Skip to comments.Ben Nelson trailing in 2012 polling by double digits? (Cornhusker Kickback taking its toll?)
Posted on 02/02/2011 8:24:24 AM PST by SeekAndFind
If one Senator could qualify as a poster boy for the 2012 Democratic efforts to hold the Senate, it would be Ben Nelson of Nebraska. A one-time governor of the state, Nelson won two terms in office following the retirement of Bob Kerrey by appealing to the populist and socially conservative natures of the voters, which usually goes deep red in presidential elections. His seat seemed secure until Barack Obama and Harry Reid insisted on pushing ObamaCare through Congress, coming under considerable pressure to balk at the lack of the Stupak amendment that would have added into law a ban on federal funding for abortions or abortion coverage. Instead of sticking to his principles, Nelson cut the infamous Cornhusker Kickback deal that gave the state extra federal funding for its Medicaid expansion.
Did Nebraskans appreciate the deal? Not according to the latest numbers from Public Policy Polling, a firm that tends to lean a little towards Democrats:
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.
Nebraska didn’t have a statewide election exit poll in 2010, so we’ll have to compare the sample to 2008, a big year for Democrats. In that election, the D/R/I split was 29/48/22; PPP’s sample splits 34/52/14, which may understate independents and oversample both parties just a bit. Given the results of the 2010 election, it may oversample Democrats by more than the MOE in a realistic voter model for next year’s election.
The bad news for Democrats doesn’t just come in the head-to-head comparisons. Nelson’s overall approval rating is an abysmal 39/50, while his Republican colleague Mike Johanns gets a 59/28. Regardless of the competition, Nelson doesn’t get above 42% in any matchup; the only reason he leads two candidates is because they’re relative unknowns. For a two-term incumbent and former governor who has been on the statewide stage for more than twenty years, these numbers are almost certain indications of electoral doom.
Democrats may want to start looking for a replacement candidate. If Nelson can’t fix his brand in the next few months, the DSCC should write off Nebraska as a hopeless loss. With ObamaCare heading back to the Senate for a repeal vote, Nelson may have the only chance he’ll get for a measure of redemption — and even that measure would depend on the bill’s passage and Obama’s signature to wipe out the stain of the Cornhusker Kickback and Nelson’s moral surrender.
Vote for that POS that was ruled unconstitutional and lose your seat
Couldnt happen to a bigger a$$hole
Wasn’t he the one who was so distraught after he (and his family) got booed out of a restuarant, right after his ObamaCare vote?
I suspect he’ll read the writing on the wall and retire. He’ll be 71 in 2012 and he has never come across to me as the type who would pull a Byrd or a Lautenberg.
At one point, the upper plains states of NE, SD, and ND had 5/6 Democrat Senators. We have dumped Daschle and Dorgan (replaced with Republicans) and Conrad is retiring. Assuming Republicans will take the Nelson seat, all that’s needed is to get rid of Tim Johnson and it will be a complete reversal.
If in fact Nelson does run, I suspect it will be a fairly close contest in the end. Omaha has turned more and more blue the past few years. I don’t think Nelson would win, but I think he’d keep it within 3-4 points when it was all said and done.
Yep. Then he came out with a bunch of cheesy ads explaining his vote. I think it all backfired. Nebr used to be a conservative State, but this last election shows the State moving more and more liberal.
Hope Senator Ben Nelson wises up and votes to repeal “Obamacare” today. If the buffoon does not vote to repeal “Obamacare”, then he will be repealed in 2012!!! Do you get “it” Senator Nelson???
He is toast. Bruning is a good guy.
Nelson’s clock is ticking down. Nebraska has a 4.4% unemployment rate, so there’s not much he can promise the downtown Omahans. The rest of the state is still upset about the insult the Cornhusker Kickback is.
To quote a brilliant Freeper,
“Ben Nelson was proved willing to trade the lives of the unborn for money.”
It is still too early to get excited about this. Moreover, if conservatives don’t come up with strong candidates, this is meaningless.
I would agree overall. I don’t think there is anyway he’ll win if he runs again. He’d be closer than any Democrat that ran in his place, though. Fortunately, the Nebraska Democrats have a standard crop of weak candidates. Other than Kerrey and Nelson (I guess maybe we could throw in Exon), Democrats just don’t do well statewide.
Oh come on. Polls that go our direction are absolutely 100 percent accurate. Polls that show a candidate that we don’t want are garbage. You must know that by now.....lol.
He needs to foght hammer and tong to get Obamacare overturned if he is to have even the slimmest hope of staying in DC.
I don’t recall distraught although I might have missed that- but yes he was booed in a pizza joint. Fairly soon after his political disaster. If I recall, in Omaha.