Thursday, October 14, 2010

Limbaugh would be weak against Nelson

Rush Limbaugh's one of the most influential figures in American politics who's never run for office...but what if he did run for office? His home state of Florida has an incumbent Democratic Senator up for reelection next cycle in Bill Nelson and we tested to see how Rush would do as the Republican challenger against Nelson.

The answer is not so well. Nelson leads Limbaugh 50-36 in that hypothetical match up. Nelson would have his party base pretty well locked up, independents would go for him overwhelmingly by a 58-30 margin, and even 21% of Republicans say they'd prefer Nelson to Limbaugh.

Limbaugh simply isn't very well liked. A majority of voters in the state, at 53%, have an unfavorable opinion of him to only 35% who see him positively. He is pretty well liked with Republicans at a 64/22 spread but independents strongly dislike him at 23/67 and certainly it's no surprise that only 13% of Democrats like him.

It's no surprise Limbaugh wouldn't be the toughest challenger to Nelson but whoever the Republicans put up is likely to have an uphill battle. Nelson's approval numbers aren't outstanding at a 40/35 spread. But what stands out is that he's unusually popular with Republicans in this highly polarized political climate (26% approval) and he's on positive ground with independents at 38/35. The reason his overall numbers aren't great is that he has only a 55% approval rating with Democrats but most of the ones who don't approve of him would still vote for him anyway given the choice between him and a Republican.

We also tested a more likely Nelson opponent in Connie Mack IV. He trails a hypothetical contest 42-33, doing better with independents than Limbaugh and losing fewer Republicans. Mack is an unknown quantity to 60% of voters in the state with 18% of those familiar with him rating him favorably and 21% unfavorably.

A PPP poll in July looking forward found Nelson leading Jeb Bush 46-44 and George LeMieux 49-28. This race has the potential to be competitive but the Republicans can't nominate just anyone to make it so.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

I find that all the learned, fact-loving liberals who viscerally hate Limbaugh have never actually listened to his show. Imagine that.

AG said...

Is there a chance that Crist could run again in 2012 in another three-way race?

wt said...

Also these are 2010 likely voters. I don't think the GOP can count on its position *improving* in the next two years.

So yes, we should probably nominate someone much closer to the center than Limbaugh.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"I find that all the learned, fact-loving liberals who viscerally hate Limbaugh have never actually listened to his show. Imagine that."

I have.

"Also these are 2010 likely voters. I don't think the GOP can count on its position *improving* in the next two years."

Yeah, I noted that in the press release. If this were 2008 (though 2012 won't be quite as Democratic as 2008, most likely), Nelson would be up 53-33 and 45-31 over Limbaugh and Mack, even assuming independents still lean as Republican as they do now (and they probably won't favor the Democrats as they did in the last two cycles, but they probably won't be as Republican as they are this cycle).

Ranjit said...

Closer to any election, democrats always bring Rush Limbaugh to the conversation. As they keep demonizing him, his audience are growing in leaps and bounds while all the liberal talk shows and TV shows are having poor ratings. Democrats are blaming Rush limbaugh, Karl rove, foreign entities. I thought, we had a democrat congress from 2007 and a president from 2009. Any one wants to talk about their policies?

Freedom Fighter said...

Boy, this article reaching just a bit! A hypothetical poll about a hypothetical race that's not going to occur, from a Democrat-oriented polling outfit...

Here's a prediction. If Limbaugh did actually take a pay cut and run for the seat, Nelson's campaign would last as long as the first debate.

After that, Limbaugh would win in a rout.It would be embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

So Limbaugh wouldn't do well against Nelson.

So what?

He's said repeatedly that he has absolutely no interest in running for any kind of office - why would he take the pay cut?

Or was this another one of those "let's get a gratuitous dig in at the Republicans" asides, like how much Ohioans dislike John Boehner's fake tan?

Weak, very weak.

Y'all are good pollsters, you know. But you don't have to be so damn snide about the opposition.

2421Rich said...

This post appears to be an attempt to distract us from the inevitable Democrat rout with a hypothetical political race two years from now.
Of course Limbaugh would poll badly after being demonized for 20 years. Most people who don't like Rush have never even listened to him but have formed their opinion based on what they have heard and read in the main stream media.

Anonymous said...

What a bunch of Democrat BS. Nelson will NEVER win re-election. He is an Obama drone and as a former astronaut he sided with O-Dumb-O to close the space center. No one, not even and idiot, would agree to send him back to DC. Too many people lost their jobs because of him. You can keep spinning the democrat bull but nobody's buying, duh!

Jordan Keiser said...

Talk about being desperate to get a mention on Rush's show! Are you guys hard-up?

Anonymous said...

PPP misses the point. Rush Limbaugh, with no political interest, no visibility as a politician, and no political money behind him would start out within 14 points of an established, incumbent Democrat Senator (according to a decidedly Left-wing polling outfit). That's pretty impressive.

And, as another commenter pointed out, Rush Limbaugh truly would eat Bill Nelson for lunch in a debate.

It's strange to ask voters this type of a question. Most voters will assume it's a joke and they wouldn't want to be seen as voting for a "celebrity" candidate who isn't actually running or serious about being involved in politics.

If Limbaugh actually ran, you'd be surprised at how seriously people would take him because it would be quickly apparent that he's not this cartoonish character the media make him out to be. Once the caricature of Limbaugh is destroyed and he's talking politics, he'd overtake Bill Nelson within a matter of weeks.

Dustin Ingalls said...

Limbaugh was suggested, along with Mack, by one of our commenters when we asked for question suggestions last week.

Jeff Jackie said...

I love the spin of the liberal pollster.

Nelson is unstoppable? Oh, really?

Nelson voted for Obamacare, Stiumulus, FinReg and the entire Obama agenda.

Once he is tied with that, we shall see how much of an "uphill battle" it is.

This is a swing state, not some commie blue state like Washington or Massachusetts (where even there Dems are on the run).

Roux said...

Why would Rush ever want to run? Answer: He wouldn't and as he says "I don't want to take the pay cut".

This is a ridiculous poll.

My guess is Nelson would win in a poll against Tiger Woods or Urban Meyer but what would it tell us. Absolutely nothing.

Anonymous said...

When can we see a:

Marco Rubio Vs. Chris Matthews

poll? That would be about as germain as this one.

A waste of bandwidth.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this polls does seem to be a waste of time. So what if "one" commenter suggested testing this match-up? If not this celebrity Floridian, how about another one like one of the NASCAR racers? I'm sure "one" commenter could just as easily suggested that.

Now, there WAS news in the reporting about Nelson versus Jeb Bush. That would be a possible match-up, and it reveals just how weak Sen. Nelson is. To be polling just two points ahead should be cause for major alarm in Nelson's senatorial office.

Jonathan said...

Bill Nelson is as popular as syphilis right now here in FL.

NRH said...

Limbaugh is a terrified little whiner in any format where he doesn't get to control the microphones and the editing. He doesn't go on talk shows because the last time he did, he went on Letterman and was utterly obliterated. When he had his own short-lived TV show, he had the entire studio audience cleared out one day when they called him on his BS. He's a terrible debater, and he knows it. He also has far too many enormously racist and idiotic statements on the record to make it through a campaign. His audience of dittoheads would come out and vote as they were told, but he'd never be able to overcome his far-right insanity with moderates or independents, let alone draw Democratic votes.

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