Poll says Nelson lead over Harris widens

Published October 26, 2006

TALLAHASSEE - Fears among Florida Republicans that U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris' bid for the U.S. Senate could hurt the party in other races may be well founded, a poll released Wednesday indicates.

Incumbent Democrat Bill Nelson has widened a big lead over Harris in results announced by the Quinnipiac (Conn.) University Polling Institute.

Nelson was favored by 64 percent of likely voters to 29 percent for Harris.

The survey of 816 likely voters was taken between Oct. 18 and Sunday, before Monday night's televised debate between Nelson and Harris. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Two weeks ago, Nelson led 61 to 33 percent.

While Nelson went up, Republican gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist has gone down, according to Quinnipiac polling. A recent survey on the governor's race indicates Democrat Jim Davis has nearly caught Crist, with Crist favored by 46 percent to Davis' 44.

"The expectation among the electorate that Rep. Harris is headed for defeat can't help Republican turnout," Quinnipiac assistant poll director Peter Brown said.