Florida Senate Race Tightens

by Mike on February 14, 2006

in Politics

The latest Rasmussen poll in Florida shows a tightening race between Senator Bill Nelson (D) and Katherine Harris (R). According to the latest poll, Nelson leads Harris 49%-40%. Nelson’s 9 point lead is significantly lower then the 23 point lead he enjoyed a month ago. Also significant is the fact that the liberal incumbent is now under 50 percent.

I have handicapped this race as a likely Democrat hold for a long time but I am now upgrading the race to merely leaning Democrat. The pundits are right when they label Harris as a polarizing figure as a result of her decision to follow the law in 2000, but it must be remembered that at the time, everyone knew Bush won Florida and everyone knew Harris was simply doing her job. (By “everyone” I mean reasonable people). Harris’ actions in 2000 will help her more than it hurts her.

The albatross hanging around Harris’ neck throughout this race had nothing to with 2000. Republican woes in Florida can be placed squarely on the shoulders of the Republican party establishment who attempted to undermine her candidacy. This is no longer the case. With the GOP squarely in her corner, Harris now has the ability to make this a race. She is a strong campaigner and has lots of fodder to use against Nelson.

This race leans Democrat but look for the race to tighten into a tossup before too long.

CURRENT PROJECTION: Leaning Democrat. (hold)

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

noonan February 15, 2006 at 10:21 am

Harris has cleared one major hurtle in solidifying her previously lacking support within the party. Also to her advantage is that there are more Republicans than Dems in FL.

Her big problem is with the independents, where she trails 64-18 according to Rasmussen. It just looks fishy that her candidacy is some type of reward for 2000, and that’s how Dems will paint it.

Addressing this perception, or better, refocusing the issues on Nelson’s left of the voters voting record, will be her best bet.


Mike February 15, 2006 at 12:08 pm

You need the Republicans on board before the indys will follow. Her 2000 actions are not unpopular. When people are reminded of what she actually stopped, her numbers with the indys will improve. The GOPs attempts to undermine her candidacy this year and back in 2004 should quiet the squawking, or at least confine it to the left.

That said, I agree with you Noonan. Those #s with the indys must improve. Until they do, I’m handicapping this as lean Dem.


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