TALLAHASSEE — Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is 8 percentage points ahead of potential Republican challenger Connie Mack IV in a new poll of Florida voters.
Quinnipiac University released the poll Thursday. It shows Nelson leading Mack, a U.S. representative from Fort Myers, 44 percent to 36 percent in the Senate race. They had been in a statistical tie in a similar poll conducted by the Connecticut school in January.
Quinnipiac, though, did not conduct a poll matching Nelson and former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux, who is vying with Mack for the GOP nomination.
Pollsters interviewed 1,228 registered voters March 20 through March 26. The poll has a plus or minus 2.8 percentage point margin of error.
Nelson’s gain matches a similar surge by Democratic President Barack Obama in Florida.
A Rasmussen poll released earlier this month showed Mack with a 7 point advantage over Nelson. However, most polls dating back to October showed Nelson with an edge in the race, according to Real Clear Politics.
Mack officially joined the Senate race in November and instantly shot to the front of the Republican pack. He has high name recognition thanks largely to his father, former Sen. Connie Mack III, and great-grandfather, a Hall of Fame baseball player and manager. The younger Mack has represented Fort Myers and Naples in Congress since 2005.
Also in the race is retired Army Col. Mike McCalister, a Republicans. A GOP primary election will narrow the field in August.