Bill Nelson (D-inc): 44
Connie Mack IV (R): 36
This poll's been out there for a little while now, but with SSP Headline News enjoying an extended vacation from the blogosphere, I called the boys down at SSP Reclamation Services & Towing to drag this fugging thing out of the swamp before it becomes lost to time.
Bill Nelson, going for his third term in 2012, doesn't appear to be in an especially sound position, sitting in the mid-40s against all comers and sporting a seemingly pedestrian approval rating of 36-33. However, as Tom Jensen explains, the math is a little bit kinder to Nelson than first meets the eye:
Nelson's approval numbers don't appear on the surface to be that good, with 36% of voters approving of him and 33% disapproving with a pretty remarkable 31% holding no opinion even after nearly 16 years in statewide office. There are some unusual quirks in his numbers though that amount to him actually being stronger than his topline numbers might suggest. Democrats are pretty tepid toward him, with only 45% approving to 19% who disapprove. Usually we see folks closer to the 70% approval mark within their own parties. But he has an unusual level of popularity with Republicans- 23% might not sound like a lot of crossover support but many Democrats this year are finding themselves with single digit approval with Republicans. And Nelson's on positive ground with independents as well at 42/36, again somewhat unusual in a year where those voters were not particularly friendly to Democrats.
As it is right now, Jeb Bush would be the GOP's strongest recruit, but it seems pretty clear that a Jeb candidacy is simply not going to happen. We're left with a platter of second-tier choices: outgoing Sen. George LeMieux, state Senate President Mike Haridopolos, state House Majority Leader Adam Hasner, and Rep. Connie Mack IV. Haridopolos is the only one of the above who is (more or less) actually in the race, but Hasner seems a likely candidate, and Mack and LeMieux are actively weighing the race, as well. Will a clear leader emerge from this crop?