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Florida Senate - Mack vs. Nelson

Candidates

Connie Mack

Connie Mack (R)

Bio | Campaign Site

Bill Nelson

Bill Nelson (D)*

Bio | Campaign Site

Florida Snapshot

RCP Average:
RCP Ranking:
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Polling Data

PollDateSampleMack (R)Nelson (D)Spread
Final Results----42.255.2Nelson +13.0
RCP Average10/25 - 11/4--43.850.0Nelson +6.2
PPP (D)11/3 - 11/4955 LV4651Nelson +5
NBC/WSJ/Marist10/30 - 11/11545 LV4352Nelson +9
TBT/Herald/Mason-Dixon10/30 - 11/1800 LV4349Nelson +6
Gravis Marketing10/30 - 10/30549 LV4649Nelson +3
SurveyUSA10/25 - 10/27595 LV4149Nelson +8

All Florida Senate - Mack vs. Nelson Polling Data

RCP Poll Average
Florida Senate - Mack vs. Nelson
43.8Mack (R)
50.0Nelson (D)+6.2
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Race Analysis

10/30/2012 -- Bill Nelson is inching toward 50 percent and is reaching the point where Mack would have to win virtually all of the undecided voters to pull off the upset. This is looking more and more like a missed opportunity for the GOP.

----------Race Preview---------

Florida provided an unlikely site for the initial attempts at European colonization of the New World.  But a desire to protect the Gulf of Mexico from French exploration, which threatened the vital shipments of gold that flowed from the Aztec and Incan empires near the Florida Keys, brought permanent Spanish settlement to the area in the mid-1500s.  But as Spain went into decline, so too did its holdings in Florida.  After a period of back-and-forth between Spanish, English, and American forces, including Spain's acquiescence to England to use of Pensacola as a naval base in the War of 1812, Spain ceded Florida to the U.S. in 1819.

When Florida was admitted to the union in 1845, most of the populace was centered around Tallahassee and the panhandle, eschewing the dank, unhealthy swamp in the south.  To give some idea of scale, in 1854, Dade County's congressional vote was 19 votes for the Democrat and four votes for the Whig.  But in 1894, a severe freeze wiped out most of the citrus crop in the state. A second freeze in early 1895 finished the damage. All that was left was a single citrus farm owned by a fortunate widow in the Miami area.  It was a natural monopoly in the truest sense of the word. Given this leverage, she persuaded railroad magnate Henry Flagler to extend his railroad line south to Miami. He did so, in exchange for a 100-acre tract of land and an agreement to build a hotel. Thus was modern Miami born, as settlers flocked to the "freeze-proof" land. The first train tracks reached Miami in 1895; the city was incorporated in 1896 with 444 citizens.

Of course, Miami and the peninsula didn't stay sparsely populated for long, as northern immigrants transformed the state's landscape -- and its politics.  From 1970 to 2000, Democratic voter registration plummeted from 72 percent to 43 percent, though the party seems to have stanched the bleeding in recent years.  Today Florida leans a bit to the right of center, although its population continues to change at a rapid pace.

Bill Nelson is in many ways the last of a dying breed of moderate white Southern Democrats.  First elected to the House in 1978, Nelson's voting record was quite conservative.  He lost a bid for the gubernatorial nomination in 1990, but came back and won a Senate seat in 2000.  This time around, his voting record has been further to the left, though he is still one of the more conservative Democrats in the Senate. 

In 2006 he caught a break when Republicans nominated former Secretary of State Kathleen Harris to challenge him.  The parties disagree on whether Nelson caught a similar break this time.  The Republican nominee is Rep. Connie Mack IV, whose father held this Senate seat until retiring in 2000.  Mack's bid has been marred by problems, including stories about his hard-partying youth and questions about his recent voting record.  Republicans insist that this is a referendum on Nelson, whose popularity ratings are weak, while Democrats claim that a flawed challenger cannot win this seat.

Polling Data

PollDateSampleMack (R)Nelson (D)Spread
Final Results----42.255.2Nelson +13.0
RCP Average10/25 - 11/4--43.850.0Nelson +6.2
PPP (D)11/3 - 11/4955 LV4651Nelson +5
NBC/WSJ/Marist10/30 - 11/11545 LV4352Nelson +9
TBT/Herald/Mason-Dixon10/30 - 11/1800 LV4349Nelson +6
Gravis Marketing10/30 - 10/30549 LV4649Nelson +3
PPP (D)10/26 - 10/28687 LV4250Nelson +8
CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac10/23 - 10/281073 LV3952Nelson +13
SurveyUSA10/25 - 10/27595 LV4149Nelson +8
Rasmussen Reports10/25 - 10/25750 LV4649Nelson +3
Sunshine State News/VSS10/22 - 10/241001 LV4449Nelson +5
Rasmussen Reports10/18 - 10/18750 LV4348Nelson +5
PPP (D)10/17 - 10/18800 LV4145Nelson +4
SurveyUSA10/17 - 10/18600 LV4048Nelson +8
PPP (D)10/12 - 10/14791 LV3745Nelson +8
Rasmussen Reports10/11 - 10/11750 LV4546Nelson +1
TBT/Herald/Mason-Dixon10/8 - 10/10800 LV4247Nelson +5
NBC/WSJ/Marist10/7 - 10/9988 LV3952Nelson +13
UNF10/1 - 10/9683 LV4050Nelson +10
WeAskAmerica10/4 - 10/41200 LV4444Tie
Rasmussen Reports10/4 - 10/4500 LV4152Nelson +11
NBC/WSJ/Marist9/30 - 10/1890 LV4152Nelson +11
Gravis Marketing9/29 - 9/30914 LV4343Tie
Suffolk/WSVN*9/27 - 9/30600 LV3440Nelson +6
CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac9/18 - 9/241196 LV3953Nelson +14
PPP (D)9/20 - 9/23861 LV3746Nelson +9
Washington Post9/19 - 9/23769 LV4054Nelson +14
TBT/Herald/Mason-Dixon9/17 - 9/19800 LV4048Nelson +8
WeAskAmerica9/18 - 9/181230 LV4247Nelson +5
FOX News9/16 - 9/18829 LV3549Nelson +14
Gravis Marketing9/15 - 9/161728 LV4342Mack +1
Rasmussen Reports9/12 - 9/12500 LV4047Nelson +7
NBC/WSJ/Marist9/9 - 9/11980 LV3751Nelson +14
SurveyUSA9/7 - 9/9596 LV3647Nelson +11
Gravis Marketing9/2 - 9/21288 LV4243Nelson +1
PPP (D)8/31 - 9/21548 LV3845Nelson +7
CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac8/15 - 8/211241 LV4150Nelson +9
Gravis Marketing8/20 - 8/20728 LV3946Nelson +7
Rasmussen Reports8/15 - 8/15500 LV4047Nelson +7
CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac7/24 - 7/301177 LV4047Nelson +7
PPP (D)7/26 - 7/29871 LV4345Nelson +2
SurveyUSA7/17 - 7/19647 LV4842Mack +6
Mason-Dixon7/9 - 7/11800 LV4247Nelson +5
Rasmussen Reports7/9 - 7/9500 LV4637Mack +9
Quinnipiac6/19 - 6/251200 RV4041Nelson +1
Quinnipiac6/12 - 6/181697 RV3943Nelson +4
PPP (D)5/31 - 6/3642 RV3649Nelson +13
Quinnipiac5/15 - 5/211722 RV4241Mack +1
NBC News/Marist5/17 - 5/201078 RV4246Nelson +4
Rasmussen Reports4/25 - 4/25500 LV3647Nelson +11
PPP (D)4/12 - 4/15700 RV3747Nelson +10
Quinnipiac3/20 - 3/261228 RV3644Nelson +8
Rasmussen Reports3/13 - 3/13500 LV4336Mack +7
Rasmussen Reports2/13 - 2/13500 LV4141Tie
TBT/Herald/Mason-Dixon1/24 - 1/26800 LV4245Nelson +3
Suffolk/WSVN1/22 - 1/24600 LV3242Nelson +10
Quinnipiac1/4 - 1/81412 RV4041Nelson +1
PPP (D)11/28 - 12/1700 RV3546Nelson +11
Rasmussen Reports11/17 - 11/17500 LV4339Mack +4
Quinnipiac10/31 - 11/71185 RV4042Nelson +2
PPP (D)3/24 - 3/27500 RV3447Nelson +13
Mason-Dixon2/9 - 2/10625 RV4045Nelson +5
PPP (D)12/17 - 12/201034 RV3644Nelson +8
PPP (D)10/9 - 10/10448 LV3342Nelson +9