U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson’s campaign may be in serious trouble after giving up the double-digit lead it held in polls only weeks ago.
A new Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Voters shows Mack now leads Nelson by 46% of the vote to Nelson’s 37%.
The poll is good news for Connie Mack and his Republican Party since the Florida seat has been held by Nelson for more than a decade and would be a net loss in the Senate for Democrats. Republicans need only to pick off a net of 4 seats in the Senate to gain control.
Adding to incumbent Sen. Nelson’s political woes, American Crossroads, a political action committee overseen by conservative strategist Karl Rove, plans to spend millions on television ads this fall to connect Sen. Bill Nelson to President Barack Obama’s agenda, according to a Miami Herald report.
The super PAC has flexed its muscles in various key races around the country with good polling results in many cases.
Nelson "has a long record that makes him vulnerable," said Crossroads spokesman Nate Hodson.
The American Crossroads news comes on the heels of a $1 million injection into a new super PAC supporting Mack. Freedom PAC, financed by casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson, has already donated millions to super PACs supporting Mitt Romney.
Still, Nelson added $1.8 million to his campaign coffers in the quarter that ended June 30 and now has nearly $11 million cash on hand, far more than Mack. Some in Republican circles have concerns that Mack is not strong enough to defeat the two-term Nelson.
In a separate boost to Mack, anti-Nelson TV ads began running from another new PAC, American Commitment. The tax exempt advocacy group is like a super PAC but does not have to disclose its donors.
Their ad attacks Nelson for supporting the health care law and underscores how outside groups have dramatically changed the way campaigns are waged. Republicans already control the House after voters turned on Democrats in 2010. Until now, other Democrats were considered more vulnerable than Nelson, but that may not be the case for long if Nelson doesn’t step up his struggling campaign.
Besides the campaign efforts against Nelson, the groups plan to spend more than $24 million in Florida to oppose Obama and his policies. Meanwhile, recent polling suggests Nelson’s seat is in play and losing it could mean Democrats losing control of the Senate come November.