This article presents an unbiased comparison of the political positions and policies of Bill Nelson and Connie Mack, Democrat and Republican candidates respectively for the 2012 Senate elections in the state of Florida.
Incumbent Bill Nelson beat Connie Mack to win a third term to the U.S. Senate.
Early Life and Career
Bill Nelson was born in Miami and received his BA from Yale University, before earning a law degree from the University of Virginia. He served in the US Army Reserve between 1968 and 1971, before being elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 1972. He served in the US House of Representatives from 1978 and became Treasurer and Insurance Commissioner of Florida in 1994. He became the US Senator from Florida in 2000.
Connie Mack was born in Fort Myers, Florida, and earned his BS from the University of Florida in 1993. He worked as a marketing executive for Hooters and served in the Florida House of Representatives from 2000 to 2003. He has served in the US House of Representatives since 2004.
Differences in Economic Policy
Bill Nelson aims to simplify the tax code and close tax loopholes for oil and gas companies. 
Connie Mack has proposed the Mack Penny Plan, which would cap spending at 18% of GDP. 
Bill Nelson opposes reforms that would jeopardize social security. 
Connie Mack has no clear stance on social security.
Bill Nelson supports legal abortion. He voted against a law banning partial birth abortions. 
Connie Mack opposes legal abortion. He voted to ban federal health coverage that included abortion. 
Bill Nelson supports immigration reform. He opposes plans to allow illegal aliens to gain Social Security, but supports a Guest Worker Program. He voted for building a fence along the Mexican border. 
Connie Mack also supported building a fence along the Mexican border. 
Connie Mack opposes gay marriage and supports a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. 
Connie Mack has not spoken about women’s rights.
Connie Mack voted against additional funding to "modernize and renovate" public schools. 
Bill Nelson opposes the absolute right to gun ownership. 
Connie Mack supports looser restrictions on inter-state gun purchases. 
Bill Nelson supports research into alternative fuels. He supports the regulation of greenhouse gases and voted for tax incentives for energy conservation. 
Connie Mack opposes the regulation of greenhouse gases and limits on CO2 pollution. He also opposes tax credits for renewable energy. 
Bill Nelson aims to ensure that BP pays compensation to those affected by the Deepwater Horizons oil spill catastrophe. He also supports investment in high-speed rail in Florida to boost the local economy.
Connie Mack opposes increased investment in rail. 
Differences in Foreign Policy
Position on Iran
Bill Nelson supports sanctions against Iran until it stops its nuclear program. 
Connie Mack also supports economic sanctions against Iran. 
Position on Afghanistan
Bill Nelson supported the removal of troops from Afghanistan in 2011. 
Connie Mack voted against removing troops from Afghanistan. 
Position on Iraq
Bill Nelson supports the removal of troops from Iraq. 
Connie Mack voted against redeploying troops out of Iraq. 
Opinion Poll Ratings
Opinion polls comparing Nelson and Mack suggest that this is an extremely close race.
|Poll source|| Date(s)|
Mack IV (R)
|Mason-Dixon||July 9-11, 2012||47%||42%|
|Rasmussen Reports||July 9, 2012||37%||46%|
|Quinnipiac||June 19-25, 2012||41%||40%|
|Quinnipiac||June 12-18, 2012||43%||39%|
|Public Policy Polling||May 31 – June 3, 2012||49%||36%|
|Marist||May 17–20, 2012||46%||42%|
|Quinnipiac||May 15–21, 2012||41%||42%|
|Rasmussen Reports||April 25, 2012||47%||36%|
|Public Policy Polling||April 12–15, 2012||47%||37%|
|Quinnipiac||March 20–26, 2012||44%||36%|
|Rasmussen Reports||March 13, 2012||36%||43%|
|Rasmussen Reports||February 13, 2012||41%||41%|
|Mason-Dixon||January 24–26, 2012||45%||42%|
|Suffolk University||January 22–24, 2012||42%||32%|
|Quinnipiac||January 4–8, 2012||41%||40%|
|Public Policy Polling||November 28 – December 1, 2011||46%||35%|
|Rasmussen Reports||November 17, 2011||39%||43%|
|Quinnipiac||October 31 – November 7, 2011||42%||40%|
|Public Policy Polling||March 24–27, 2011||47%||34%|
|Mason-Dixon||February 9–10, 2011||45%||40%|
|Public Policy Polling||December 17–20, 2010||44%||36%|
|Public Policy Polling||October 9–10, 2010||42%||33%|