Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Nelson trails Bruning, Stenberg

Every poll released so far on the 2012 Nebraska Senate race has shown Ben Nelson in deep trouble and our numbers are no exception. Nelson trails Attorney General Jon Bruning 50-39 in a hypothetical contest and Treasurer Don Stenberg by a 45-41 margin.

It's not hard to peg the reason for Nelson's precarious situation: you need to have a lot of appeal to Republicans if you're going to win as a Democrat in Nebraska, and while Nelson had that in the past he doesn't seem to anymore. The 2006 exit poll showed him winning a pretty remarkable 42% of the GOP vote. Now his approval rating with Republicans is down at 26%, and he gets just 17% of their votes against Bruning and 16% against Stenberg. Nelson actually has a 9 point advantage with independents over Bruning and a 17 point one over Stenberg but that's not enough given his lack of crossover support in the heavily GOP leaning state.

Nelson's situation has drawn a lot of comparisons to Blanche Lincoln's but he's not in quite as bad a position as she found herself in a year ago at this time. Nelson does at least lead a couple of lower profile candidates. He's up 42-35 on state Senator Deb Fischer and 42-33 against conservative activist Pat Flynn. Lincoln was trailing no matter who you tested her against at this point in February 2010. And Nelson's approval numbers, although certainly bad at a 39/50 spread, are a good deal better than Lincoln's were at 27/62. He may not have a lot of hope for a comeback but his odds are better than hers were.

Part of Nelson's problem beyond his own unpopularity is that both Bruning and Stenberg are relatively well liked. 42% of voters in the state have a favorable opinion of Bruning to just 26% with a negative one and for Stenberg it's 38% rating him positively while 25% have an unfavorable opinion of him. It's going to be a very tough road for Democrats to hold onto this seat.

Full results here


Unknown said...

I don't think Nebraska has ever had an election with 34% Democrats.

Mose said...

Hard to see how Nelson turns this around. Blue incumbent in a red state, maxing out at 42%, trailing his likely opponent Bruning by 11(!), with Bruning already hitting 50%(!!). Anything can happen, but those are ugly, ugly numbers for an incumbent.

Jonathan said...

You forgot to mention his vote for ObamaCare and the Cornhusker Kickback were toxic in cherry red Nebraska.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"You forgot to mention his vote for ObamaCare and the Cornhusker Kickback were toxic in cherry red Nebraska."

That's because you can't conclude that without comparison numbers before the health care vote, which we don't have.

TM said...

I heard Nelson was booed at a public restaurant in Omaha just after the Obamacare vote. Then he started running television ads in a year he wasn't up for election saying how wonderful Obamacare was for Nebraskans.

At this point I think he could lose to a charismatic dog.

Anonymous said...

"Lincoln was trailing no matter who you tested her against at this point in February 2010."

Ok, but how was she doing in February 2009? A better comparison might be with how Lincoln was doing in August 2009. By that time, the initial uptick from Obama's win had worn off, leaving only Lincoln's own support. Or we can just wait and see how Nelson's doing in twelve months.

Anonymous said...

On the other hand, the other comparison for this might be Nevada 2010, if a tea partier wins the primary.

Anonymous said...

I live in Nebraska - Nelson is a gonner - he voted for health care after taking a "bribe" the so called Corn-husker Kickback. We don't like politicians who do things like that and then fund a lot of commercials telling us all the usual false claims for Obamacare. There is a small and unnoticed protest outside of his Omaha office every Thursday at 11:30 - rain or shine, I'll be there tomorrow and it will be around zero. We are going to give Ben the Boot.

Anonymous said...

I wish Nelson would win another term but it just won't happen. Rural NE and Lincoln are about as tea party crazy as they come. The only reasonable part of the state is Omaha which is becoming more and more blue with a booming hispanic population. As a deomcrat that has lived in NE my whole life, I might even vote against Nelson. Mianly becuase I would rather have Bruning out of our state as much as possible. He is ruining our social services in the state and even tried to force the dept of education of NE to be against the ACA and threatened to pull their funding. Talk about a dirty politician. I think he can hurt NE less if he is in Washington rather than here in Lincoln, NE. Man I gotta get the hell out of this state.

Marvin Marks said...

Nelson looks pretty screwed... I suppose it's too early to say he has no chance --- but there needs to be a significant economic recovery by 2012... and perhaps Sarah Palin as the GOP nominee for President.

I can imagine in such a scenario Nelson getting another term.

I'm very worried about the Democrats holding onto the Senate.

It would be a shame for Obama to win reelection but to have to deal with Republican controlled House and Senate.

Jamie said...

Hey Anonymous, please, "get the hell out of this state". How about Californiastan, you libtards seem to be doing great for that state, don't you think?

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