Public Policy Polling — a Demoratic-leaning polling company — says Attorney General Jon Bruning may face a primary challenge in his quest for the U.S. Senate next year, but right now he’s got a big advantage over all the other possible Republicans who might run.
According to their polling in January, Bruning is the favorite of 47 percent of Nebraska’s GOP primary voters, far ahead of another heavy hitter, State Treasurer Don Stenberg, at 19 percent, with two virtual unknowns, state Sen. Deb Fischer and activist Pat Flynn, at only 7 percent and 6 percent respectively.
The pollsters said race is 10 points closer among the 31 percent of voters who think of themselves as ideologically moderate, with Bruning holding only a 38-20 lead, but his 51 percent with the two-thirds conservative supermajority assures his dominance overall.
A pretty large 20 percent are undecided, slightly more among moderates than conservatives, and these fence-sitters could shift the race in Stenberg’s direction if he mounts a strong campaign, PPP said.
The race so far is mostly a reflection of name recognition. While Bruning and Stenberg are almost equally well known and well liked, no more Republicans are aware of Fischer or Flynn than Nebraskans at large: 84 percent have no opinion of Flynn and 76 percent of Fischer.
“What’s noteworthy here is that Bruning is well ahead of Stenberg even though they have comparable name recognition,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “Voters know both of them and they like Bruning more.”
In the presidential primary, the current top four finishers are in a statistical tie, with Mike Huckabee barely edging out Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Mitt Romney, 21-19-18-15, with 12 percent undecided, 8 percent for Ron Paul, 4 percent for Tim Pawlenty, 3 percent for South Dakota’s John Thune and 1 percent for Mitch Daniels. The race could not be any more up in the air.
Unlike in other states, Romney does not post a lead with moderates here, but he does show his typical weakness with conservatives. Huckabee has insignificant leads with both groups.
Palin would be a point behind President Obama in the general election, while the other three frontrunners would put the perennially red state out of reach.
PPP surveyed 519 usual Nebraska Republican primary voters on January 26-27.
The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.3 percent.
The chairman of the Nebraska Republican Party removed a Ben Nelson bullseye from his blog this week after left-wing website Bold Nebraska chastised him for having what has quickly become considered incendiary art.
Mark Fahleson, a Lincoln lawyer, gave in to Democrats’ complaints — begrudgingly. In an email to Politico, he said he removed it after gripes from Nelson supporters who are “attempting to use Saturday’s tragic events for political purposes.”
“So that we can move on from this insanity, the image was removed,” he huffed. “My resolve to boot Ben Nelson from office in 2012 remains, however.”
Perhaps the irony is that every time somebody writes about this, they publish another copy of the bullseye:
Jane Kleeb at Bold Nebraska chided Fahleson into taking the bullseye down in this post.
“Just like Sarah Palin’s poor taste in her graphic targeting of several Democratic seats with cross hairs, Mr. Fahleson clearly decided it would be okay to put a picture of Senator Nelson right in the middle of a gun target,” Kleeb wrote. “I can just hear Mr. Fahleson and several others on Twitter or on Leavenworth Street accusing me of politicizing the tragedy.”
To which the Leavenworth Street blogger promptly responded with: “Well Jane, let us help you out. We don’t want you to just hear it, we want you to read it. You are politicizing the tragedy.”
You’d think after the events of the past week, all of these people would be redoubling their efforts to knock off the partisan, divisive bickering. But no. They step it up, acting like children on a playground.
I prefer John Stewart’s take on the whole deal. (See my next post.)
Esquire recently named Nebraska Sen. Ben Nelson one of the 10 Worst members of Congress list, calling him “the most obstreperous Democrat in the Senate.”
He is listed right above Rep. Charlie Rangel. Ouch.
Esquire notes that after Nelson “maneuvered for a sweet deal for his home state to have its mandated expansion of Medicaid paid for by the federal government permanently in order to get his vote for health-care reform” (aka the Cornhusker Kickback) he was “stunned to find out that every last person in his home state was horribly embarrassed by his deal.”
Nobody says it better than Esquire, so I won’t even try. Read it here.