FL-Sen: Mason-Dixon Has Bill Nelson (D) Under 50

Mason-Dixon for Ron Sachs Communications (2/9-10, registered voters, March 2010 in parens):

Bill Nelson (D-inc): 41 (35)

Jeb Bush (R): 49 (50)

Undecided: 10

Bill Nelson (D-inc): 45

Connie Mack (R): 40

Undecided: 15

Bill Nelson (D-inc): 49

George LeMieux (R): 35

Undecided: 16

Bill Nelson (D-inc): 48

Mike Haridopolos (R): 27

Undecided: 25

Bill Nelson (D-inc): 46

Adam Hasner (R): 24

Undecided: 30

(MoE: ±4%)

I’ve seen better, and I’ve seen worse. Obviously the Jeb Bush numbers are concerning – even though he’s exceedingly unlikely to run – but the trendlines (which are extremely old, and reflect a poll taken at the height of healthcare reform in the news) show some improvement for Nelson. It’s not the amount of improvement that interests me but the fact that improvement is even possible. If the economy picks up, if Barack Obama contests Florida, and if general anti-incumbent-party anger continues to fade, Nelson’s numbers could get better still.

I also like the fact that he isn’t locked into the low 40s. Sometimes you see these really troubling polls where the incumbent is matched up against everyone ranging from Republican Jesus to Some Dude and he gets 40% regardless of his opponent’s name rec. Nelson does better against lesser-known opponents, which to me suggests there are some potential Republican voters who are still willing to give ol’ Nellie a chance. (Note that this squares with something PPP found a few months ago.)

There are a couple of other potential names in the mix that M-D didn’t try – wealthy third-term Rep. Vern Buchanan, and probably-dreaming freshman Rep. Daniel Webster – but I suspect their numbers would look something like those of the two least-known candidates, at the bottom of the list. If you need a refresher, Mike Haridopolos is the state Senate President (and is the only candidate who is actually more-or-less officialy in the race), while Adam Hasner is the former state House Majority Leader.

19 thoughts on “FL-Sen: Mason-Dixon Has Bill Nelson (D) Under 50”

  1. I already wrote two long posts on my analysis of the crosstabs;


    I wish we had a bit more of the backend data, I’m very curious to see who are the Dems who aren’t getting behind Nelson (Jewish Seniors in Boca who think he’s too conservative or White Rural Dems who are upset over stimulus/TARP/HCR) their identity will tell us a lot about what Nelson’s long term strength or weakness.

    I’m also curious to see why IND voters are more likely to vote FOR Nelson vs an unknown than vs a GOPer they like – are IND voters more likely to say they will vote for a candidate they don’t like vs someone they don’t know, instead of saying “not sure” like most partisan voters seem to, any pollsters out there have a take on this?

  2. I suspect NE, ND, MO, MT, OH and VA would all fall before FL. Speaking of which are you waiting for the big move before debuting race ratings?

  3. is understated because of the weak Democratic numbers here. I get that like in some other southern states, there are some historical Democrats that are Republicans in everything but registration, but even in a Republican year like 2004, Bush was only able to get 14 percent Democrats. Yet, this poll has him under-performing with Democrats against everyone–unrealistically, I think, unless Jeb Bush were the nominee.

    Let’s readjust the numbers quickly and assume that he gets 85 percent of Democrats. (In 2006, he received 95 percent of Democrats.) If all of the other numbers hold, using this poll’s electorate composition (more on that in a second), that would give him 49.32 in race against Mack. That’s a loss, but a slight one.

    But the breakdown for this poll is 44/40/16. That’s probably way too many Democrats, too many Republicans, and far too few Independents. Let’s readjust this using 2008 figures of 37/34/29. Using the same figures from above, in a race against Mack, this would give him 48.82, very close to what he would have in the other example.

    But now, let’s split the the difference between a bad year, 2004, and a good year, 2006, and say that he gets 90 percent of Democrats. In the first example, he wins with 51.52 percent of the vote. In the second example, he wins with 50.67 percent.

    Note that he gets only 47 percent of the Independent vote in each of these calculations. If were to get 55 percent of the Independent vote, which doesn’t seem unreasonable, in both examples he’d also win–in some cases quite easily.

    And if he were to get something like 15 percent of Republicans, he’d almost certainly win very easily. He wouldn’t get 24 percent like he did in 2006 unless he were up against a true dud like Webster, but he’s pulling 11 to 15 percent against all candidates not named Jeb Bush.

    On another note, some of the Census figures I’ve seen from around 2008 indicate that there are at least 500,000 unregistered black voters in the state. As is the case with other southern states, they might be slightly more open to voting for Republicans than blacks in other states, but even when they under-perform Democrats usually get at least 85 percent of the black vote. Assuming the Obama campaign finds such voters and gets them to the polls, he’s got a locked in advantage that no Republican will have access to. I’m not sure this guarantees his election, but it’s certainly a massive advantage. Of course, these figures might have changed slightly, but I can’t think of anything, at all, that would have added so many new voters to the rolls in the last few years, so they are probably pretty similar to how they are reported below (Table 4b.)


  4. I made the mistake of eating a Turkey BLT wrap with spicy mustard while reading this thread.  I’m now wearing mustard all over my shirt.  Best laugh I’ve had today!

  5. Of he could win in the “2000 clusterfuck” of the century for the state of Florida, 2008 will be no sweat.

  6. I wonder how many people are confusing Mack with his father?  And even if that are, will it really matter – the two aren’t all that different in how they voted.

    Do you think if Rubio is on the ballot as VP, it will sink Nelson?

    FWIW, I’m rooting for Mack at this stage – even before I saw this poll.  I think he’s the most electable and I like his positions the most.  Has there ever been a husband in the senate the same time his wife was in the House?  Not that his wife is guaranteed to win with CA redistricting…  

  7. I’m sure Patty Murray is, as well she should. And as for 2000? He beat Bill McCullum (God won’t that guy EVER go away?) as Bush & Gore split the state. This goes to my argument re: VASen that when a POTUS race is extremely close an open seat victor will go to the better candidate and no one should assume that their top of the ticket candidate will carry the down ballot candidates to victory.

  8. I continually have broken grammar and words that make no sense in my comments.  My iPhone isn’t the best for making comments on I guess…

  9. if the candidate for another office is likely to under-perform the top of the ticket because he’s a bad candidate. But several people have made the case that incumbents like Bill Nelson and Sherrod Brown are likely to over-perform Obama, unless the Republican presidential candidate absolutely bombs. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to suggest that Obama could lose Florida 49 to 51 while Nelson wins his race with 53 percent of the vote.

    Anyway, what makes any of these guys particularly great candidates? I don’t know much about them, so I just assume they are average.  

  10. To me I think Haridopolos could eb just as strong as Mack but would favor Nelson over both.

    Also, we need not forget that Nelson is actually a stronger candidate than most.  he has a pretty good profile and hasn’t lost a race in a long time.  State house, US house, State Insurance commissioner, US Senatory.  Yeah he lost primaries to Chiles but he’s nto running against anyone as solid as Chiles int eh general, that’s for sure.

    This is one of those races that looks great on paper but a good campaign and good fundraising could help keep at it arm’s reach the whole election.  

    And I don’t see a big enough Obama effect (negative) that could take Nelson down if he runs a good campaign and things go the way they’ve been trending economically heading into 2012 election season.

  11. White, no jewish Suburban seniors?  while this group leans republican, Democrats can win, or lose them narrowly.  Is it possible that HCR and medicare cuts lost him support?

  12. but it does seem to depend on the year.  In 2008, Dems picked up AK even as Sarah Palin ran as a VP (with ridiculously high approval ratings to boot) and Ethan Berkowitz got trounced in the House seat that was seen as even more in play.  If the year is bad for Obama I imagine Rubio would play a role in that, but then the Dems would be losing Congress and the Senate in other states anyways.  

  13. He’s a fairly moderate Republican who was one of the biggest defenders of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks in the House a few months ago.

    If the GOP primary is ideologically driven, he’ll get pummeled on purity; if it’s based on Florida grassroots connections, he’ll get bashed over his ties to California (in whose congressional delegation his wife, as you noted, serves).

  14. I thin you’d find a pretty LOW number of voters able to identify Mack as the son of the former Senator. He retired 10 years ago and last appeared on a ballot in 1994.

    Given the high voter turnover rate in retirment states, especially one with such a high degree of immigrants (both domestic and international) I don’t think Mack’s name is doing much for him at all…

  15. Cornelius Harvey McGillicuddy IV is his real name.  I can’t say I blame him for using the short version.

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