In most of the states where PPP has taken a look ahead to the 2012 Senate race so far, Republican voters really have no clue who they'd like their candidate to be against the Democratic incumbent. Florida is a glaring exception to that rule though: a whooping 72% of GOP voters in the state want Jeb Bush to be their standard bearer against Bill Nelson.
With Bush in the equation none of the other options given get any higher than 6%- that's for perennial candidate Bill McCollum- and once you get past McCollum no one else even tops 3%. Bush's relatively liberal stance for a Republican on immigration isn't giving him any trouble at least yet. The desire for him to be the nominee is even stronger with self identified conservatives at 77% than it is with moderates at 65%.
In all likelihood Florida Republicans will not see their desire for a Bush candidacy fulfilled so we also asked folks who they would want if Bush was not an option. In that scenario there's no consensus at all. Connie Mack IV comes out ahead with a pretty paltry 15% followed by Bill McCollum at 14%, George LeMieux at 11%, Jennifer Carroll at 10%, Mike Haridopolos at 9%, Vern Buchanan at 7%, and Adam Hasner at 3%.
There are two main takeaways from those numbers: the biggest and most obvious is that it couldn't be any more wide open for the GOP Senate nomination- any of these folks could end up winning if they ran and there are a lot more folks than these who could win if they ran too. There's probably nobody else other than Bush who could get into the race and start with an overwhelming lead in the primary.
The other big takeaway is the continued incredible weakness of LeMieux in pretty much all polling. His head start as a Senator for the last year and change has done little to familiarize and endear himself with Florida voters. In the general election part of this poll he did worse against Nelson than Mack and posted a similar margin to Haridopolos who hasn't had the incredible platform of a Senate seat already. Here he's just the third choice of Republican voters in the state amongst a pretty uninspiring group of choices. He may yet prove to be a strong candidate but if his tenure so far has given him any sort of early advantage it's only on fundraising.
Full results here