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Poll says Sen. Bill Nelson has 8-point lead on Rep. Connie Mack

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson holds a solid 8 percentage-point lead over one of his potential rivals, Rep. Connie Mack, in a new poll that shows Democrats are gaining political ground in Florida.

Nelson wins with 44 percent to Mack's 36 percent — a shift 7 percentage points in Nelson's favor since January, when the two were essentially tied, according to the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. Nelson's 8-point lead is outside the poll's 2.8 percent error margin.

Quinnipiac didn't poll former Republican Sen. George LeMieux, who's running against Mack for the GOP nomination. Previous polls showed Mack comfortably in the lead for the primary.

But, as the economy has improved, Democrats are picking up momentum in Florida. President Barack Obama now leads Republican Mitt Romney, whom Mack supports.

"President Barack Obama's surge in Florida is helping Sen. Bill Nelson's re-election chances," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the polling institute. "Just as President Obama's lead in the presidential race in the Sunshine State is fueled by female voters, so too is Nelson's."

Among female voters, Nelson leads Mack by 46 to 32 percent, an 8 percentage-point shift in the incumbent's favor. Similarly, Obama has surged with women, who may be turning from the Republicans amid the fight over insurance contraceptive coverage.

While Nelson has picked up modest support overall, Mack has dropped a little as well, targeted by LeMieux's campaign and a political committee, Saving Florida's Future.

Brown cautions that these are early results. The GOP primary is Aug. 14, and the general election is Nov. 6.

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson holds a solid 8 percentage-point lead over one of his potential rivals, Rep. Connie Mack, in a new poll that shows Democrats are gaining political ground in Florida.

Nelson wins with 44 percent to Mack's 36 percent — a shift 7 percentage points in Nelson's favor since January, when the two were essentially tied, according to the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. Nelson's 8-point lead is outside the poll's 2.8 percent error margin.

Quinnipiac didn't poll former Republican Sen. George LeMieux, who's running against Mack for the GOP nomination. Previous polls showed Mack comfortably in the lead for the primary.

But, as the economy has improved, Democrats are picking up momentum in Florida. President Barack Obama now leads Republican Mitt Romney, whom Mack supports.

"President Barack Obama's surge in Florida is helping Sen. Bill Nelson's re-election chances," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the polling institute. "Just as President Obama's lead in the presidential race in the Sunshine State is fueled by female voters, so too is Nelson's."

Among female voters, Nelson leads Mack by 46 to 32 percent, an 8 percentage-point shift in the incumbent's favor.

Similarly, Obama has surged with women, who may be turning from the Republicans amid the fight over insurance contraceptive coverage.

While Nelson has picked up modest support overall, Mack has dropped a little as well, targeted by LeMieux's campaign and a political committee, Saving Florida's Future.

Both have savaged Mack in cartoonish Web ads that mock him for fistfights he got in years ago as a young man and for some of his financial troubles that were exposed in his divorce starting in 2005.

About the same time, in February, LeMieux won a major straw poll by the Florida Federation of Republican Women. Mack trailed in third behind Plant City businessman Mike McCalister.

But pollster Brown cautions that the poll's findings are early results. The general election is Nov. 6. And Mack still has to survive the Aug. 14 GOP primary.

Poll says Sen. Bill Nelson has 8-point lead on Rep. Connie Mack 03/29/12 [Last modified: Thursday, March 29, 2012 11:58pm]

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