The Washington Times - July 13, 2012, 04:12PM

Florida Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson holds a 5-percentage-point lead over GOP Rep. Connie Mack in his bid for a third term in the Senate, a new poll shows.

Mr. Nelson earned 47 percent of the vote compare with Mr. Mack’s 42 percent, with 11 percent of those surveyed undecided, according to results of a Mason-Dixon Polling & Research survey released Friday.

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Mr. Nelson held advantages over Mr. Mack, the GOP frontrunner in the August Republican primary, in central Florida, southeast Florida and the Tampa Bay area, while Mr. Mack led in the state’s less populated north and southwest regions.

Independents chose Mr. Nelson over Mr. Mack, 50 percent to 39 percent, with 11 percent undecided.

The senator has finished ahead of Mr. Mack in most recent independent polls, though he has had trouble cracking the 50 percent mark.

“Anytime there’s an incumbent under 50 percent, that’s a warning sign that people are against you,” Mason-Dixon pollster Brad Coker said. He added that Mr. Nelson 2010 vote to support President Obama’s health care reforms could be hurting him.

Mr. Mack, who hails from the Fort Myers/Naples area in the state’s southwest corner, has served the House since January 2005.

The survey of 800 registered voters was taken Monday through Wednesday with margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.5 percentage-points.