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PPP: Nelson up 7% over Mack; Crist popularity declines

Posted Sep 4, 2012 by William March

Updated Sep 4, 2012 at 02:11 PM

Florida Sen. Bill Nelson has moved to a 7-point lead over Connie Mack, despite continued weakness in his job approval ratings, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey.

The same poll shows former Gov. Charlie Crist’s popularity has declined in the wake of his endorsement of President Barack Obama for re-election.

The numbers:

—Nelson, a Democrat, leads Republican challenger Mack 45-38 percent. That’s an increase of 5 points in Nelson’s lead compared to the last PPP poll of the race in late July, when Nelson led 45-43 percent. Nelson extended his lead even though only 35 percent of the poll respondents approved of his job performance as senator, while 42 percent disapprove.

Nelson has never had very high job approval numbers, but usually they’re better than that, in the high 40s to low 50s. The likely cause of the change: millions in negative advertising spent against him by independent super PAC committees.

Mack, however, is even more unpopular, possibly in part because of recent negative advertising against him by Nelson—27 percent favorable opinions to 45 percent unfavorable ones. 

—Crist got favorable opinions from 36 percent of the poll respondents, with 44 unfavorables. Much of the loss comes from Republicans, who gave Crist a 34 percent approval rating a month ago, now down to 24 points following his endorsement of Obama and news that he’ll speak at the Democratic convention.

See full results here.

Public Policy Polling is a North Carolina-based, Democratic oriented polling and consulting that says its published polls are neutral and not paid for by any campaign or political committee.