The Washington Times - August 17, 2012, 02:11PM

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson holds a 7-percentage point lead over GOP challenger Rep. Connie Mack in Florida’s U.S. Senate race, a new poll shows.

Mr. Mack is coming off a strong showing in Tuesday’s primary in which he emerged as the clear winner among four candidates. But the results of a Rasmussen Reports released Friday shows Mr. Nelson with the support of 47 percent respondents in the general election, while Mr. Mack earned 40 percent. Three percent of the survey’s respondents like some other candidate and 10 percent are undecided.


Mr. Nelson this week has been running advertisements questioning Mr. Mack’s fitness for office, and  Rasmussen pollsters suggest they may have played a role in the rising negative opinions of the challenger among voters. The survey showed 22 percent of voters regard him as “very unfavorable” — up eight points from a month ago, while just 14 percent hold a “very favorable view” of the congressman.

In contrast, Mr. Nelson’s favorability numbers have improved over the past month, as he now is viewed as “very favorably” by 21 percent , and “very unfavorably” by 18 percent.

The telephone survey of 500 likely voters was conducted on Aug. 15, 2012. The margin of sampling error is plus-or-minus 4.5 percentage points

Rasmussen Reports rates the race as “leaning Democrat.” Mr.  Nelson was first elected to the Senate in 2000 to fill the seat vacated by Mr. Mack’s father, and the seat in one Republicans have been eyeing in their bid to reclaim control of the Senate in November.