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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Poll: Bill Nelson would lose to Charlie Crist, Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio



Miami Herald: Florida voters dislike the new health reform law so much that President Obama and the state’s top Democrat, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, are paying a hefty political price, according to a new survey and analysis by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research. Only 34 percent of Florida voters support the new law while 54 percent are opposed – well outside of the 4 percent error-margin for the poll of 625 registered voters.

Opposition is even stronger among the two crucial voting blocs in Florida: voters older than 65 and voters with no party affiliation. Seniors disfavor the bill by a 65-25 percent margin, while independent voters oppose the law 62-34.

The poll also shows that, by a 15 percentage-point margin, more Floridians have a negative view of Obama than a positive one. And they oppose his so-called “cap-and-trade” global warming legislation as well as the new healthcare law.

The “eye-popping” numbers in the poll concerned health care, seniors and Sen. Nelson, Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker said. He said elder voters were once a reliable base of support for Sen. Nelson, but no more.

“The only saving grace for Bill Nelson is that his election is in 2012 and some of the anger might die down by then,” Coker said. “But he probably can’t escape the damage completely.”

The percentage of voters who have an unfavorable opinion of Nelson -- 34 percent -- is just 2 percentage points higher than those who have an unfavorable view of him. Since his 2006 re-election, Nelson’s popularity has nose-dived 18 percentage points, the poll shows.

Because Florida is such a crucial swing state with so many seniors, Nelson’s troubles are a shot across the bow for Democrats everywhere, Coker said. The poll shows Nelson would lose to Republicans in theoretical match-ups against former Gov. Jeb Bush, Gov. Charlie Crist and his current U.S. Senate opponent Marco Rubio.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 9, 2010 11:25am]


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