(CNN) – While Rep. Connie Mack has a solid lead in the crowded Florida field of GOP Senate hopefuls, a new poll indicates he falls slightly behind incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, his would-be opponent.
Mack, a four-term congressman, has the backing of 41% of Republican registered voters in the primary race, while his Republican competitors trail far behind in the single digits, according a Quinnipiac University survey released Thursday.
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The poll was conducted entirely before one of the Republican contenders, former Sen. George LeMieux, announced Wednesday he was dropping out of the race, citing low name recognition and low poll numbers.
With LeMieux still in the survey's mix, however, he pulls eight percent of support among voters, while retired Army Col. Mike McCalister has five percent and former Rep. Dave Weldon takes two percent.
The results come less than two months before the state's primary election on August 14, just days before Republicans flood the state for the GOP's national convention.
Mack enjoys the support of many high-profile Republicans, including those from both the establishment and more conservative wings of the party. Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Rep. Michele Bachmann, and Rep. Rand Paul are among those who fall in Mack's column.
"At this point, the Republican Senate nomination is Congressman Connie Mack's to lose," said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "In politics, anything is possible and we still have two months to go until the Senate primary, but it would take a major change in public opinion for one of the other candidates to stop Connie Mack."
If he wins the primary, Mack would be challenging two-term Sen. Nelson in a race that could "go down to the wire," according to Brown.
The poll results show Democrat Nelson with a small edge over Mack, 43%-39%, a margin that falls within the survey's sampling error.
The same poll also indicates a similar trend in the presidential race. President Barack Obama similarly comes out with a four percentage point lead over Republican rival Romney in Florida.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted between June 12 and June 18, with 1,697 registered voters in Florida questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.