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Maybe, according to the latest PPP Poll.

Job Approval Vs. Disapproval:

Senator Bill Nelson: 38% Vs. 34%

38% of voters approve of the job Nelson’s doing to 34% who disapprove. Those numbers sound uninspiring but the main reason for them is that only 55% of Democrats approve of the job he’s doing, where you’d usually expect someone to be in the 70-80% range within their own party. Nelson gets 74-80% of the Democratic vote against each of the Republicans we tested him against so this is a classic case where his base might not love him, but they’re still going to vote for him.

While Nelson doesn’t generate much enthusiasm from within his own party, he’s also not much of a turn off to Republicans. An unusually high 21% of them approve of the job he’s doing and he gets as much as 19% of the GOP vote in the head to heads against named Republicans.

Most of the time people focus on politicians’ approval number when analyzing their reelection chances and if you do that in Nelson’s case 38% doesn’t look so hot. I think it might be more instructive here though to look at Nelson’s disapproval number- is someone who only 34% of voters are unhappy with really going to get tossed out of office? Seems doubtful- certainly didn’t happen to any Senators or Governors last year.

Yes, but Nelson is still not viewed very favorably for an incumbent and that is a good sign for the GOP.

A bad sign for the Republicans though is that the candidates that poll the best against Nelson are not going to run.

Connie Mack IV, who announced he wouldn’t seek the office after we’d already started the poll, trailed Nelson by 13 points at 47-34. Another incredibly long shot candidate, MSNBC host and former Congressman Joe Scarborough, trails by 13 points as well at 45-32. Among the more plausible candidates former Senator George LeMieux does best but still trails by 15 points at 48-33. Mike Haridopolos and Adam Hasner trail by 16 points at 50-34 and 48-32 respectively, and Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales does the worst with a 19 point deficit at 47-28.

Head to Head:

  • 50% Nelson (D), 34% Haridopolis (R)
  • 48% Nelson (D), 32% Hasner (R)
  • 48% Nelson (D), 33% LeMieux (R)
  • 47% Nelson (D), 34% Mack (R)
  • 45% Nelson (D), 32% Scarborough (R)
  • 47% Nelson (D), 28% Wales (R)

Favorable Vs UnFavorable:

  • Mike Haridopolis: 9 / 23
  • Adam Hasner: 6 / 17
  • George LeMieux: 8 / 22
  • Connie Mack IV: 21 / 23
  • Joe Scarborough: 15 / 20
  • Jimmy Wales: 3 / 14

The GOP wants a pick-up in Florida. They just have to decide on a candidate and run him hard. Certainly, Nelson’s lack of favorability at this point smells like vulnerability but the NRSC and the Florida GOP have to understand that they will have to work hard to throw Nelson and hence Harry Reid out of office/majority.


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Democrat Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson

This is a likely pick-up seat for the GOP in 2012.
Florida Sen. Bill Nelson falls short of the 50 percent mark against five potential Republican opponents, according to a poll commissioned by Ron Sachs Communications and conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research.

The survey, which was shared exclusively with POLITICO, shows former Gov. Jeb Bush as the most powerful Republican challenger for Nelson. Bush leads the senator by 8 points, 49 percent to 41 percent.

But Bush is not considered likely to run, and the polling memo notes that a challenge from the former governor is a “bullet [Nelson] will likely get to dodge.”

That means the Democrat will face off against a Republican who lacks Bush’s high profile and statewide popularity, such as Rep. Connie Mack, former Sen. George LeMieux, state Senate President Mike Haridopolos or former state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner.

Nelson fared better against all four of those candidates in the Sachs/Mason-Dixon poll, though he failed to win a majority of the vote in any match-up.

The closest race would be between Nelson and Mack, whose father – Connie Mack III – Nelson replaced in the Senate. Nelson would have just a 5-point advantage over Mack, leading 45 percent to 40 percent.

Against LeMieux, Nelson’s lead widens to 14 points — he’s ahead 49 percent to 35 percent. Nelson has a 23-point lead over Haridopolo (48 percent to 25 percent), and a 22-point lead over Hasner (46 percent to 22 percent).

The poll was taken from Feb. 9-10 and tested 625 registered voters.

If former Florida Governor Jewb Bush EVER wanted to re-enter the political arena, this is the race. It is Jeb’s for the taking.

If Jeb declines, then I would consider his political career over.


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