The new Public Policy Polling (D) survey of Nebraska shows serious trouble for Democratic former Sen. Bob Kerrey, in his effort to go home once again to the state he represented back in the 1990’s.
State Attorney General Jon Bruning leads Kerrey by 54%-37%; state Sen. Deb Fischer leads Kerrey by 48%-38%, and former state Attorney General and 2000 Senate nominee Don Stenberg leads Kerrey by 52%-38%. The survey of registered voters was conducted from March 22-25, and has a ±3.1% margin of error.
Kerrey has had a disastrous campaign rollout, as TPM has previously documented. And it shows in the new numbers, with his standing among voters actually going down since his move back home.
PPP’s Tom Jensen writes: “Kerrey’s campaign rollout has not been a success. In October his favorability rating in the state was a +5 spread at 39/34. Since then it’s dropped 20 points on the margin to -15 at 36/51. Kerrey’s stayed steady with Democrats but has seen large drops with independents (from 47/24 to 36/38) and with Republicans (from 23/47 to 16/74).”
Further pollster analysis only twists the knife more.
“Ben Nelson was a lot more competitive in polling for reelection than Bob Kerrey is now,” writes PPP president Dean Debnam. “Nelson’s retirement seems to have hurt Democratic chances of holding the seat.”
When moderate Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson announced his retirement in late December 2011, this was not a simple case of an incumbent’s retirement putting his seat in danger for his party — because Nelson was already in a tough race for re-election, and was easily the most endangered Democratic incumbent at the time.
But before that, the PPP survey conducted from about two months earlier showed Nelson in better shape at the time than Kerrey is now. Bruning led Nelson by 46%-42%, Nelson edged Fischer by 41%-39%, and Stenberg led Nelson by 44%-41%.