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Florida


Washington Outlook

FLORIDA

Things are looking up for incumbents of both parties in the Sunshine State. To be sure, Democratic Governor Lawton Chiles, who hasn't said whether he'll seek a second term next year, has some problems: An October Mason-Dixon poll showed that only 26% of voters favored his reelection while 70% would definitely or possibly vote for someone else. But Chiles's reelection tally is up from just 17% last February. And in trial heats, he still beats all likely Republican challengers by at least 10 points. In a ranking of GOP hopefuls, Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher leads with 27%, while former First Son Jeb Bush is second with 19%.

Meanwhile, Republican Senator Connie Mack is sitting pretty. The same poll shows that 65% of Florida voters think he's done an "excellent" or "pretty good" job. And he handily beats all Democratic comers in trial heats. The strongest showing against Mack is from Attorney General Janet Reno. And Reno, who hasn't indicated interest in the race, still trails 47% to 32%.EDITED BY STEPHEN H. WILDSTROM


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