Polling for dollars

A few final thoughts on the polls out the last few days.

We had a Twitter discussion — as much as one can have in 140 characters or less — with editorial cartoonist @NealObermeyer about the significance of the polling and what it shows for Senator Ben Nelson, etc.

Obermeyer’s point was that no matter what else the polls show, they show movement for Nelson. (You two in the back row stop your snickering!)  As we see it, Neal wants to compare Nelson’s first week of November poll to his February poll — and show that things are better for him now.

Well, maybe.  In theory.  Nelson’s manager Paul Johnson is crowing that the November 5th-10th poll was done at the time of the DSCC funneling over a million dollars in advertising for Nelson into Nebraska — and that it was in response to Republican ads.


Well, last time we checked, the father of the Cornhusker Kickback started the ad wars right after his vote in favor of ObamaCare. And since then, both sides have had ads going. But Nelson’s carpetbombing of spots has really been in the past few months. So we are not that surprised that HIS OWN polling shows him going up.

Oh, and that’s polling where they don’t show the crosstabs.

Now, on polling where they DO show the crosstabs, and have similar methodologies…not so much change.

Look at the PPP poll back in September 30th – October 2nd:

Jon Bruning – 46%
Ben Nelson – 42%

Don Stenberg – 44%
Ben Nelson – 41%

Deb Fischer 39%
Ben Nelson – 41%

Compare that to last week’s poll by Magellan which went:

Jon Bruning – 45%
Ben Nelson – 39%

Don Stenberg – 41%
Ben Nelson – 40%

Deb Fischer – 35%
Ben Nelson – 41%

So where has the “movement” been for Nelson? Well, a point or two in the wrong direction, maybe — depending on how you want to read the margins of error.

But is that significant? As in, $1.2 million dollars worth of significant?

Hey, we are just glad that WE didn’t shell it out.


These are the things that Ben Nelson will be looking at as he makes his final decision on whether or not to retire. National Journal lists Nelson’s decision as the #1 biggest unanswered campaign question of the 2012 season.

And Nelson’s poll numbers are only one of many layers that will go into that decision. It will include whether he thinks he can beat Bruning, or Stenberg or Fischer. Or whether he can easily beat ANY GOP contender. Whether he wants to go out a winner, or a loser in his last campaign. Whether the GOP field is actually finalized yet. And all the other myriad personal reasons he may or may not have for running.

And of course the national Dems are willing to do whatever they can to keep Nelson’s seat in their column — especially since the money to spend in Nebraska is chump-change compared to what they have to spend somewhere like New Jersey or Pennsylvania. And if Nelson dropped out, even if they could get a Hail Mary out of a Bob Kerrey or a John Cavanaugh, they’d still have a tough race on their hands in the Presidential year.

So while some disregard the polls that fly around — and the over 50% numbers that the PPP and Magellan polls show for Nelson’s job disapproval and unfavorability — know that the Nelson peeps do NOT disregard them.

Just more info to sift through…like a craggy old bearded 49er…


Good to see that the President’s economic advisers can meld together a few easy ideas. Well, maybe it’s because this one is a former adviser…

Austan Goolsbee, former chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers said of the Keystone XL Pipeline opponents:

“It’s a bit naïve to think the tar sands would not be developed if they don’t build that pipeline. Eventually, it’s going to be built. It may go to the Pacific, it may go through Nebraska, but it’s going to be built somewhere.”

Just an update folks:  certain of those “pipeline opponents” have ALWAYS been about stopping the tar sands oil — and never really cared about the pipeline or the route or  “Randy”.

But Goolsbee is probably wrong on one note: a “bit” naïve is taking it easy on them.


You know who else is naïve? Those poor suckers who thought that the deals ended on Black Friday or Cyber Monday! Oh no, dear friends, oh no! The deals keep coming!

That is, when you go to Amazon.com (via Leavenworth Street’s Amazon links) and get their Cyber WEEK deals all this week! Get that Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza/Festivus shopping done NOW, while the deals are white hot!

And send a little L-U-V Leavenworth Street’s way — anonymously and at no extra cost to you! And thank you to those who have already done so.


  1. Lil Mac says:

    Sweeper is perhaps right in perceiving weakness in Nelson. The fact that he is wasting time on polls that purport to show him, the incumbent, being almost crappy instead of super crappy, is not a good sign. For Nelson to need candidate-like momentum instead of maintaining incumbent-like strength suggests real weakness. The focus is on Nelson. It is his decision. He loves that like a fat kid loves cake. He loves his own skin more. We shall see.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The fat old gas bag with the hairpiece is not liked by even half of Nebraska, let alone more than half of voters. Watching him spend other peoples money here in the state is helping the economy a wee bit, which in turn helps the Gov. Go old Ben Go. No really just go:-)

  3. Stuck at 40 says:


    Both PPP and Magellan undersample likely voting Republicans. Additionally, PPP is light on surveys in the Big Red 3rd by almost the same margin they missed Republicans statewide (more than 7 percent each). Magellan doesn’t provide a breakdown by congressional district but their undersampling of Republicans is still within the margin of error. Reweighting the PPP poll puts Bruning up by 6, Stenberg by 5 and Fischer tied with Nelson who barely hits 40% against any of them. So while Nelson’s 1.2 million may have stimulated the Nebraska economy it did nothing to stimulate any likely voters.

    What is being missed in the analysis of these polls (especially by the World Herald) is that Nelson is stuck at 40% when paired against ANYONE (probably even against you, Sweeper).
    Looking forward to Senator Nelson’s ‘Barney Frank moment’ this Christmas when he cites turning 77 before leaving office as one of the reasons for not seeking re-election.

  4. Admin? says:

    Is it just me or are posts disappearing from threads as of late? Call me crazy but the post count in the prior thread was higher at some point. What did we miss?

  5. @ admin says:

    No, I have seen that as well. Maybe they were linking? Hopefully sweeps hasn’t gone the way of the OWH. With buffet now buying it we are more screwed than ever for real news.

  6. 9:50 and 10:01,
    Not sure what your question is. “Posts disappearing from threads”?
    We’ve deleted nothing. Can’t control external links, if that’s what you mean.
    Whatever you see happening isn’t b/c of something we’re doing.

  7. Lincoln Guy says:

    It seems a there will be a 4th Senate candidate announced here after the first of the year. Poor Ben Nelson he is going to be crushed.

  8. Dennis says:

    Any speculation by the GOP that Nelson isn’t running for re-election is wishful thinking. This tells me that the GOP realizes that Nelson will be a formidable candidate next year and that their nominee will not be a sure thing.

  9. I wish more posts would disappear, especially those my doppleganger continues to put up.

    Hey, selfless plug – Omaha YRs are hosting a retirement party for Barney Frank tomorrow after work. Check it!
    [Feel free to search for the Omaha YR’s Facebook page. -Ed.]

    It’s about time Barney did something that actually benefitted the country!

  10. Gary and Ace says:

    Its about time Matt Pinkerton and his club recognized a great American like Barney Frank. Where is the party going to be at?

  11. Anonymous says:

    I suspect the YR’s will retire when they are good and ready. Most likely after cleaning house here in Nebraska by getting rid of Nelson, getting winner take all passed, and shutting down the ridiculous practice in the Legislature of allowing Liberal Democrats hold the chairs of any standing committees. 2015 should see the end of things happening like McGill, Aver, Karpisek & Nordquist. All that needs to happen is the flipping of 2 seats in the legislature and it is a done deal. Doesn’t even have to be Snow Plows…… Dubas, Wallman, Haar, McGill……. will be plenty of Change to count on. Simple flip of the 1st district and buh bye libs:)

    Oh and Anon 7:56- you are so right:)

  12. Egads says:

    Off limits? What is off limits? Barney Frank with his floppy gums does you-know-what with them and he doesn’t care who knows it. Clinton did you-know-what of his sort. So the idea that stuff is off limits for discussion, what is that, a GOP rule?

  13. Polly Tics says:

    I see over at the paper not owned by Uncle Warren that Don Walton is very, very excited that polling indicates that E.Ben is right there and can win the race. Yet, good ‘ol DW doesn’t mention the other poll which has him losing….go figure.

    I also see that E.Ben is calling the Gov for getting money for Obamacare and the health insurance exchange….yet, I sorta recall that the Senator from Nebraska provided some kinda of vote to enact this legislation. So, he is chastizing Heineman for taking a long look at whether or not this concept is a good idea for Nebraska with money authorized under the law passed by E.Ben’s vote. Gee Senator, I guess you do have to read the bill to know what is in it. Or, for that matter, you have to wait for the Obama Adminstration to tell you what is in it with these pesky rules and regulations they seem to issue at a snail’s pace. Yet, I don’t see Nelson complaining about that.

    Oh well, this is the annual go to the right tour that Nelson travels every six years. I’m kinda having a hard time figuring out how this little bit of politics plays since he, you know, voted for it.

  14. Kortezzi says:

    Ben Nelson absolutely loves the “please Ben, run!” stuff the national Democrat party hacks keep giving him. He wants the “issue ads” (HA!) to air as heavy and as long as possible, so he continues to be a tease.

    I just don’t see the Benator retiring, watching his staffers lose their jobs, and letting the Republicans crow that the Nelson chickened out because he thought he’d lose. His ego will ensure he runs, regardless of his GOP opponent. And then he will lose!

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