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Poll: Sen. Nelson Opens 7 Point Lead Over Mack

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WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 02: Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), gives a thumbs up as he walks to vote on the debt limit bill on August 2, 2011 in Washington, DC. The Senate voted 74-26 to approve the bill to raise the debt ceiling, allowing the U.S. to avoid default on its debts. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 02: Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL), followed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), gives a thumbs up as he walks to vote on the debt limit bill on August 2, 2011 in Washington, DC. The Senate voted 74-26 to approve the bill to raise the debt ceiling, allowing the U.S. to avoid default on its debts. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

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campaign 2012 new2 Poll: Sen. Nelson Opens 7 Point Lead Over Mack

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Florida Senator Bill Nelson is underwater when it comes to his approval rating, but he’s still ahead by seven points over Republican challenger Representative Connie Mack, IV, according to the later Public Policy Polling poll.

According to the poll, Senator Nelson leads Representative Mack 45-38, which is a five-point increase from a similar PPP poll taken in late July. Overall, Nelson has a 35 percent approval compared to 42 percent disapproval.

But the reason Nelson continues to lead is that Mack is even more unpopular. The PPP poll found only 27 percent of voters approved of Mack compared to 45 percent who had an unfavorable view.

In addition, only 17 percent of independents had a positive opinion of Mack compared to 48 percent who had a negative opinion. Nelson had a 45-29 approval rating among independents.

Elsewhere in the poll, former Governor Charlie Crist has a negative favorability rating by a 36-44 percent margin with Republicans giving him a score of 24 percent approval to 60 percent disapproval. Forty-four percent of voters said Crist should complete his party switch and become a Democrat.

PPP ran a hypothetical matchup with Crist running as a Democrat against Governor Rick Scott and found the former Governor with a three point lead over Scott. However, a generic Democrat held a similar three point lead over Scott as well.

Speaking of the governor, he received his best approval numbers since taking office in the new poll. However, the numbers were still underwater with 41 percent approving of his job as governor and 45 percent disapproving of his job performance.

PPP also found that Democrats lead a generic Congressional ballot in Florida by a 44-43 percent margin, including a 39-28 percent advantage among independents.

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