FL-Sen: Nelson Leads All, Except Jeb

Public Policy Polling (12/17-20, Florida voters):

Bill Nelson (D-inc): 47

George LeMieux (R): 36

Bill Nelson (D-inc): 44

Jeb Bush (R): 49

Bill Nelson (D-inc): 44

Mike Haridopolos (R): 32

Bill Nelson (D-inc): 46

Adam Hasner (R): 30

Bill Nelson (D-inc): 44

Connie Mack IV (R): 36

(MoE: ±3%)

This poll’s been out there for a little while now, but with SSP Headline News enjoying an extended vacation from the blogosphere, I called the boys down at SSP Reclamation Services & Towing to drag this fugging thing out of the swamp before it becomes lost to time.

Bill Nelson, going for his third term in 2012, doesn’t appear to be in an especially sound position, sitting in the mid-40s against all comers and sporting a seemingly pedestrian approval rating of 36-33. However, as Tom Jensen explains, the math is a little bit kinder to Nelson than first meets the eye:

Nelson’s approval numbers don’t appear on the surface to be that good, with 36% of voters approving of him and 33% disapproving with a pretty remarkable 31% holding no opinion even after nearly 16 years in statewide office. There are some unusual quirks in his numbers though that amount to him actually being stronger than his topline numbers might suggest. Democrats are pretty tepid toward him, with only 45% approving to 19% who disapprove. Usually we see folks closer to the 70% approval mark within their own parties. But he has an unusual level of popularity with Republicans- 23% might not sound like a lot of crossover support but many Democrats this year are finding themselves with single digit approval with Republicans. And Nelson’s on positive ground with independents as well at 42/36, again somewhat unusual in a year where those voters were not particularly friendly to Democrats.

As it is right now, Jeb Bush would be the GOP’s strongest recruit, but it seems pretty clear that a Jeb candidacy is simply not going to happen. We’re left with a platter of second-tier choices: outgoing Sen. George LeMieux, state Senate President Mike Haridopolos, state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, and Rep. Connie Mack IV. Haridopolos is the only one of the above who is (more or less) actually in the race, but Hasner seems a likely candidate, and Mack and LeMieux are actively weighing the race, as well. Will a clear leader emerge from this crop?

74 thoughts on “FL-Sen: Nelson Leads All, Except Jeb”

  1. I know a lot of people will probably disagree, because Rep. Mack might jump in and Haridopolis is already ramping up a campaign, but Sen. LeMieux has a conservative record in the U.S. Senate he can point to, while Hasner is a moderate with pro-environmentalist positions and Mack was arm-in-arm with Rep. Paul in defending WikiLeaks (which suggests to me he’s really not thinking about a statewide bid); he can respond to charges he’s too close with Gov. Crist by saying he put ideology and party unity in front of any personal feelings when he endorsed now-Sen.-elect Rubio; he doesn’t have any ethics issues the way Haridopolis seems to; and he’s a young guy who has already made some connections during his time in Washington.

    I’m rooting for Hasner, because he seems like a tolerable sort of Republican, but I think it’ll be LeMieux.

  2. They will not get out of the primary b/c they are too close to Crist. Haridopolos and Hasner were never close to Crist, even when he was a Republican. Hasner served under Rubio, and could receive behind the scenes help from him. Hasner also will raise a ton from Jewish Republicans and Meg Whitman. I’m sure he can self fund too now, considering Whitman probably paid his wife millions. I would expect him to raise the most out of the field since he will get an early start and has connections, unless Buchanan runs. At this point, I think Hasner and Haridopolos are favorites, but probably Hasner b/c of Haridopolos’s ethics issues. This is assuming a Hasner, LeMeiux, Mack, Haridopolos field. If Rooney, Carrol, or Buchanan runs, that changes the whole equation.  

  3. I’m a lot more worried about McCaskill and Tester (only if Rehberg runs) than about Nelson (and, marginally more so, Virginia, but with or without Webb, I’m not worried about it at all).

  4. I’ll just throw it out there, but I think a lot of Democrats are a bit more optimistic about Republican’s chances than they probably should be.  I just don’t see how the Republicans sustain at anywhere near the level they peaked in 2010 the tea party fervor of this period.  I also have to be convinced that there is was or will be some grand anti-incumbent mood.  I say that so long as Democrats don’t say stupid things there chances will  be at least as good in 2012 if not better.

  5. I’m about 99 percent certain Lemieux doesn’t have a shot in hell, though. Sure, he has a generic conservative record, but he’s the appointee of CHARLIE CRIST, who’s about as popular with the Florida GOP as Mel Gibson is with Zionists.

  6. I find this little tidbit from Claire McCaskill more than a little strange;


    you rarely see incumbents release fundraising goals for reporting purposes so far out. Smacks a bit of desperation (though I think that is just bad PR rather than a sign of actual fear/panic from her).

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