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.

Comparison chart

Bill Nelson versus Connie Mack comparison chart
Edit this comparison chartBill NelsonConnie Mack
  • current rating is 3.84/5
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(122 ratings)
  • current rating is 3.19/5
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(80 ratings)
Bill NelsonConnie Mack
Political Party Democrat Republican
Date of birth September 29th 1942 August 12 1967
Religion Christian Catholic
Hometown Miami, Florida Fort Myers, Florida
Budget Supports Balanced Budget Amendment Supports restricting spending to 18% of GDP
Tax Policy Aims to simplify tax code and cut out loop holes Opposes raising taxes
Social Security Opposes privatization of social security No clear stance
Healthcare Supports amending the health care bill to ensure healthcare is available and affordable to all Voted to repeal “Obamacare"
Medicare Supports No clear stance
Gay Rights Supports gay marriage Opposes gay marriage
Immigration Supports immigration reform, including a fence along the border No clear stance
Education Supports increased education funding and parents’ right to choose their child’s school Opposed new funding to improve public schools and increased grants to black and Hispanic colleges
Women’s Rights Supports forcing companies to hire more women and minorities No clear stance
Energy Policy Supports research into alternative fuels Opposes funding renewable energy
Environmental Policy Supports increased regulations against greenhouse gases Opposed increased regulations on greenhouse gases
Iran Supports economic sanctions Supports economic sanctions
Afghanistan Supports removal of troops Opposes removal of troops
Iraq Supports removal of troops Opposes removal of troops
Logo of Republican and Democratic parties
Logo of Republican and Democratic parties

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

Tax Policy

Bill Nelson aims to simplify the tax code and close tax loopholes for oil and gas companies. [1]

Connie Mack opposes raising taxes and signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge. [2]


Bill Nelson aims to reduce the federal deficit by simplifying the tax code and reducing waste in programs like Medicare. He voted in favor of the Balanced Budget Amendment. [3]

Connie Mack has proposed the Mack Penny Plan, which would cap spending at 18% of GDP. [4]

Social Security

Bill Nelson opposes reforms that would jeopardize social security. [5]

Connie Mack has no clear stance on social security.

Healthcare Policy

Bill Nelson supports amending Obama’s health care bill to work through its problems and ensure that health care is available and affordable to all. [6]

Connie Mack opposes Obama’s health care bill. [7]

Social Issues


Bill Nelson supports legal abortion. He voted against a law banning partial birth abortions. [8]

Connie Mack opposes legal abortion. He voted to ban federal health coverage that included abortion. [9]


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. [10]

Connie Mack also supported building a fence along the Mexican border. [11]

Gay rights

Bill Nelson supports gay marriage. He supports adding sexual orientation to the definition of hate crimes. [12]

Connie Mack opposes gay marriage and supports a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. [13]

Women’s Rights

Bill Nelson supports requiring companies to hire more women and minorities. [14]

Connie Mack has not spoken about women’s rights.

Education Policy

Bill Nelson supports smaller class sizes and increasing education funding. He believes parents should be allowed to choose between Charter and public schools. [15]

Connie Mack voted against additional funding to "modernize and renovate" public schools. [16]

Gun Control

Bill Nelson opposes the absolute right to gun ownership. [17]

Connie Mack supports looser restrictions on inter-state gun purchases. [18]

Energy Policy

Bill Nelson supports research into alternative fuels. He supports the regulation of greenhouse gases and voted for tax incentives for energy conservation. [19]

Connie Mack opposes the regulation of greenhouse gases and limits on CO2 pollution. He also opposes tax credits for renewable energy. [20]

Environmental Policy

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. [21]

Differences in Foreign Policy

Position on Iran

Bill Nelson supports sanctions against Iran until it stops its nuclear program. [22]

Connie Mack also supports economic sanctions against Iran. [23]

Position on Afghanistan

Bill Nelson supported the removal of troops from Afghanistan in 2011. [24]

Connie Mack voted against removing troops from Afghanistan. [25]

Position on Iraq

Bill Nelson supports the removal of troops from Iraq. [26]

Connie Mack voted against redeploying troops out of Iraq. [27]

Opinion Poll Ratings

Opinion polls comparing Nelson and Mack suggest that this is an extremely close race.

Poll source Date(s)
Nelson (D)
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%


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