Start sweating, U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson.
The Democrat leads Republican rival Connie Mack by only three points, 47 percent to 44 percent, in Florida’s bellwether I-4 corridor, according to a new Tampa Bay Times/Bay News 9 poll.
Mack — who is within the poll’s margin of error — is gaining on the strength of Mitt Romney in Florida, the unpopularity of President Barack Obama’s policies and Nelson’s struggles to close the deal despite decades in public office.
But it may not be enough for Mack, said Brad Coker of Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, which conducted the poll. "At the end of the day, if Nelson hangs on, I think it’s going to be more about Mack losing it than Nelson winning," Coker said.
The I-4 corridor runs from Tampa Bay through Central Florida and is heavily concentrated with swing voters. Thus, it’s a good measure of how the statewide vote might go. Nelson, who lives in Orlando, is losing by 1 percentage point in Central Florida, which tends to lean more Republican than Tampa Bay, where Nelson has a 7 point advantage.