Stenberg Attacks Ricketts "Push Poll"

In response to the Pete Ricketts campaign poll, showing Ricketts up by 10 points over Don Stenberg, the Stenberg camp is emailing the following statement to supporters.

Leavenworth Street will be commenting soon, and invite the Ricketts and Kramer campaigns to comment as well. (If you email, we will post those comments in full.)

Stenberg for Senate 2006

April 20, 2006

Letter from Don: Entering the “Spin Zone.”

With less than three weeks to go before the primary election, we are entering the “spin zone.”

This is when competing campaigns all claim that their candidate is ahead in the polls, they have a great organization, they have great momentum, and so forth.

For several weeks now the Ricketts campaign has been making tens of thousands of “push poll” calls. These calls are so extensive that members of my campaign Treasurer’s family have received these calls. Members of campaign staff’s families have received these calls. The Ricketts campaign even called my brother, Neal Stenberg, with the Ricketts push poll.

On Wednesday, when the Ricketts push poll was released, I was being interviewed by the editor of a weekly newspaper in Northeast Nebraska. He asked me about the poll. I told him it was an invalid push poll. He smiled, nodded, and said, “Yes, I know. I received one of the push poll calls.” Probably many of you did too.

Here’s how the Ricketts push poll worked. They would call a registered voter and ask who he or she would vote for in the United States Senate race – Pete Ricketts, Dave Kramer, or Don Stenberg.

When the person said, “Don Stenberg,” they would say something like, “If you knew Pete Ricketts was a fourth-generation Nebraskan, would you vote for him?” If the person said, “no,” they would ask another question, such as, “if you knew Pete Ricketts was pro-life, would you vote for him?” If that didn’t work, they asked still more questions.

I had several supporters call me and tell me they finally told the “pollster” they would vote for Ricketts just to get the annoying “pollster” off the phone. However, on election day, they will vote for Don Stenberg.

The Ricketts push poll was so questionable the Associated Press refused to publish it. They said it did not meet their standards.

The Omaha World Herald apparently has lower standards than the Associated Press and published the push poll as news. The Ricketts campaign claimed to be ahead by 10 points.

I can guarantee you that if the Stenberg campaign did a poll that way, it would show us ahead by 40 or 50 points.

The reality is, as nearly as we can tell, that we are in the lead by about 20 points.

However, with the election just two weeks from Tuesday, I am asking you to campaign for us as though we were 10 points behind. (I trailed in a legitimate poll by 13 points with 10 days to go in the 1990 Attorney General primary and won 38 percent to 37 percent to 25 percent.)

Our radio ads started last Monday and some of our TV ads will start this coming Monday. Please make a financial contribution today to support this effort.

Also, please put a yard sign in your yard, help us put up yard signs, volunteer to help with our early voter program, and encourage your friends and neighbors to vote for Don Stenberg on May 9. Word of mouth is still the best advertising (and it doesn’t cost millions of dollars).

Thank you for your support. May God bless.
Don

One comment

  1. Anonymous says:

    After comparing the Ricketts poll and Stenberg’s email I gather the following:

    1) How can the Ricketts campaign be resposible for a push poll which “has been making tens of thousands of phone calls” when the release from the Ricketts campaign states that the poll consisted of 500 people from across the state? There is a BIG discrepency between 500 and 10,000. Has Stenberg CONFIRMED that the Ricketts campaign is behind the push poll or is he making accusations in the face of unfriendly numbers?

    2) Stenberg is really rolling the dice when he accuses the Omaha World Herald of having “lower standards.” I don’t know about you, but if I was running for a statewide office, I would want the largest paper in the state on my side.

    3) It really is interesting how the Stenberg email spouts all this rhetoric about being ahead, but, oh, by the way, we ask you to campaign LIKE we are ten points behind. If the Stenberg campaign is so sure about their superior position, why the sudden shift of langauge?

    As far as I can tell, the Ricketts campaign has a pretty good ground game. I live in Scottsbluff and I see Pete Ricketts signs all over our community. I have yet to see a Stenberg sign.

    As for “Entering the Spin Zone,” I think the author may want to look in the mirror.

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