A new Quinnipiac University Polling Institute shows that incumbent Florida Senator Bill Nelson is ahead of his best known rival in the 2006 race:
Quinnipiac’s snapshot of that race some 14 months before the primary showed Nelson favored by 55 percent of those asked to 26 percent for [Republican state House Speaker Allan] Bense. [GOP state Senate President Tom] Lee, who is now out of that contest, actually fared a bit better, trailing Nelson 53-30.
Nelson was favored by 50 percent compared to 38 percent for Harris, who may get a challenge from Bense, a wealthy Panama City developer being courted by the White House and Gov. Jeb Bush to get into the race.
The poll had some good news for Katherine Harris regarding the GOP primaries: “Harris would easily defeat either GOP challenger if an election were held now, the Quinnipiac survey indicated. She was favored by 54 percent of the 477 Republicans surveyed to Lee’s 10 percent and just 6 percent for Bense.”
And there was some dowbeat news for Sen. Nelson: “After nearly five years in office, Nelson’s support is lukewarm, even among Democrats. He received a 46 percent job approval rating from those questioned and even 36 percent of the Democratic respondents said they’d rather see someone else in Nelson’s job.”
Finally, the poll showed that some of the tarnish on President George Bush has rubbed off on his Florida man in the Senate: “Florida’s newly elected U.S. Sen. Republican Mel Martinez of Orlando, received a 45 percent compared to 29 percent who disapproved. Another 26 percent said they didn’t know. Martinez was elected last year.”