Poll: Battle for Senate seat in Florida
May 26th, 2011
09:41 AM ET
12 years ago

Poll: Battle for Senate seat in Florida

(CNN) – A new poll spotlighting Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida may give both Democrats and Republicans material to spin.

The Quinnipiac University survey, released Thursday, indicates that 51 percent of Florida voters approve of the job Nelson's doing, with just less than one in four saying they disapprove of how Nelson, a two-term senator who could face a challenging re-election next year, is performing in office.

The poll also indicates Nelson leads Florida Senate President Mike Haridopolos, former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux and former state Rep. Adam Hasner by 20 or more points in hypothetical 2012 general election matchups. But Nelson's under the magical 50 percent mark in all three potential showdowns.

According to the survey, 48 percent of Florida voters say Nelson deserves a third term in office, with three in ten saying he doesn't deserve to be re-elected.

"Sen. Bill Nelson appears to be in strong shape looking toward his 2012 re-election," says Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "When matched against any of three possible GOP challengers, however, Nelson is short of the key 50 percent mark, the magic threshold that signals that an incumbent is going to be very difficult to beat. His strength apparently lies in voter satisfaction with his performance in office."

The poll indicates the battle for the GOP Senate nomination in Florida is wide open, with nearly two-thirds of Republican voters saying they don't know who they'd vote for if the primary were held today, 14 percent backing LeMieux, 13 percent supporting Haridopolos and four percent backing Hasner.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted May 17 through May 23, with 1,196 Florida registered voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.8 percentage points.

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Filed under: 2012 • Bill Nelson • Florida • Polls • Senate
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE - The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    An two term incumbent that gets less than 50% in matchups against virtual unknowns is NOT "in strong shape looking toward his 2012 re-election". Talk about spin! Remember the context in which he'll have to defend his seat. Peopl ewill be turning out in droves to throw Obama out of office. Nelson will likely leave with him. He has the stench of Obama and his policies all over him.

    May 26, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  2. Sniffit

    "According to the survey, 48 percent of Florida voters say Nelson deserves a third term in office, with three in ten saying he doesn't deserve to be re-elected."

    That's a pretty good number, so the question really becomes whether, like Dems are wont to do by failing at the messaging war, he will manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Given the GOP's current insistence on rolling around in the hot coals of trying to repeal and replace Medicare, it should be a cake walk for him if he plays his cards right, but I wouldn't put it past him to pull a Coakley by getting overconfident or something.

    May 26, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. diridi

    Florida, you know now, Paul Ryan's plan backed up by GOP thugs denying the medicare and social security and eradicating thereof.....you know and better know....just vote any Democrat....Obama2012. Tell that idiot, Ron Johnson Wisconsin guy, a new guy to politics... , it is GOP thugs Iraq war that needs to be ended, which created this deficit....deficit takes some time to fix, not overnight....o.k,

    May 26, 2011 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  4. Fools wearing tea-pends

    Anybody who gets more than 50% of the collective nutts in Fla to support them holds a commanding lead. Look at the rest of the state – Repubs are going down in flames – the only one who is surviving is Rubio and that's because of two finatical groups supporting him; delusional tea-baggers and the Cubans who will support one of their own no matter how much they disagree with destroying medicare – no matter what they hate Castro more.

    May 26, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  5. Rudy NYC

    The Governer will hold the party line and make sure that Republicans lose this race.
    ( and any other state wide races until his term has expired )

    May 26, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  6. John

    There no Republican only to beat him. Not with you Republican keep after the PAUL RYAN PLAN It Will be the doom of all Republican. Republican don't listen to the 80% of American people that think the PLAN IS a bunch of Crap. So you Republican try winning In 2012 With only 20% of the vote. You are going to lose a lot of seat In the House and Senate In 2012. I would even bet that Paul Ryan Won't even win his Seat back In 2012.

    May 26, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  7. Lynda/Minnesota

    What's to spin here? Having only been in office for a few months, Gov. Rick Scott now sits at 29% approval. Jacksonville just elected it's first Democratic Mayor in 20 years. Apparently, GOPers are having a difficult time in Fla. Quite understandable, considering their overreach of the past few months.

    May 26, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  8. GOP-Tea Party Radical Social Engineering to Kill Grandma Medicare

    There are far more seniors in Florida and they are already having a buyers remorse voting for that scary-eyed gov. Rick Scott who's cutting teachers, fire fighters, police, emergency workers jobs to give TAX CUTS to his wealthy & Healthcare buddies!!! He is on a quick-sand off the coast of FL with his poll numbers dropping fast in less than six months!

    FL seniors should be aware that voting for ANY republican going forward will be a kiss of death!

    Welcome Death Panels for Grandma courtesy of the Republican-Tea party....kiss that your well-treasured medicare goodbye because GOP Paul Ryan Medicare Plan just killed it!!!

    May 26, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  9. carrotroot

    I live in Florida and Nelson is in very good shape. The Republican controlled legislature is going down in flames thanks to Rick Scott ... without a doubt is largely contributing to his good poll numbers.

    May 26, 2011 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    @The Day of Financial Reckoning is HERE – The Great Democrat Welfare Society Ends

    Look at your own spin, my friend. The Ryan Plan is scaring the hell out of the seniors in FL, and with a incrediably unpopular governor in office following the same blueprint as Ryan/Walker/Kasich, et all, Nelson will win. It may be by default, but the clear fact remains that he's only 2 points below the so-called magic threshold, and he has all the advantages of incumbency. You spin a 2% gap as a sign he's going down 18 months ahead of the election. People will NOT turn out in droves to throw Obama or the Dems out of office because none of the declared or undeclared candidates for POTUS has shown the slightest bit of leadership and offered alternative plans to Obama on anything, including Medicare. They are running from Ryan: even the lukewarm statement of " he has started the discussion" is not persuading anyone. FL will go blue again, and Nelson will get another 6 years. The TP members in FL will all be gone in 2012, along with their counterparts in NY, PA, OH, IN, IL, MI, WI, enough to flip the House back. The GOP Senate Caucus lost at least 5 senators yesterday when it came to voting on the Ryan Plan, and if Lisa Murkowski won't vote for it, you know there is a problem with your approach.

    May 26, 2011 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    With Florida's Governor Rick Scott and his 29% approval rating, I've a got a feeling Florida likes a lot of Democrats right now.

    May 26, 2011 11:04 am at 11:04 am |