Stenberg poll shows him still behind Bruning

Bruning takes photo of Stenberg

Don Stenberg published results from a poll done last week that shows Jon Bruning solidly ahead in the Nebraska GOP Senate race.

Unfortnuately, Stenberg did NOT publish the questions, crosstabs or any topline results from the poll, as other pollsters on this race have done recently. Stenberg’s poll shows Bruning with a 5 to 6 point lead on Stenberg, with the following numbers:


As we have heard from numerous poll respondees, the Stenberg poll gave a number of unevenly weighted “facts” — “If you knew that Jon Bruning is a resident of North Korea and regularly eats Sandhills cranes as a snack…” — before finally asking the “Who would you vote for” question.

Now this type of polling can be different from traditional “push polls”. True Push Polls are designed to not really poll at all, but instead are used to sell a set of facts to the voter — true or not — to actually influence their vote.

Then there is the “weighted facts” type of polling that is generally used for internal campaign purposes, to see what messages resonate with voters in order to use them in their media campaign. In other words they might ask, “If you knew that Jon Bruning once opened his shirt down to the third button in a high school photo, would that make you more or less likely to vote for a fully buttoned — to the top — Don Stenberg?” If the polling were high, you would see that photo of Bruning in a Stenberg mailer on your doorstep in the near future.

Then, of course, you have your regular, “If the election were held today, who would you vote for?” The problem with the Stenberg poll that was “released” is that it is a variation of the push/question poll, in that it is not a straight up or down poll, yet sells itself as that. The election will not be held in a vacuum where Bruning could not respond to attacks on him from other groups or candidates. So while Stenberg’s poll says that he is only down to Bruning by five points, of course that is not a realistic number.

For what it is worth, we have heard of polling that shows Bruning up by a much different number.  We hope to be able to publish more info on that, but suffice it to say, it is not 6 points.

In any case, no one doubts that Bruning has the lead in the primary — a primary that has not officially closed its doors on all candidates, mind you — and that Stenberg has likely made some gains. To ignore increases Stenberg has made because of all of the advertising he has done would not make sense.

But by virtue of the “Pushy” poll put out by Stenberg, it aint’ as close as 5 points. Otherwise Don would have done a regular poll and published the results.


Here is one number from that poll that we DO find interesting:

Undecided: 29.4%

Figure that with all of the candidates and “information” provided by the Stenberg camp, still GOP voters come out that heavy with minds unmade. Not to mention, it is higher than Stenberg’s numbers.

Common sense would say those undecideds will eventually spread themselves out among the three or four candidates.

It also probably says they may be waiting for someone else to jump in.


Politico reports that Bruning was endorsed by the conservative political action group Citizens United, today. They gave him $10K, and we will apparently see if they can raise more for him in the primary.

And yes this is THAT Citizens United, plaintiff in the USSC case.


Watchdog says Brad Ashford wants to be Mayor of Omaha in 2013.

And they also speculate on Dave Nabity.
Jean Stothert’s name is always in the mix.

We have heard that Rex Fisher may have an interest.

And we have also heard a few other names as well.
It is never too early, right? Right??


Twittererer @DanMoser tweets today:

Bob Kerrey emerged from his NYC apartment this morning saw Karl Rove’s shadow, 6 more weeks of deciding.

Moser has some pretty funny stuff. Worth following.

Another chuckle from a fake Jon Bruning:

@RobynnTyser: Is Stenbreg closing the gap?
@JonFinBruning: Who cares? I shop at The Buckle!


  1. I says:

    believe that 29% of undecideds would probably swing more often than not for Stenberg. Something tells me when you get in a ballot box and you see the name Don Stenberg, most of those undecideds would feel that ‘ole reliable’ feeling and go ahead and vote for him…..1 of the by-products of running for this seat 4 times. I could be wrong, but I would guess a lot of those undecideds are older folks who would trust reliable Don over the new and brash Jon.

    But then again with those Pat Flynn ads……..maybe they all break for the Schuyler Shoe-In.

  2. 2 says:

    to the above poster. Are you kidding me with that garbage? This poll is complete nonsense and obviously a push poll.

    Nebraskans have NEVER swung toward Stenberg. They guy’s lost more times than any candidate in the country. No amount of push polling is going to get Stenberg close in this race.

  3. anon says:

    The desperation of the Stenberg campaign continues… Trying to show a thread of momentum, but falling short because we can all see through their lies. 2012 is not Don’s year. It’s never been Don’s year. He will never be a United States Senator.

  4. We want Brett.... says:

    … to tell us why it is ok for his campaign managers (Randi and Chris Scott) to live in NE but register their car in Illinois.

    what $$$ are they not paying to NE and Douglas County.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Whoever runs for mayor needs to realize that Suttle will be shoring up his voter base in the spring of 2013 by riding the Obama wave from the presidential general in 2012 in the north and south precincts where one electoral vote was shaved from Nebraska’s five. I don’t see the GOP in those west O precincts doing much by way of organizational efforts to counter that momentum by acting now. Suttle is flying under the radar and if he can beat a recall by hauling in the homeless for pay on big yellow school buses then Omaha has reason to believe Jim will be riding high in his Durango another four years.

  6. Anonymostly says:

    I can understand Omahans voting against a recall. Many argued that recalls aren’t a legitimate tool to redo an election. So a vote against the recall is not an endorsement of Suttle. But if Omahans elect that guy again, their collective stupidity will be conclusively established.

  7. Anon says:

    Didn’t DeMint just do a similar poll for Ted Cruz down in Texas that turned out to be complete BS? I’m thinking when we see real numbers for this race it won’t even by close. Stenberg should start penning his concession speech now. Or reuse the one from 06. Or 2000. Or 96……..

  8. Oh Mander says:

    Citizens “Corporations Are People Too” United endorses AG John “Multi-Millionaire Despite Never Making More Than A 100K A Year” Bruning. The Stenberg commercials are writing themselves…

  9. Keith Stone says:

    Why wasn’t the only candidate who has consistently supported the Keystone included in the poll? Spencer Zimmerman is running neck and neck with Bruning and Stenberg with 29.4% of the vote.

  10. Curt Schillin’,

    I’d like to take that head-on, b/c I know that, of course, people from different camps read this blog.

    I read Watchdog’s report on this poll, and was frankly astounded that they took the results at face value and provided ZERO analysis of what kind of poll it is. That, of course, is the crux of the issue and if you don’t address it, you’re not doing your job (or your blog, or whatever it is). We all know that if Stenberg had a regular poll that showed him ahead of Bruning, he would have published said poll with all the questions and results. But he didn’t, so he put up the numbers from his “what if you knew…” poll, and provided no other info.

    Look, I recognize that his numbers HAVE to be up from whenever the last regular poll was taken. Bruning has had bad press, Stenberg has had a ton of media paid for him and the public still doesn’t know if Heineman might get in. All of those things are going to change the race’s #s.

    But let us not sit here and simply accept what is being offered today. If that’s what you’re into, then just read the local papers.


  11. Anonymous says:

    None of this matters. Rockin’ Bob will get in as soon as he can convince his wife that they have to stop in Nebraska and not just fly over to campaign.

  12. SoWhat??? says:

    Absolute shocker….Joe Jordan doesn’t do a very good job reporting and what he does report reflects his own personal bias on any given issue.

  13. Vote For Brad says:

    I think Brad Ashford would clean Suttle’s clock in the next election. Jim Suttle is very divisive and has increased taxes without a vote of the people. Brad will be an independent voice and not owned by the Firefighters

  14. Anonymous says:

    @SS 1:33

    According to this poll it is 5 pts. When you factor in that it is a Stenberg poll and they are being greedy on the cross tabs I would say in reality probably 7-9 point lead. The fact Jon can not really pull out in front i.e. 45% or so with this field shows me there is a problem with him, but we all know that. He has raised almost 2 million! If Jon’s lead was indeed ” solid” he would be releasing a poll telling us that, but he hasn’t. Yes, I understand this response is largely speculative, but as this race wears on Jon begins to remind me of Mitt Romney a bit. He has all the money, everyone thinks he is the guy but he won’t really pull away. While NE insiders can joke about Don all they want, it will be fascinating to see the role South Carolina money will play. It is not usual for this kind of “outside” money to trickle down to the Good Life and I am curious to see how people respond. Of cours when BK and DH get in this is all for not 😉

  15. Anonymous says:

    I want Bruning to succeed but I think his team is making a HUGE MISTAKE by not defining Don Stenberg early. He needs to quit acting like a frontrunner (the voters don’t care about that, they care about who is a conservative) and start fighting back. Bruning needs to do to Stenberg what Romney did to Gingrich in FL. I don’t know if the Stenberg-Demint poll is true but I’ve heard grumbling from the grassroots movement that they are having doubts about Bruning. Word travels fast in our state. Just saying you are suing because of Obamacare isn’t enough. It is time for the Bruning team to start adding some punch to their message and go after Don. Bruning is a better candidate, but he needs some contrast from Stenberg or he will struggle.

  16. Dan Brown says:

    Ashford is an empty suit. Like Boyle, he has something to say about everything, most often without any substance. Suttle would beat him and that is also scary!

  17. anonymous says:

    I’ve heard from some pretty good sources that Jon’s polls show him up more than 20 points, which would explain why he’s acting like a front runner and ignoring Don’s push polls. Remember, Mitt was losing to Newt and had to carpet bomb. Once he was up by more than 10, he became nice again.

  18. Political Scientist says:

    As a political scientist, I find that Stenberg’s “Poll” very disturbing. I have spent over ten years studying polls. Most polls will report there cross tabs, the questions asked, the margin of error, and the size of the sample. The cross tabs and questions asked helps outside analyst decided if the poll was legitimate or if the poll was a push poll. The margin of error tells the accuracy of the poll. In my political stats class, I was taught that a poll with a margin of error over 10% is wrong and that the poll need to be thrown out. So Stenberg’s poll margin of error could at the most be 10%. I was also taught that any poll with a margin of error over 5% or under 3%, I should seriously question. The sample size (500) is ok, but most polls have samples that are 501, 673, 1001 and so on. Stenberg only releases the results. It is clear that Stenberg has something to hide in poll numbers. If he did not, Stenberg would be shouting from the First National Tower that he is with in striking distance of Bruning. I would also like to point out that the first round of polling on Jan 11-12 showed that Bruning was ahead by 23 points, Nothing in the Nebraska Senate race landscape has happen to warrant that type of jump. Why did not Stenberg release the first poll? Because the results were not what he wanted. Stenberg should be ashamed of himself.

    Also, I was one of the lucky 500 to get a call from Basswood Research, the company that took the poll. I can say without a doubt that the poll that Stenberg took was a garden variety push poll.

    Don Stenberg should be ashamed of himself and it clearly shows that Stenberg does not follow Nebraska values but the values of Washington DC.

  19. Gary and Ace says:

    You are right Political Scientist, Stenberg’s “poll” is very disturbing. He should have hired Prairie Strategies

  20. old joe says:

    Go ahead Bruning staffers, spin all you want, but the facts are Stenberg is rising and Bruning falling. January 2011,Public Policy Polling: JB leads DS by 28 points; June 2011 Basswood (DeMint) Poll: JB leads DS by 23 points; January 2012 Basswood Poll; JB leads DS by just 5 points. Kids that’s a drop of epic portions by a candidate who’s NEVER been tested in a GOP primary and has made one mistake after another. Meanwhile true conservative Stenberg is reminding voters why they can trust him.

  21. Anonymous says:

    the fact is that Demint’s PAC is spending enough money to put Stenberg within striking distance of Bruning and the current AG is doing a bad job at fighting back. Stenberg is a bad candidate and Bruning needs to start contrasting.

  22. Macdaddy says:

    Sorry to hijack the thread, Sweeper, but it looks like Uncle Warren’s purchase of the OWH is paying off. Nice front page article trying to downplay the fact that Buffett will gain handsomely if Keystone doesn’t go through. I wonder if he’ll pay the taxes on all the profits or if he’ll try to weasel out of it?

  23. Lil Mac says:

    Buffett pushing for the rich to be taxed more only makes sense if its a ploy to advantage Buffett. He isn’t for “rich people”. Rich people are threats to him. He’s only for the rich guy in the mirror. When he says he doesn’t pay enough taxes per his worth, he actually avoids collecting dividends and thus accrues nothing to be taxed, so taxes could be 100% for everyone and Buffett would still pay less and get richer while tax laws destroyed other millionaires and billionaires thus leaving Buffett increasingly alone as one of a few barons with power. That makes Democrats the dupes of Buffett. Yet this is the only explaination that makes sense.

    Buffett didn’t get rich by being stupid or by advantaging his wealthy competitors. He is pushing Washington hard to tax the hell out of anything and everything that Buffett does NOT have his fingers in. He want’s that massive tax – not his money but money stripped from the carcasses of his competitors – to empower federal government, which in turn is obedient to its only sources of money and those who control it, Buffett and Dates and a few other “Limo Liberal” elites holding government’s leash.

    It isn’t a pretty explaination but it makes more sense than Buffett, who admits to having no hobby but wanting to make more money, feels he shouldn’t have money. If that were true, he’d have given it all away long ago.

  24. Brad Supporter says:

    You Suttle people are real jerks. Do you remember when Brad was against the recall and helped keep Jim in office? Who has carried your water in the legislature for the sales tax increase? Now you guys are going after his wife’s regent race? It’s time to let a person who can be a uniter not a divider to be mayor.

  25. saywhat says:

    For the overly excited here, would you please throw in a few more words so as to make your sentences comprehensible? Otherwise, your efforts are as useful as a small dog nervously peeing himself. We are sure you have something important to say. We just don’t know what it is. So slow down and articulate. Thanks.

  26. Is Bruning really conservative? says:

    (Sorry Sweeper–posted a link the first time. here it is without the link)

    Although bruning claims to be pro-life and for the sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman, his church is not: First Plymouth Congregational Church. His daughter was just confirmed there last year.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Come on guys. Supporters of candidates always dismiss poll numbers that look bad for their guy. Why should SS be any different?

    And, no, polls do not always release crosstabs.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Lil Mac, your post at 9:15pm is a textbook example of psychological projection. Your musings on Buffett’s motive couldn’t be farther from the truth, but are on the mark if you were Buffett or in his shoes. Thank God you’re not.

    You might also want to Google Occam’s Razor.

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