You can add Nebraska to the list of 'Sarah Palin swing states.' She leads Barack Obama there by only a single point at 45-44.
If the Republican candidate for President next year is any of the other current front runners the state should remain in the red column where it's been reliably for years. Newt Gingrich leads him by 8 in the state (48-40), Mitt Romney leads by 12 (49-37), and Mike Huckabee is ahead by 13 (51-38). Romney and Huckabee's advantages are pretty comparable to the 15 point margin John McCain won the state by in 2008.
Obama's not particularly popular in the state, with only 38% of voters approving of him and 56% disapproving. But with the exception of Huckabee voters aren't all that enamored with the leading Republicans either. 50% of voters have an unfavorable opinion of Palin to only 42% who see her in a positive light. Gingrich's numbers aren't much better with 43% rating him negatively to only 34% with a favorable opinion. Romney has net positive numbers by the slimmest of margins- 38% favorable and 35% unfavorable. Only Huckabee has real good personal numbers as 44% of voters have a positive opinion of him to 33% with a negative one.
Obama won an electoral vote in Nebraska in 2008 by taking the state's 2nd Congressional District and he would do so again if the election was today by a pretty healthy margin. His approval rating there is a positive 51/45 spread and he leads Romney by 9, Huckabee by 11, Gingrich by 19, and Palin by 24 there. The state may change the way it dispenses its electoral votes and there will probably be some changes in the district boundary lines but at least for now it looks like he would pick up a spare vote there just as he did the last time around.
Nebraska is certainly not going to be a swing state any time soon but it's a definite sign of weakness for the Republican field that voters don't think much of the leading potential candidates in one of the reddest states in the country. If Nebraskans don't like the GOP contenders you certainly can't expect that folks in Ohio or Florida or Virginia are going to. It will be interesting to see over the course of 2011 if anyone can emerge from the back of the pack with greater appeal to the voters- if that doesn't happen Obama could end up coasting to reelection.
Full results here