, a new entry to the race. But “undecided,” at 28 percent, together with “someone else,” 9 percent, still took first place.
—Mack led the primary despite anemic favorability ratings. Among all voters, those with unfavorable opinions outnumbered those with favorable opinions, 27 percent to 19 percent, with 53 percent “not sure” answers. Among Republicans, he got 27 percent favorable to 20 percent unfavorable and 53 percent unsure ratings.
—In general election matchups, Nelson led Mack Mack by 49-36 percent; LeMieux by 48-35 percent; McCalister 47-33 percent and Weldon 47-31 percent.
—Nelson held those strong leads despite less-than-stellar approval numbers. Only 39 percent approve of his performance as senator, while 31 percent disapprove and 30 percent said they don’t know.
Pollster Tom Jensen said Nelson appears “safe” in his Senate seat, at least for now, based in part on significant amounts of crossover support from Republicans and big leads among independent voters.
The PPP results are roughly similar to an NBC/Marist poll poll last month that showed Nelson with a smaller lead over Mack, 43-38 percent. They differ from a Quinnipiac University poll that showed a statistical tie, Mack at 42 percent to Nelson’s 41 percent. The Quinnipiac poll also showed Mack with a larger lead in the primary.