Times/Herald poll: Bill Nelson 48%, Connie Mack 40%
The Republican shot at unseating Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is slipping away, according to a new Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald/Bay News 9 poll.
Nelson leads Republican Congressman Connie Mack IV 48 percent to 40 percent, a three-point shift in the Democrat's favor since July.
That's the good news for Mack, who is losing by double-digits in a slew of other recent surveys.
With the exception of an outlier poll from an Orlando firm, Gravis Marketing, Mack has been trailing between 8 and 14 points in the past seven statewide polls. The average of those polls, as compiled by Real Clear Politics, lists the spread at eight points, matching the Times/Herald/Bay News 9 poll.
The percentage of undecided voters, however, remains unusually high at 11 percent, with six weeks to go in the race.
Mack's decline is even sharper when voters are asked if they have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of him. In July, 30 percent of voters surveyed said they had a favorable view of the four-term U.S. representative from Cape Coral and his unfavorable rating was only 13 percent. Now, Mack is disliked by 33 percent of the voters surveyed and his favorability rating has dropped to 27 percent.
The telephone survey of 800 registered Florida voters — all likely to vote in the Nov. 6 election — was conducted Sept. 17-19 for the Times, Herald, El Nuevo Herald, Bay News 9 and Central Florida News 13. The poll, which included respondents using land-lines and cell phones, was conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling and Research, a nonpartisan Jacksonville-based company. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.
The Mack campaign's response: "After spending nearly a third of his war chest in the millions of dollars to smear Connie Mack, 12 year liberal incumbent Bill Nelson still continues to toil under 50% by most major poll reporting; while any number of polls continue to show Connie Mack either slightly behind Nelson, within striking distance to one point ahead, as reported earlier this week. There is no question that the outcome of the Presidential election and the fate of the U.S. Senate rests in Florida and we are confident that both Mitt Romney and Connie Mack will carry through on Election Day.
"Shockingly, Bill Nelson is now ducking debates, most notably with forums hosted by CNN and former Democrat Senator Bob Graham. Nelson has been caught again saying one thing to Floridians when he accepted the CNN debate, and then doing another by withdrawing from it yesterday. If Bill Nelson cannot defend his record in front of Senator Graham or even CNN, how can Floridians ever expect him to come clean about his support of ObamaCare and his vote to gut the military by $500 billion."