Slicing up the numbers

We finally got a nice thick, juicy poll we could sink our teeth into.

Summary of the poll is here.
Full results with Crosstabs are here.

(From their release: “PPP is a Democratic polling company, but polling expert Nate Silver of the New York Times found that its surveys in 2010 actually exhibited a slight bias toward Republican candidates.”)

After resting it on a warming plate and letting the juices settle back in, we now have our knife ready to take it apart, and then even gnaw on the bone a little.

So let us dig in.


In the GOP Primary “Who would you vote for” for the Senate race, it looked like this:

Jon Bruning…………………………………………….. 37%
Undecided………………………………………………. 27%
Don Stenberg………………………………………….. 16%
Deb Fischer ……………………………………………. 14%
Pat Flynn………………………………………………… 6%
(+/- 4.9% error)

A couple of kickers:

The majority of discussion on these numbers has been about their “movement” since PPP’s last poll in January. Back then, they looked like this:

Jon Bruning…………………………………………….. 47%
Undecided………………………………………………. 20%
Don Stenberg………………………………………….. 19%
Deb Fischer ……………………………………………. 6%
Pat Flynn………………………………………………… 6%

So Bruning’s numbers have dropped 10%. After the negative press Bruning has received, we doubt anyone is terribly surprised that he has gone down. Though 10% isn’t nothing.

But Don Stenberg’s numbers also dropped 3% since January — and near as we can tell he hasn’t made any varmint analogies or taught his kids to water-ski.

And then Deb Fischer’s numbers jumped from 6% to 14%.

So let’s then slide over to the Favorable/Unfavorables for the candidates.

Bruning’s “Fav/Unfav/Don’t know” is:

Stenberg’s is a very similar:

Fischer’s is:

That 66% is a pretty high mark for voters who have yet to make up their minds about Deb Fischer. You would have to say then, that she has a lot of potential either way, up or down, once voters find out more about her. (Though frankly we thought the 30% of Don’t Know for Bruning and Stenberg was high, considering they’ve both been around forever, in political terms.)

Of course, if Bruning or Stenberg go negative on her, which is not unlikely, or if she just fails to impress on her own, she could go down.

But if she does publicize herself well, there looks to be a big chunk of the 27% of Undecideds who are willing to give her a shot.

That keeps this race very competitive for the time being.



The other day, Bruning told KHAS that his polling showed him with a “sizable” lead over Nelson. And we also know that Ben Nelson is currently in the field polling.

So another thing that could make the Primary polling numbers move is “the mood” for the General Election matchup with Nelson. If GOPers were to see Bruning’s numbers slipping against Nelson, there is a chance that there would be movement to either Stenberg or Fischer.

People not only like to be with a winner, but GOPers especially want to GiveBenTheBoot. If you were to ask around, many probably would be happy with any of the top three candidates, just as long as Nelson is gone. It’s more or less the Obama-syndrome.

Winnability is going to be a real factor in the primary. If those types of number are released, even by Nelson, we could see the GOP Primary polling numbers move as well.

If 10% are jumping from Bruning, and another 7% are becoming undecideds (we know it doesn’t exactly work like that, but follow along), that would indicate there is some serious fluidity amongst the GOP base.

We are just saying this has the potential to be exciting.


Anyone else find it curious that this Democrat polling firm did not ask a Favorable/Unfavorable question about Ben Nelson? How tough could that have been to throw in one more question?

Could it have been that they knew what the answer would be, and didn’t dare to ask?

Or…did they ask and don’t want to reveal the results?

Aha. More tomorrow.


On the Presidential side of it, former Godfathers CEO Herman Cain comes out on top of the “Who would you vote for”, but for some reason is not even listed in the Fav/Unfav.

As far as the Favorabilty goes, the rest of the Prez contenders were all more of less the same, except for Texans Ron Paul and Rick Perry.

It is yours to speculate how much the Big XII influences these numbers…


In this poll, 400 “usual Republican voters” were polled.
Of that, 3% described themselves as “very liberal”.

Now that is only 12 people…but still. Twelve regularly voting Republicans described themselves as “very liberal”? Really? Who are these people? Did they just hit the wrong number on dial pad?

Do you personally know 12 Nebraska Republicans, who are regular voters, who would describe themselves as very liberal? We are pretty sure we would have a difficult time finding them.

It should be noted in these push-button surveys, pollsters do not actually know if they are getting data from the actual Mr. Voter, or their 12 year old who answered the phone.

Something to think about probably.


  1. RWP says:

    I know several people who register as Republican because they feel their vote counts for more in the Republican primary, than the general election, because the Republican primary is often more competitive. See Heineman vs. Osborne.

  2. cautious observer says:

    These poll numbers seem to indicate that the Stenberg campaign is in trouble… Wheels are definitely off the bus.

  3. Politik says:

    All these numbers tell me is that there is tons of a room for someone else to enter the race that is capable of running a halfway competent campaign. Good thing our congressmen and the gov are staying out of this one or the big 3 would be toast.

  4. George says:

    “Anyone else find it curious that this Democrat polling firm did not ask a Favorable/Unfavorable question about Ben Nelson?”

    Not particularly. The poll surveyed 400 Republican primary voters. What do you think the results would be? It’d be like asking Husker football fans a Favorable/Unfavorable question about the Texas Longhorns. Besides being irrelevant, I think we know how people would respond – oh wait, I mean, WHAT ARE THEY AFRAID OF?!

  5. Jerry says:

    Stenberg’s campaign has always been weak. We are finally at the point of a real indication of how weak he is. The farther we get along, Stenberg has less room for excuses.

  6. Brian T. Osborn says:

    Who is Deb Fisher?, The real question is … who the hell are YOU?

    You are absolutely right. The very first NDP SCC meeting I attended was in Fremont, way back in 2006. I wasn’t yet a delegate, but a still gullible, wet-behind-the-ears county chair. I went to the meeting just to see what it was all about. I should have known then what I was getting myself into, judging from what I witnessed.
    Someone raised the question of what to do with those delegates that had registered as Republicans for the sole purpose of swaying the Republican primary between Heineman and Osborne. Since the NDP Constitution prohibits anyone but a registered Democrat from serving as a representative of the party. It turns out several State Central Committee delegates, and at least one State Executive Committee delegate, were STILL registered Republicans.
    So … what did the fools do? Rather than calling for elections to replace those people, they just took a vote on a motion to require them all to get re-registered as Democrats by the time of the next meeting, and it passed. Such was the way things were done back then, and apparently still do, or worse.
    Truth be told, anyone could become an officer or a delegate within the NDP, regardless of party affiliation. No one checks on such things, such as in the case of the LD rep that didn’t live in the district she was elected to represent, yet bumped out one that did. They only obey the rules when they get caught with their pants down, or at least pretend to.
    Any of you Republicans out in the rural districts want to have some fun? Register as a Democrat then volunteer to be a Democratic county chair where there is none, or better yet … volunteer to fill one of the vacant LD slots on the NDP SCC. They’re so desperate, to find ANYONE to fill those slots, you’d be a shoe-in!
    Oh, and before “Holdrege Voter” crawls back out of her cesspool, accusing me of Mafia ties, or worse, allow me to explain why I’d suggest such a thing. I honestly DO want the NDP to represent Nebraska’s Democrats, I DO want each and every Democrat in the state to have a voice (one that is HEARD) within the party, and I DO want the NDP to uphold the standards that are set for itself in its own Constitution & Bylaws and, especially, within its own Platform. I have found that they only way I can affect such changes is by sitting outside the tent pissing in.
    Gotta go, my bladder’s empty.

  7. Brian T. Osborn says:

    Oh, and speaking of getting caught with your pants down. It looks like the NEGOP has filed a complaint with the FEC over Sen. Nelson’s questionable “coordinated campaign” financial hijinks. Hell, I tried that a couple of years ago, and Jon Bruning’s office told me to go take a hike.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Other than his grandmother thinks Jon is swell, he knows about raccoon habits and he likes to have an extra big house for leisure time to share with pals….Bruning fails to give us a reason to know him much less love him. At least he’s pushed Ben to the point he’s lifting the discussion to include fuzzy animals in his ad campaign that mentions skunks. Where’s the beef?

  9. Anonymostly says:

    I wonder how long it will take for the OWH to investigate Big Ben’s baseball ticket election expenditure. When it came to Jon Bruning’s cabin, they rolled out a story the day after the ad appeared. So, clearly, they’re capable of doing some quick investigative research to get the story out there. Has anyone seen a story in the OWH?

  10. Banker says:

    I wish the OWH would investigate why after Bruning buys a bank, that the deposits skyrocket and the percentage of large, non FDIC insured accounts increases. Who dumps all that money in Bruning’s banks?

  11. Country Club says:

    I wish the OWH would investigate Bruning for setting up meetings with bank presidents via the AGs office, walking into their office and saying “wow this is a nice bank thats been family owned for 60+ years, have you ever thought about selling it”? Im looking to diversify from storage units, retirement homes, and botox companies

  12. Anonymous says:

    So the Speaker of the Legislature his holding a press conference in ~45min, 3PM, on the subject of the Keystone Pipeline. Hmmmmmmm

  13. anon says:

    Gov. Dave will probably be pissed if the unicam puts the pipeline in his court. He’s played both sides by saying he’s against it, but there is nothing he can do about it. If he suddenly can do something about it, there will be a lot of pressure for him to do so.

  14. Anonymous says:

    So the Speaker said the legislature is looking at the issue, he Langemier Dubbas and others will be meeting with the Transcanada folks to discuss.
    Oh and if the Gov can always call a special session.
    The time for a special session if called would be before Thanksgiving.
    The current proposed legislation isn’t ready for prime time………

    In other news the Legislature has never called it’s self into a Special Session it has always been the Governor

    Some paraphrasing has taken place.

  15. Ivy Marie Harper says:

    Polls are over-rated and beyond that, Political Polling is the new Comedy Central.

    When will Politicians absorb the Fact that given the competitive reality of the $6 (Six) billion-dollar political campaign consultantcy industry, Pollsters who tell the Truth are going to be ignored or dismissed.

    In other words, any Democratic or GOP Pollster “worth” their hundreds of thousands of dollars tell politicians exactly what they know they want to hear and then “massage” any and all numbers so Candidates stay in until the bitter, pathetic end. (See Fred Thompson, Chris Dodd, Steve Forbes etc. etc. etc.)

    Now, from the Desk of Harper, Analytics, Unincorporated.

    I travelled to 180 Nebraska towns from January, 2010 until Nov. 2, 2010 – not to mention a whole host of 3rd District towns given that the Harpers are fifth-generation Nebraskans in and around Davenport and Grand Island plus I consistently spend time in Omaha where my Buffett-Award- winning sister lives and I lived in the mid-1970’s when I worked tirelessly for the successful 2nd Congressional Democratic Campaign of John Cavanaugh) – and the following is a thumbnail sketch of what I heard every single day:

    Nebraska Democrats – outside of Lancaster & Douglas County – are deeply disillusioned about the state of the Party. So many feel out-of-touch, neglected, and thoroughly resent the indisputable Fact that Senator Ben Nelson shows serious energetic/monetary interest in the entire state only every six years. Sorry, BTO, but most feel that authentic reform is an impossibility.

    Third District Democrats – more than any – were stunned and appalled at the Senator’s terrible treatment of the remarkable wunderkind Rebekah Davis who could have soared with even a teensy, tiny fraction of the money given to her that Senator Nelson lavished on Maxine Moul who ran – oh, that’s right, so conveniently – in 2006 when Senator Nelson himself was running. (What a coincidence!)

    I mean it’s not as if Senator Nelson didn’t have $3 (three) million dollars in cash sitting in his fat FEC account the entire time that Rebekah embarked on her David-like odyssey. This bears repeating: Senator Nelson did not contribute a single penny to a young woman who is, seriously, one of the finest human beings I’ve ever had the pleasure of getting to know. And well.

    Although the great majority of the Democrats I visited acknowledged the inherent goodness of Senator Ben Nelson, they wish he would bravely rally behind a new, fresh face, and use what’s left of the still-considerable good-will he has established in his near-life-long dependency on the government dole and simply step down. Don’t listen to hired hands who lose money – boatloads of it – if you don’t run.

    To clarify: this is what I heard from the common man, woman, and student, not the Senator’s well-paid staffers, pollsters, Nebraska Democratic Party corporate “leaders,” and the Big Battalions who brought us the United States of a Mess that we’re in.

  16. Lil Mac says:

    Iffy poll noted. Let’s act like this is a real poll and analyze it that way.

    Bruning’s dip is expected. Pounded relentlessly by Nelson, local and national Dems, Neb newspapers, and GOP opponents, Bruning is arguably more locally targeted than Nelson. With all of EBN’s massive national negatives, many here are dumping hard on one AG running among many GOP Cands. Clearly Nelson deems his only threat to be Jon. So says all the mud thrown at Jon who still leads.

    Stenberg is toxic. Cry not, for decades of Don dented the GOP’s win/loss ratio. Even Democrats have given up hoping to once again beat forever-beatable Don. The guy is political road kill.

    Fischer? Follow the skid marks. GOPers who slid off the mud thrown onto Bruning, skidded right across road kill Don, and rolled to a stop at the only other name they barely recognized. Sure, Deb is unknown and she can grow. Yet among the few who know her, at least in this poll, her unfavorables are higher than her favorables.

    Even after Nelson-Democrats exceed FEC limits by double (which if the Fates are just will put EBN in an orange jumpsuit), Bruning is still way out ahead in his race.

  17. Kortezzi says:

    Sure, Bruning’s #s took a hit after the World-Herald pieces on his shared lake home with Nelnet execs and also the silly raccoon comment. No surprise there.

    It’s also to be expected that since Fischer actually announced, she’d garner more support than back when she was still just a rumored candidate. No surprise there either.

    And I don’t see how a drop of Stenberg’s #s from 19 to 16 matters much. I think Don is the most conservative and has the best experience by far. But most Republicans are reluctant to back him and risk seeing him lose a 3rd consecutive race.

    The higher # of undecideds simply tells you Republicans aren’t sure which candidate is more likely to beat Nelson. The general election outcome will be easier to predicts from Ben’s favorables and unfavorables than by whichever GOP candidate happens to be ahead or moving in the polls.

  18. Arthur Curry says:

    Johanns, Nelson, Fortenberry, Fulton, Heineman, Stenberg, now it looks like Lee Terry and Mike Flood are starting to back away from the pipeline route. I’d hate to be the last politician still supporting Transcanada, it’d be best to drop it like it’s hot. Like the sludge from the Canadian tarsands, this issue is turning toxic for any elected official hoping to win another election.

  19. Arthur Murray says:

    Ya gotta dance with the one what brung ya.

    For all the fence sitting and fence jumping poiticians it’s a matter of deciding how much of that TransCanada money it’s going to take to decide if they’re dancing with the voters or TransCanada.

  20. Macdaddy says:

    Profiles in courage, one and all. I vote we amend the welcome signs to “Nebraska…the good life. Please go around. We’re closed for business.”

  21. Anonymous says:

    Governor Waffle was quite amusing with his commentary regarding leadership. He finds it difficult to decide what side of the fence to sit on and has the audacity to call out where 49 parts of a complex interpersonal organization are moving? It must be a complex world in his mind.

  22. Harper says:

    @MacDaddy: You’re right. Nebraska needs a series of new Welcome signs.

    How about a twist on that old slogan; Nebraska: Where the West Begins.

    Nebraska: Where the Platte RiVersailles Reigns.

    Nebraska: Where NU Begins & the State Ends.

    Nebraska: Where the Land Grant Chancellors, citing Big Ten “Peer Pressure,” call themselves “Executives” and demand CEO-like salaries while working class kids get stuck with staggering predatory student loan debt and NELNET titans, for years, use the U.S. Department of Education like their own personal, federal ATM machine and then audaciously trumpet their banking “business/entrepreneurial acumen” while spreading around their ill-gotten U.S.-taxpayer-subsidy- scheme gains to NU, the NU Foundation, the City of Lincoln, Senator Ben Nelson, and Rep. Jeff Fortenberry.

    On second thought, that’s probably a little long for a billboard.

    Occupy Wall Street, some have suggested, could be the start of a much broader mobilization against growing inequality and the corrupting influence of money in politics.

  23. Harper says:

    In the last sentence of my previous Post, the quotation remarks were accidentally dropped. It’s from an Oct. 5th Yahoo article that illustrates America’s ever-escalating frustration with the Fact that Congress has been purchased by a Corporate/College Clique.

  24. Macdaddy says:

    Ivy, “Occupy Wall Street” is Obama’s pathetic attempt at a counter-movement to the Tea Party. Right out of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, it is bought and paid for by his donors: Corporate America. It is the last act of a man desperate to cling to power. He’s got nothing. The very fact that people have the time to go camp out in New York City for a few days is a sad indictment on his incompetence and inability to “get the car out of the ditch,” and yet, not a cross word is spoken against The One. It’s really quite creepy. So many problems with Obama, but the Lefties keep trying to change the subject and start people onto tangents. In the meantime, the real problems in this country get larger and larger.

  25. Just Sayin says:

    Macdaddy: If “Occupy Wall Street” is the left’s answer to the Tea Party, good for them! At least both the Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party are authentic answers to the corruption of the status quo–of both Democratic and Republican parties.

    We are in a true United States of a Mess, as a recent blogger put it, and BOTH parties–the 435 congressmen and 100 senators are to blame!

  26. Macdaddy says:

    Just Saying, but Occupy Wall Street is a front group for the Obama reelection campaign. Just because they got some useful idiots to show up (the videos are hilarious and sad at the same time) does not mean it’s authentic.

  27. Anonymous says:

    MacDaddy, it’s sad and a bit scary observing the bizarro world you and many other righties live in. It’s common knowledge that the tea party is financed by groups such as Americans for Prosperity which is itself financed by the Koch brothers. And for some reason you believe (no facts involved) that Occupy Wall Street is a front group for the Obama reelection campaign???? Well, prove it.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Funny, RWP. As a scientist I figured you were “fact-based”. Plenty of sources that prove my point about tea party funding. Look it up in your ample spare time.

  29. Brian T. Osborn says:

    I’ll find it amusing to see the de facto leader of Nebraska’s Democrats, Jane Kleeb, along with Sen. Johanns, Sen. Nelson, Rep. Fortenberry and Gov. Heineman locking arms in front of Nebraska’s own Occupy the Sandhills mob. Instead of some lone Chinese guy, holding his shopping bags, standing in front of a tank near Tienanmen Square – we’ll have a really odd coalition of lefties and righties, metropolitan tree-huggers, farmers and ranchers facing down Canadian bulldozers!
    I gotta go charge up the batteries for my camera!

  30. RWP says:

    As a scientist I figured you were “fact-based”.

    You’re a scientist? What field of science?

    (My guess is, none, and you’re not an English major either)

    Meanwhile, let me translate the part of your post that means something close to what you intended it to mean. “I pulled a claim out of my a$$, and I’m too lazy to go back it up.”

    You’re welcome.

  31. Anonymous says:

    Sorry RWP. Unlike you I don’t have the luxury of substantial free time during the work day. It’s ironic that you wail against anything remotely resembling socialism, while you take advantage of one of the most socialistic, protected occupations on the planet. The New Yorker has a good article on tea party funding if you can spare the time to google it.

  32. RWP says:

    You had time for three snarky posts, but no time to back up what you said.

    I found Ben McGrath’s Feb 2010 article in the New Yorker on the Tea Party movement, which emphasizes its grass roots populist character. I guess this was written before they decided the Party Line would be that it’s a scary astroturf plot by the evil Koch brothers.

  33. RWP says:

    Following up on hippies and BTO.

    Steve Jobs was a hippie, and not a trust fund hippie either. Adopted by working class parents who never went to college, he dropped out of an artsy-fartsy private school when he realized he wasn’t getting anything out of it and his parents couldn’t afford it. He still stuck around and sat in on courses he liked, paying for his existence by returning coke bottles for the deposit.

    He loved the Whole Earth Catalog. He smoked dope. He built electronics. He dropped acid. The guy had hippie cred out the wazoo. What he wasn’t was a whiner. He read about India, so he explored India. He didn’t push buttons on a game console, he built game consoles. And eventually he found a path in life, and the path was, to borrow a phrase, incredibly amazing. He figured out how to interface silicon to an ugly bag of mostly water that we call human, so the ugly bags could use the silicon without RTFM.

    So there are hippies, and hippies.

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