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Florida Senate: Nelson (D) 47%, Mack (R) 40%

Friday, August 17, 2012

Despite his impressive win in Tuesday’s state Republican Primary, Congressman Connie Mack trails Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson in Florida’s closely watched U.S. Senate race.

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Florida Voters shows Nelson earning 47% support to Mack’s 40%. Three percent (3%) like some other candidate, and 10% are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

This contest has been more volatile than any other Senate race in the nation. In April, at a time when Mack was being heavily criticized by his primary opponents and many were questioning what they viewed as a lackluster campaign, Nelson had the lead. Mack turned things around and became the clear front-runner going into the final weeks before the primary and took the lead over Nelson.  But Nelson has been hitting him hard this week with ads questioning his fitness for office.

Those ads may have played a role in the rising negatives for Mack. Twenty-two percent (22%) now regard him Very Unfavorably, up eight points from a month ago. Just 14% of Florida Voters have a Very Favorable view of Mack. Nelson’s numbers have improved over the past month. He is now viewed Very Favorably by 21% and Very Unfavorably by 18%.

Rasmussen Reports considers the number of people with strong opinions more significant than the total favorable/unfavorable numbers at this point in the campaign.

This race is now considered Leans Democrat in the Rasmussen Reports Senate Balance of Power rankings.  Nelson was first elected to the Senate in 2006 to fill the seat vacated by Mack’s father.

Florida is a key swing state in this year’s presidential contest. Mitt Romney now holds a narrow two-point lead in Florida and the state is considered a toss-up in the Rasmussen Reports Electoral College Projections.

Mack has yet to rally his own party after the divisive primary. He earns just 75% support from Florida Republicans, while Nelson has the support of 86% of the state’s Democrats. Nelson leads by six points among voters not affiliated with either of the major parties.

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The survey of 500 Likely Voters in Florida was conducted on August 15, 2012 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 4.5 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

When it comes to the future of Medicare, 48% of Florida voters are scared more by the president’s national health care law than by the reform proposal raised by Romney’s running mate, Congressman Paul Ryan. Forty-one percent (41%) fear Ryan’s proposal more. Among seniors who are a sizable voting bloc in Florida, 54% are more fearful of the president’s plan.

Mack earns 74% support from voters who fear the health care law more. Nelson picks up 82% support from those more concerned about Ryan’s proposal.

The Republican leads 51% to 40% among voters 65 and older, but it’s the only age group  in which he is ahead.

Sixty-four percent (64%) of all voters in the state have a favorable impression of Medicare, including 29% with a Very Favorable impression of the government health program for the elderly. That’s a slightly more favorable opinion than voters express nationally

Only eight percent (8%) of voters in Florida now rate the U.S. economy as good or excellent. Fifty-two percent (52%) describe it as poor. Thirty-one percent (31%) say the economy is getting better, but 41% think it is getting worse.

The Republican has a slight lead among male voters but trails by double digits among female voters. Nelson is ahead among both married and unmarried voters.

Elections for 33 U.S. Senate seats will be held in November. See the latest numbers in Arizona, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio,  Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

Forty-two percent (42%) of Florida voters now approve of the job Republican Governor Rick Scott is doing, but 51% disapprove. This includes 18% who Strongly Approve and 33% who Strongly Disapprove. These findings have changed little in surveys since April.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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