She's fallen, and she can't get up

Katherine Harris now trails Bill Nelson by 37 points.

Published July 27, 2006 1:08PM (EDT)

You know you're in trouble when the first hit in a Google search on your name is a sponsored link from a newspaper reporter looking to talk to your employees. For Katherine Harris, that's the least of her worries.

A new Quinnipiac University poll has the Republican representative and former Florida secretary of state dropping even further in her run for the Senate seat held by Democrat Bill Nelson. Harris now trails Nelson by a margin of 61 to 24 percent. For the mathematically challenged -- and Harris seems to be among them -- that's a 37-point deficit, and it has grown by three percentage points in a little less than month.

"As far as the November election, it would be hard to come up with a reasonable scenario in which Sen. Nelson has anything to worry about," Quinnipiac's Peter Brown says in a press release.

Yes, but what about the Republican primary? Harris currently leads the closest of her relatively unknown challengers 40-21, but she also has only a 30 percent approval rating among Republican voters. What does it mean? Harris hasn't "completed the sale" with Republicans, Brown says, and the door is still open for one of the unknowns -- Sen. William McBride, anyone? -- to take the party's nomination from her.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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