Connie Mack Enters U.S. Senate Race With 23-Point Lead Over Other GOP Hopefuls

Whereas "someone else/not sure" was the overwhelming leader in previous polls for the Republican nomination in next year's U.S. Senate race, Rep. Connie Mack's entrance into the race changes things a bit.

Mack enters with the support of 32 percent of Republican voters, according to the most recent Quinnipiac University poll released this morning, still behind the 45 percent for "someone else/not sure" but well above the next human, with George LeMieux at 9 percent.

"The entrance of Congressman Connie Mack into the Senate race changes what had been shaping up as an easy reelection for Sen. Bill Nelson into a tough fight that the incumbent could lose," says Quinnipiac's Peter A. Brown. "The fact that Mack is essentially tied with Nelson, who has been a statewide political figure for two decades, should set off warning bells at Democratic headquarters."

The problem with the candidates before Mack threw his hat in the ring was that Republican voters didn't really know who the hell these guys were.

In late September, another polling company asked GOP voters whether they approved of LeMieux, Adam Hasner, Mike McCalister, and Craig Miller.

"Not sure" was the majority answer on all four ranging from 71 percent for LeMieux and 89 percent for Miller.

Even with Mack's large lead over the rest of the GOP candidates, he's still behind Sen. Bill Nelson by about two points, with independents preferring Nelson at a six-point spread.

Brown says President Obama's reelection campaign in Florida could have a "major role" in deciding a race between Mack and Nelson.

The pollsters also found that Florida voters approve of Sen. Marco Rubio's job performance just as much as they ever have, with 49 percent thumbs-up and 29 percent thumbs-down.

Nelson's approval rating seems to shift by around five points in either direction every month, but this month, it's 47 percent approving and 27 percent disapproving.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley