Fla Insider Poll: Bill Nelson, Connie Mack running away w expectations game
One reason Florida's U.S. Senate race has yet to capture much attention and excitement? Even in a political climate where the public is fed up with Washington politicians, politicos in Florida overwhelmingly expect Democratic incumbent Bill Nelson to win another term.
More than 100 of the most plugged in and experienced political observers in Florida responded to the latest St. Petersburg Times Florida Insider Poll, and seven in 10 said they expect the Orlando Democrat to win a third term. Plenty of them expect a close race or qualify their predictions to say it assumes a relatively strong showing by Barack Obama in Florida, but the poll clearly shows conventional political wisdom in this state favors Nelson. When Republican political donors and committees across the country weigh where to spend their money to try to capture the senate, an expensive state like Florida could be a low priority given the early expectations.
The entrance of U.S. Rep. Connie Mack IV, R-Fort Myers, has upended expectations in the GOP primary thanks mainly to Mack's name recognition inherited from his father, former U.S. Sen. Connie Mack III.
Five months ago former state House Speaker Adam Hasner of Boca Raton was the heavy favorite of our insiders to win the nomination, though former Sen. George LeMieux was seen as the strongest general election candidate. Now, however, three out of four insiders predict Mack will win the nomination and six in 10 say he would be the strongest general election candidate. About One in five expect Hasner to win the nomination, while about 20 percent say he would be the strongest candidate to take on Bill Nelson and about 20 percent say LeMieux would be (Several of Hasner's campaign staffers participated in the survey).
Not a single person voted for retired Army Col. Mike McCalister of Plant City or Winter Park businessman Craig Miller as the likely nominee or stongest general election candidate.
Participating in the latest Florida Insider Poll were 41 Democrats, 55 Republicans, and seven independents:
Ashley Walker, Rick Wilson, Ron Greenstein, Jeffrey Garcia, Damien Filer, Michelle Todd, Justin Day, Trey McCarley, John French, Jamie Miller, Mitchell Berger, Todd Wilder, Peter Schorsch, Rodney Barreto, Eric Jotkoff, Kathleen Shanahan, Kevin Cate, Bernie Campbell, Kirk Pepper, Carlos Curbelo, Jackie Lee, Hussein Cumber, Susan MacManus, Cory Tilley, Nancy McGowan, Scott Peelen, Erin VanSickle, Rockie Pennington, Kristy Campbell, Ron Sachs, Cynthia Henderson, David Beattie, Dylan Sumner, Derek Newton, Dave Aronberg, Jamie Wilson, Cindy Graves, Brian Ballard, Alberto Martinez, Marion Hammer, Mike Hightower, Screven Watson, Betty Castor, Ann Herberger, Karen Unger, Robert Coker, Bud Shorstein, Paul Bradshaw, Gus Corbella, Pete Mitchell, Mike Hamby, Roger Stone, Robin Rorapaugh, Abel Harding, Allan Bense, Rick Stauts, Nancy Watkins, Jim Rimes, Lucy Morgan, Don Hinkle, Eric Johnson, Sarah Rumpf, Alex Burgos, David Rancourt, Brett Doster, Marc Reichelderfer, Richard Gentry, David Johnson, Tom Lee, Towson Fraser, Mark Ferrulo, John Dowless, Jill Chamberlin, Joe Perry, Susie Wiles, Brian Crowley, Steve Schale, Aubrey Jewett, Andrew Gillum, Amber Stoner, Daniel Smith, Christina Johnson, Tyler Hudson, Andy Ford, Sandy Safley, Chris Ingram, Alex Sink, Rich Heffley, Greg Truax, Mike Hanna, Slater Bayliss, Ellen Freidin, Tom Eldon, Nels Kingston, Jim Kitchens, Jim Davis, Frank Tsamoutales, Nick Hansen, Stephen Shiver, Stephanie Kunkel, Andrew Weinstein, Darryl Paulson, Greg Turbeville, Susannah Randolph.