PPP's newest Nebraska Senate poll finds that Democrats are in a much worse position with Bob Kerrey as their candidate than they would have been with Ben Nelson, and that Jon Bruning is now a strong favorite in both the primary and general elections.There are two things a Democrat has to be able to do to win in Nebraska: peel off a lot of Republican votes and win independents by a wide margin. Zeroing in on the match up with Bruning, Kerrey is doing neither of those things. He's actually losing 18% of the Democratic vote to Bruning, more than the 12% of the Republican vote that he's winning over. And he trails 44-42 with independents as well.
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).
Kerrey trails the top 3 Republican contenders by double digits. He's down 17 to Jon Bruning at 54-37, 14 to Don Stenberg at 52-38, and 10 to Deb Fischer at 48-38. In PPP's last poll before he announced his retirement Ben Nelson trailed Bruning by only 4, Stenberg by 3, and actually led Fischer by 2. This does not appear to be one of those instances where a retirement left the party better off.
In other words, there's strong evidence Ben Nelson would have been a better choice to hold the seat, and he dicked the party over by ducking out just weeks before the filing deadline, leaving the Dems with Bob Kerrey.
And it looks like Kerrey may lose by 20 points.
However, this was to be expected, so we'll see. It means holding Ohio and backing Sherrod Brown is even more important.