ByÂ Christina Bellantoni, Roll Call
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is the strong favorite among Republican voters to challenge Sen.Â Bill Nelson (D) in 2012, a new Public Policy Polling survey shows.
Tom Jensen, director of the Democratic-leaning polling firm, said the findings â€” 72 percent of GOP voters chose Bush as their preferred candidate â€” differ from other state surveys in which voters have â€œno clueâ€ whom they want to challenge the Democratic incumbent.
â€œWith Bush in the equation none of the other options given get any higher than 6% â€” thatâ€™s for perennial candidate Bill McCollum â€” and once you get past McCollum no one else even tops 3%,â€Â Jensen wrote on the PPP blog.
Bush, President George W. Bushâ€™s brother, won over both conservatives and moderate Republicans in the poll of 400 GOP primary voters taken Dec. 17-20.
If Bush was not a choice, Florida Republican voters liked the following candidates:
Rep. Connie Mack IV, 15 percent;
McCollum, 14 percent;
outgoing appointed Sen.Â George LeMieux, 11 percent;
state Lt. Gov.-elect Jennifer Carroll, 10 percent;
state Senate President Mike Haridopolos, 9 percent;
Rep.Â Vern Buchanan, 7 percent;
and state Rep. Adam Hasner, 3 percent.
Jensen added in his blog post that LeMieux has shown â€œcontinued incredible weakness … in pretty much all pollingâ€ even though he is one of the likeliest candidates.
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