Straw pollin’ results

A full weekend of politicking was had by all on all sides of the aisles.

First in Papillion, the 700 or so folks seemed to have a gas at the HeatLand… er Heartland Libertyfest. They also conducted the first straw-poll of the season. We can report the results of the poll of the Nebraska Senate race as this:

Deb Fischer – 8.32
Patrick Flynn – 2.88
Any Libertarian – 2.59
Jon Bruning – 2.49
Don Stenberg – 2.39
Spencer Zimmerman – 0.54
Ben Nelson – 0.16

This won’t add up to 100 mathematicians. People were asked to rate the candidate on a 1-10 scale, and these are how the numbers averaged out. Unfortunately, apparently the voting booth didn’t get set up until later in the afternoon — and it wasn’t exactly 75 with a light breeze — so many people had already taken off. So these results were from 110 straw-poll voters.

It seems that either the peeps there really like Deb Fischer, the Fischer folks were very organized, or both. Interesting stats, that we will let you argue about.

The LibertyFest strawpollers did a further analysis on the ballots, as follows:

They took out all the ballots that had one person as a “10” and everyone else as a “0”, to get a better idea of the common person support, and try to reject those who just wanted their candidate to win.

When they did that they threw out about half of the ballots. That gave them a sample size of about 55 — not statistically super significant, but an interesting view nonetheless, with everything considered.

So here are the adjusted average scores (again, ballots tossed out that just gave a 10 to one person and a 0 to everyone else):

Fischer – 6.82
Any Libertarian – 6.41
Flynn – 5.70
Bruning – 5.04
Stenberg – 4.78
Zimmerman – 1.46
Nelson – 0.32


They also had a Presidential straw poll and those results looked like this:

Tim Pawlenty 6.41
Ron Paul 6.27
Rick Perry 5.67
Michele Bachman 5.53
Herman Cain 5.45
Gary Johnson 5.14
Sarah Palin 4.95
Any Libertarian 4.77
Thaddeus McCotter 4.53
Rick Santorum 4.26
Newt Gingrich 2.88
Mitt Romney 2.73
Buddy Roemer 2.64
Jon Huntsman 2.29
Barack Obama 0.21

How about T-Paw taking it? That is an interesting gauge in a crowded race. And we doubt there was much organization by his folks there.

Wonder if this will be prophetic for his chances in the Iowa straw this Saturday in Ames.


The Heartland LibertyFest-ers also announced the politician who wrote the off-his-gourd email last week.

The pol wrote the email in response to a constituent regarding the debt votes in Congress. He called the Tea Party folks, “Traitors “ and told the writer to “save your bullshit!”

And that pol?

Douglas County Commissioner, Mike Boyle.

Gee, can’t imagine why Omaha voters found Boyle to be unstable when they voted him out of office back in his Mayoral days.

The deal is, pols and everyone who works for them get their fill of constituents and the general public who they don’t agree with. Everyone wants to tell them their opinion.

But one would generally agree that you don’t call your constituents “traitors” and call their opinions “bull shit”, even to the true crack pots. Especially doing it from your government funded email account. (Unless of course you are unstable.)

We are sure Boyle will get a few “attaboys” from his choir. But of course these are the same people who throw themselves wailing in the middle of I-80 if Hal Daub did a similar thing (which he would never do).

We look forward to the OWH editorial…


And then a few kilometers to the west in Lincoln, the Boldies had their flashlight protest in front of the Gov’s McMansion. Here was one observer’s impression:

This entire event was extremely strange. There was a strong pugent aroma of B.O. in the air from folks who had apparently already started conserving the water they are so concerned about.

Anyway, here is a video of the event. Note where the majority of the peeps there are from. And what their political persuasion is. And what party. And who they are voting for.

Quite the cross-section of Nebraskans, eh?


You may have caught the dust-up with Jon Bruning’s campaign and the Cabela’s incident. Apparently the Bruning camp put out an email about a funder that included the line:

“Dinner with Cabelas reception at Hillside Country Club.”

So the Don Stenberg camp jumped on it — a good political move — and the Bruning camp denied any real wrong doing. (The store or corporation that is “Cabela’s” couldn’t be a sponsor for a Federal candidate anyway.)

But what we were a little surprised at was the Omaha World Herald’s reaction, from their Editorial page:

We’re not campaign consultants, but we suggest that Bruning might want to proofread future messages. It’s probably not a winning strategy to urge Nebraskans to root for the Housekers, tour the Kearney Ark or go sightseeing at Chimney Rocks.

Now. It is one thing to criticize the candidate for what he does or what he says, etc. We would not have been surprised to see an ed using the same arguments Stenberg did.

But the OWH didn’t go that route. They took the snarky, sarcastic path. “Heyyyyyyyyyy Jon Bruning! Why don’t you learn how to spell! Dummy! Ha ha!”

Not to mention, that it is our guess that a campaign staffer probably hit send on that email and not Bruning himself. So they are really using their ink to crank on an underling who has probably already been yelled at by his/her boss.

So what should you take from that use of the editorial space in the widest read paper in Nebraska? That the OWH really, really hates Jon Bruning. And you should expect to read more and more hits on him and his campaign in the coming months. And don’t expect it to be subtle or pretty.


And the Dems apparently will have themselves a primary in the 2nd Congressional District. Joe Jordan says that state Senator Gwen Howard will be officially jumping into the race very soon (we had noted her a few months ago).

While we are not sure why Dems would vote for Howard over John Ewing (or, frankly, vice-versa), we look forward to all of the stories about how this means that Democrats will use up their resources on one-another and that can only mean good things for Congressman Lee Terry.

You know, like they do in pretty much every story about the Republican Senate candidates, and Ben Nelson. Right?


And thanks to Don Walton of the LJS for the shout-out He has a good summary of the Nebraska races in the Presidential year.

You know, a decent summary…for a Yankees fan.


  1. Nebraska Tea Partier says:

    Lots of folks attending LibertyFest were on the fence on the Senate race but voted for Deb Fischer because she was the only US Senate Candidate who pitched in some personal money to sponsor the event and help make it happen. It’s been easy for these US Senate candidates to say “I’m a tea party candidate” or “I’m endorsed by the tea party” but in actuality, they’ve all been trying to take advantage of the movement for their own campaigns. Senator Fischer hasn’t done that, at least not yet, so she won some points with people purely for putting her money where her mouth is on this one.

  2. Rob says:

    Has anyone heard anything from Lee Terry? Does he have any thoughts on anything or is he still at the kid’s table after all these years?

  3. Interested. says:

    Seems to me that Gwen’s announcement is bad news for the Dems in that they tried to play Ewing up as the party’s consensus challenger to Terry. Someone obviously forgot to tell Howard about that. It will be interesting to see the race evolve.

  4. Interested. says:

    Meant to add that Ewing and Howard are both likely to find it a real slog in raising money–whoever ends up winning the primary probably has $10 in their account for the fall election. The DCCC may take a walk.

    Not that the DCCC is that significant–remember, they had White in their top tier of targets (Red to Blue) and we all know what happened in that one.

  5. Macdaddy says:

    I hope that Senator Fischer is busy boning up on all the economic debates currently going on. Maybe she gets the “I hate Bruning” vote. Maybe she gets the “I hate Nelson” vote. If she does not support the right policies and be able to defend them, it won’t be enough in either the primary or the general.

  6. Kortezzi says:

    The energy on the Senate race is all on the GOP side. Nelson has money and always fights hard (smooth in public, nasty behind the scenes, just like Tom Daschle) but I don’t see how he wins again in 2012. Bruning, Stenberg, Fischer – – any of them should have an edge in motivating Nebraskan voters to retire the 72 year old Benator for good.

    Gwen Howard vs. John Ewing for the Dem challenger to Lee Terry, how about that!? Sounds like a Hillary vs. Obama scenario to me. But if Tom White couldn’t knock him out in the 2008 liberal wave, it sure won’t happen in 2012. Lee will win if he plays it safe, and he always does that.

  7. Macdaddy says:

    Kortezzi, White was 2010. Esch was 2008. Your overall point is still correct: Obama won Omaha but still couldn’t pull Esch across the finish line.

  8. Interested says:

    To Rob’s earlier post: Lee is all over the district meeting with folks, as usual. He has several town halls coming up where anyone can attend and ask questions/make comments. One of the issues certain to come up is the fact that Lee got two of his proposals (flood insurance reform, XL pipeline deadline) through the House in July. Just wanted to address your comment although it’s pretty clear that won’t make a diff to you and other Terry haters.

  9. Interested says:

    Mike–I bet his flood insurance reform is adopted by the Senate and becomes law. We’ll see. XL might be OBE (overtaken by events) in that environmental impact hearings are going to be held this fall–which I think is a direct response to his bill. (State announced the hearings the day before Terry got it through the House.) But on the flood insurance issue, the 30 day waiting period is really the only condition that should be placed on claims. The ‘flood in progress’ thing is a loophole that you could drive a Mac truck through and Terry is right to try and axe it.

  10. Don Kuhns says:

    Seven hundred people my butt. I was there, they were not taking attendence, and I’d be surprised if more than one hundred people showed up throughout the entire day. If you’ve got a picture of these massive throngs, let’s see it. Half of the 110 who voted in the straw poll were probably there as exhibitors. Libertyfest was a total washout.

  11. Rob says:

    Wow, I take it back. 12 years and two bills to nowhere passed. So how long has Lee been leeching off the public? 20 years. We need leadership, not a rubber stamp.

  12. Mike says:

    Rob–HOW DARE YOU!!!! “Interested” is right. Terry is a leader. If it wasn’t for the one bill he has passed where would this nation be. POST OFFICES NEED TO BE RENAMED or our economy would come to a screaching halt

  13. LibertyFest Spectator says:

    I was at libertyfest from 12 until 8:30 or whenever they started moving people onto the stage b/c of lightning. Going to have to agree with Don here. I thought maybe 75 all day with spectators being more or less outnumbered by people working booths.

  14. LibertyFest Organizer says:

    Don, the 700 number was a best guess estimate. We did count sporadically through the day. At one point, we counted 327 there, scattered around the premises. it was a 9 hour event, 95 degrees, and people came and went. Based on the fact that parking at one point spilled into the overflow (non-marked) lot, and the comings and goings, the number of programs we handed out, etc., it was a guess. We never claimed “masses”–and indeed for a venue that large, to look like “masses” were there, we would have probably had to have 2000.

  15. LibertyFest Spectator says:

    I just realized you guys actually had the gall to post 700 people. That’s completely absurd. Is that a number from the organizers? Where on earth did you come up with that?

  16. Interested says:

    Mike and Rob (aka Dumb and Dumber)

    A list of provisions that Terry sponsored that are now law is on his web page. Go for it. What’s funny is you both mouth the same talk on legislation that Thompson, Esch and White all used against Terry Really worked well for them didn’t it? People can see through b.s. and lies–yet that’s all you offer against Terry. Time to try something new, don’t you think?

  17. I was there says:

    Yawn. Deb spoke at 6, Don at 1 and Jon at 2. The only people left at 6pm were Deb’s family and friends. Jane Kleeb tweeted that 24 people saw Deb’s speech, which is half as many as saw Don and Jon.

  18. LibertyFest Organizer says:

    Again, LibertyFest Spectator, our numbers were an estimate–Street Sweeper asked for numbers, and I think I gave him our best guess of 600-700. They included everyone who walked through the gates (both of them). We did not mean to represent that that many were there at one time, or that a significant number were watching speakers at any given time (indeed, about 50 in the amphitheater seating and green area behind it were the most that I personally ever saw at one time). Still, there were a lot of people who came in, wandered around the booths, watched for a while, and left. I suspect that aside from organizers, you were one of the few people who stuck it out for the whole day. Thank you for staying!

    Between 12 and 1, our folks at the main gate counted 119 come through the gate. That didn’t count any of the folks who had tables down on the bottom parking lot, or those who had come through during the music from 11-12 (I won’t venture a guess about how many that might have been).

    The disadvantage of having such a large venue, is that people were spread out, and there wasn’t the shoulder-to-shoulder kind of interactions that you often see with events like this–and so our numbers–whether they topped out at the 327 that we counted at one point, or we needed to add others who had been there and left, and then come in after that point, which got us to something approaching 700–looked even smaller. That, and the seats were exceptionally hot–sort of like sitting on a griddle, so people didn’t stay in the seating area very long.

    The manager of the Amphitheater, in talking with us toward the end of the day, was estimating–based on his experience with groups out there, the people he saw, and the number of cars that we had, that we’d had 600+. Since it was a free event, and a long event, it’s hard to know exactly how many were there for some portion of the day. I can say without question that it was well over the “75 all day”.

  19. On behalf of the Nebraska Republican Party I want to thank the Heartland LibertyFest 2011 organizers for allowing me to address the crowd (yes, it was a crowd) on Saturday. I enjoyed the event, and appreciate all that you and your fellow freedom-loving patriots are doing to save our country. Together, we’ll give Ben “Cornhusker Kickback” Nelson the boot in 2012!

  20. Nebraska Tea Partier says:

    Gwen Howard is a waste of a perfectly good campaign dollar. She is the most incompetent person in the legislature, and that’s really saying something. She’s 800 years old and best friends with Brad Ashford. Maybe Sen. Ashford wants to help her campaign so they can get together and talk about “the good ‘ol days” during the depression when they would share a bagged lunch and complain about the lack of fire escapes in speakeasys while investing in war bonds. Gwen Howard doesn’t know the cost of a gallon of milk, and is one of those old ladies that gets excited about taking her ’69 New Yorker to “go into town” to get her hair done every other Wednesday and play bridge with “the ladies”.

  21. Don Kuhns says:

    @Libertyfest Organizer: Let’s see your proof. Surely SOMEONE was taking pictures when all those people were around. I have pictures and video to back up my observations. The Tea Party and its buddies at Fox news have a long history of wildly exagerating their turnouts, by multiples of 10 or more. The onus is on you to prove your claim. Where’s your evidence?

  22. Kortezzi says:

    Macdaddy, thanks for the correction re: Esch & White. I get all those NE 2nd district Dem challengers mixed up. And I’m probably not the only one.

    To all the critics of LibertyFest and other tea party events: Why do you people get so upset at conservative political gatherings? Think you should have the market cornered on protest since the glory days of the 1960s and 70s? I guess you don’t think a Tea Party is authentic unless it trashes the grounds like a drug-saturated Grateful Dead concert or vandalizes the Wisconsin state capitol earlier this year. Don’t hate us because we clean up after ourselves! And remember, there’d be more of us attending if we weren’t working extra jobs to survive this disastrous Obama economy.

  23. WOW says:

    What a cross section of freaks in that video. Have any of these people been to the Sandhills? Are any of them landowners? Do they know why they are there? Do they know that Obama is going to screw them on this deal? Do they know that Randy is NOT a landowner where the pipeline is going to be routed? Please consider the source and funding of these people.

  24. Lil Mac says:

    SS, thanks for the insightful analysis. It looks like someone packed the poll. We give them a gold star for initiative.

    The straw poll category “Any Libertarian” gained many votes. That’s an interesting term to be used in an event sponsored by the Libertarian and Republican parties and a mishmash of disgruntled groups. But why the word “Libertarian”?

    It is a mistake to assume Libertarians share Tea Party or Republican sentiment. Sure, they agree on a few issues. They want Obama out. But the Nebraska Republicans who will decide the GOP primary vehemently disagree with Libertarian views of legitimizing homosexual marriage and legalizing illegal drugs. One man’s liberty is another man’s licentiousness.

  25. Oh Mander says:

    One thing that stands out to me in the Presidential poll results is Ron Paul’s second place finish. I’ve always thought that he should poll much higher than he does given the “selective libertarianism” sentiment dominating the GOP and the influence of the Tea Party. I typically don’t vote for Republicans, but Ron Paul is the one name on that list that I’d trust at the till. Who knows, maybe he has a shot after all…

  26. Not at all related to the topic, but I thought it would be fun to play a game called “Name That Liberal”. Below is a quote from a post on the LJS who goes by the handle of ‘Tiger123’. He was talking about Jon Bruning’s comments about raccoons. Any guesses as to who wrote it?

    “Has shocked has one would be at these comments and how out of touch this idiot is with the current situation in this economy he will be elected.”

  27. Anonymostly says:

    Dennis, you want to tell us what a wonderful victory Democrats achieved in the Wisconsin recall elections yesterday, and how it wasn’t about sour grapes when Democrats do it, but for legitimate reasons like crimes committed while in office? How much money did Wisconsin spend for recall elections in which the recallers basically lost every contested race but one?

  28. Interested says:

    Along that line, I believe there are two more specials next week in Wisconsin–both seats held now by Dems. If the good guys prevail, the continued control by Republicans would go back pretty much to what it was before the sour grapes started.

    The Dem goal was to flip control of the Wisconsin Senate. They failed. Bottom line.

  29. Oh Mander says:

    The Bruning blunders are piling up… Too bad the OWH article is a piece of trash. What started as a justified critique of Bruning’s asinine comments suddenly turned into a play-by-play analysis of wildlife management practices.

  30. RWP says:

    I though the comments about the stupidity of the American burying beetle relocation project were very much to the point. We’re supposed to be saving an endangered species. Instead we’re very expensively feeding raccoons while we hold up road construction. Your federal government at work.

    I don’t quite understand the outrage though. Raccoons are clever animals, and they’re not parasites.

  31. Lil Mac says:

    “Bruning blunders”.€ Here are a few more. “€œFischer flounders, Flynn flops, Stenberg strains and Zimmerman€’s zilch”. Use whichever cutesy phrase seems appropriate.

    However, for sake of remaining grounded in reality, let us not forget “œNelson necrotizing”€œ.

    Say what you will about missteps by GOP candidates, Nelson stinks of political gangrene. And while plenty of elephants would love to take credit for having stabbed that jackass, the fact is, his necrosis is from a self-inflicted wound.

  32. Anonymous says:

    Great to know the only seemingly earth shattering and horridly important topic of the day is whether or not Jon Bruning misspoke while someone from the opposing side just happened to be there with holding a camera to make a mountain out of a few words. By comparison, our economy is on the downhill slide with breakneck speed and 30 were killed in a war most don’t even have a clue as to why we are there making for the single most deadly day in its ten year history. Wall Street is chaotic at the very least. So only the petty can get all excited whether Bruning referred to welfare recipients as raccoons and stretching to the goofy side by abbreviating it to have meant something racial. Good job for those who have no life except to complaint and throw slams. Paul Johnson, spokesman for the guy who can’t decide where or for what he stands, as he sells us down the river to nowhere tried to make it sound as though all Nebraskans should be insulted when in truth they should be insulted that someone in the media would think it worthy of news or attention.

  33. RWP says:

    Amen to AC @ 3:30. Even Obama’s teleprompter reading skills are declining, and everyone’s sick of watching his neck swivel at 5 second intervals as he reads the little screens.

  34. Macdaddy says:

    These are very serious times with huge challenges facing us. Bruning needs to realize that the more serious the times, the more serious he needs to be. Stay away from the metaphors. Stay away from jokes. This is his race to lose and lose it he will if he thinks that people want their leaders throwing around gratuitous insults.

    I agree that there are more serious things than what comes out of Bruning’s mouth, but he needs to quit wasting time and quit causing distractions. Get serious about this or get out.

  35. Ricky says:

    Libertyfest sounds like such a fun time I am so sad I missed it. What with Attorney General Jon Bruning comparing welfare recipients to racoons eating bugs it sounded just like I thought it would be.
    Getting down in the gutter with people like Tom Becka and Bruning ought to make Papillion cringe.
    Is this really what the discourse of the tea party wants to be like?
    The people that put this on should be ashamed of themselves.
    Nebraska is better than that.

    ricky from omaha

  36. Interested says:

    Just looking at some of the posts here by Dems, it’s pretty clear they are falling into panic/insult mode. With the economy getting worse, they should be. Add to that Obama going to Martha’s Vineyard for vacation—at the same time that economic news is likely to be worse and worse by the day while he’s there.

    Obama’s ###s are cratering and this will spillover to Nelson and Ewing/Howard.

  37. Interested says:

    This serves as my official anouncement. I am leaving Lee Terry and joining camp Ewing. The decision was not politically motivated but based soley on hair style

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