Poll: Mack and Nelson Neck-and-Neck in Florida
Rep. Connie Mack, R-Fla., has not officially declared that he will seek the GOP nomination to face Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson next November, but a new Quinnipiac University poll out early Friday shows that Mack would become the frontrunner for his party's nomination, and he would seriously endanger Nelson's reelection.
Mack has vaulted to the lead in the Republican primary, according to the poll. He outpaces the field with 32 percent, while no other candidate earns double-digit support. Former Republican Sen. George LeMieux is second, with 9 percent, followed by retired Army colonel Mike McCalister at 6 percent. Former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner and businessman Craig Miller each earned just 2 percent. Forty-five percent of Republicans remain undecided.
Quinnipiac only tested Mack against Nelson, and the result is startling: Nelson leads Mack by just 2 points, 42 percent to 40 percent. Each candidate holds just under 80 percent of their respective party bases; Nelson leads by 8 points among independents.
That Nelson is only at 42 percent in the matchup with Mack is surprising considering his positive approval rating in the poll: 47 percent of voters approve of the way Nelson is handling his job as senator, while just 27 percent disapprove. That is an improvement over his performance in mid-September, when his net-approval rating was 13 percent (45 percent approval, 32 percent disapproval).
The Miami Herald reported two weeks ago that Mack, the son of a former senator, would enter the race, but Mack has not made an official announcement about his candidacy.
Meanwhile, Quinnipiac found no erosion in the approval rating for Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., after media outlets reported the freshman senator may have embellished details of his parents' emigration to the U.S. in the 1950s. Now, 49 percent of voters approve of the job Rubio is doing, equal to his approval rating in September, before the news reports.