« Couriel's latest mailer criticizes Margolis, but it's not what it appears | Main | With flooding and damage in the NE, will talk of a cat fund re-emerge? »

How much did the Bill Nelson/Connie Mack debate matter?

When Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson faced off in a debate against Republican U.S. Rep. Connie Mack, it's clear they were both armed with plenty of barbs and quips to help fire up their supporters.

But how many people were actually watching? 

While nobody has compiled total viewership, television stations estimated that 42,000 people watched in Tampa and 32,000 in Miami.

The event was held at Nova Southeastern University on Oct. 17, and is the only time the candidates will face-off before voters go to the polls Nov. 6.

By contrast, former Gov. Charlie Crist, former U.S. Rep. Kendrick Meek and U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio sparred in six debates in 2010. Tampa station WFTS reported a viewership of 63,000 people during the second debate alone.

Ron Sachs, who helped the Florida Press Association and Leadership Florida put on the debate, said the event's impact went beyond raw viewership.

About 4.5 million viewers tuned in to either the debate itself or its corresponding news coverage, Sachs said.

"We calculated about $1 million in value of news coverage before and after," he said.

Polls suggest that Nelson is still poised to beat Mack, although the Fort Myers congressman has attracted more supporters in recent weeks. 

A Times/Herald/Bay News 9 poll released pre-debate, on Oct. 11, showed Nelson with 47 percent of the vote and Mack with 42 percent statewide.

Yet, a Times/Bay News 9/Central Florida News 13 poll released Oct. 28 suggests Mack is gaining ground, at 44 percent compared to Nelson's 47 percent.

The Oct. 28 poll only includes the I-4 corrider, from Tampa Bay through Central Florida. The area is packed with swing voters and usually predicts the direction of the statewide vote.  

Romney's numbers have also climbed in recent weeks, so the cause of Mack's bump is unclear. 







Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


The important thing is to look at a politician's record. They can always say one thing, but end up doing another. Bill Nelson promised to only spend what we take in... Well lets look at his record shall we? (billnelsonrecord.com) Bill Nelson has voted for every debt increase, and has ignored attempts to balance the budget and reign in spending. The guy has proven that he cannot be trusted to be fiscally responsible.

The comments to this entry are closed.