Poll – Bruning up by almost 30%

Jon Bruning

A new poll out of the Jon Bruning camp shows Bruning up by almost 30 points over his nearest competitor, Don Stenberg.

The poll by Wenzel Strategies shows

Jon Bruning …………….. 47.5%
Don Stenberg …………….18.5%
Deb Fischer ………………10.2%
Pat Flynn ……………………2.8%
Spencer Zimmerman ….. 1.5%
Not Sure …………………….19.6%

Of course, the first think you should note about this poll of 817 likely GOP voters over February 17-19 is…holy crap, 12 people voted for Spencer Zimmerman? (Just think how well he would do if he changed his name to Spencer Dylan!)

The other point is that, wow these numbers are MUCH different than those from Don Stenberg, which showed Bruning at 32% and Stenberg at 24%

We will note a few things:
1) This is an auto-phone poll. Like it or not, there are news organizations that will not even publish the results of these types of polls, because they claim they are not as trustworthy as a person to person poll. Part of the reasoning is that they would not know if, say, the person answering the phone was a child, or somesuch.

We get the issue there, but we also doubt it. The papers that don’t accept these polls are in a bit of the dark ages still. They are avowed tree-killers and have been known to buy barrels and barrels of ink. (We still are unsure why.) But the fact of the matter is that these auto-polls have been shown to be as close to the real vote as person-calling polls. There is an argument that they are even better, because people are less likely to lie to a machine than a person.

2) But if we really want to verify these, we would like to know the questions asked — i.e. was this a message-type poll like Don Stenberg ran?

Stenberg’s recent numbers were likely as a result of first using a number of, “If you knew that Jon Bruning wears the same socks two days in a row, would you…” type questions before asking vote preference. You want that sort of campaign information to gauge how you should advertise, etc. But to then publish those results as a valid poll, gets questionable.

As we noted after Stenberg’s last poll, we do think his numbers moved. Just not to that extent.

Also consider that this poll was taken AFTER Governor Dave Heineman was officially OUT of the running.  With the field nearly set (unelecteds still have until March 1st to file), voters are probably more willing to commit.  So Stenberg’s numbers moved a little, but Bruning’s a lot.

So is this poll more valid?

We are waiting for further information about the poll to be published today. When we get that information, we hope to get a better stance where the voters rank the candidates right now.

Check back for updates.


  1. Poll Called Me says:

    I was called on the Poll. No push at all. Asked about favorables/unfavorables, view of Gov. Heineman, view of the candidates, then asked who you would vote for, and how firm your vote was. A raw and solid poll.

  2. Pvt. Joe Bauers says:

    As you can plainly see, my mantra of “Lead, follow, or get out of the way” resonates with Nebraskans and I am now in second place, ahead of Mr. Stenberg. There was a time when people wrote books and movies that made you care about whose a$$ it was and why it was farting and I believe that time can come again. So I ask that those behind me in the polls should get out of the way so that I may be victorious over Mr. Bruning.

  3. Anon says:

    Its interesting that this poll follows the trend we saw in previous polls by Public Policy Polling and Fortenberry’s poll in early January. Numbers for Bruning climbing and stagnant for his opponents.

  4. TV doesn't hurt, either says:

    It probably didn’t hurt Bruning that he’s been on TV all month too, with an ad that’s far better than the one DeMint ran for his boy Don. Given that Bruning has a 10-1 money advantage for the home stretch, I can hear the fat lady singing already.

  5. @poll called me says:

    Hard to believe that out of the 400,000 Republicans in the state not only was one of the 817 people the poll contacted one of the 200 people who read this blog but that they would comment right after this was posted…

  6. Poll Called Me says:

    What can I say? I wait with my phone at my hip to answer calls with an “Unknown” on the Caller ID in hopes that it’s a new poll. Just the same way that I check my phone and this website once an hour to wait for the next post by the Sweeper.

    Quote the raven, nevermore.

    What I speak is the truth.

    If you want to see me, camp out overnight in a Baltimore cemetery, oh, about January 19th or so every year.

    Something wicked this way comes.

  7. Bruning is Geroge Grogan? says:

    The reason you run ads 2 months out is to push up your poll numbers. Pretty easy trick. I am sure OWH is doing a profile piece and that it will have a lot of unsavory bits about JB, but lets be fair. There are few people who can live up to the George Grogan standard and still have the balls to run. Sure, it looks like JB doesn’t know what the heck he is doing as AG and any other attorney would be disbarred for such fumbling. And sure he seems to have milked the job for millions. And yes, I am sure that there are plenty of former employees who would call him a jerk. Yep – looks like he used his position as AG to try to cover up for a friend who committed securites fraud. But I am positive JB has never failed to pay court ordered child support, despite being a multi-millionaire. Yes, yes – a lot differentiating the two.

  8. Fischer trolls says:

    I guess I’d play the George Grogan card if I was looking irrelevant too. Deb can’t win. 10% and no money = 10%. What was the point in running, Deb?

  9. @Fischer trolls says:

    Don’t you get it, she’s too important to go back to the ranch. Fortunately, its exactly where she’ll be post primary.

  10. Fischer supporter says:

    It’s laughable to see all these anonymous people bashing on Fischer. If she’s at 10%, why is she such a threat to Jon Bruning? Because she’s a credible candidate with broad statewide support that none of the other candidates can claim.

  11. DEM DEMS says:

    Just saw Brad Stevens testify at the Capitol. Yikes!!

    This guy is your leader?

    T-ta-ti-t-t-t-t-t-today junior. Spit it out there sweaty palms.

  12. Anonymous says:

    This tweet from Mueller Robak today:
    Gov_Heineman to #Unicameral re insurance exchanges: “I got this.” Promises exec order implementing exchange if SCOTUS upholds.
    Looks like Sweeper was right about the Governor’s position.

  13. Lil Mac says:

    Good sitrep Sweep. Wenzel ran likelys, focused, probably IVR. If it is even ballpark, that’s bad news for the rest, and especially for Don, not just because Jon’s numbers are high but the disparity in favorability means Jon has solidity that leaves the others no option but to sit, quit, or throw sh*t, which tends to lower them as attackers more than the attacked. Then too, after all these months of newspapers targetting Bruning, there is some risk of GOP opponents looking like they are joining the left in bashing what the left sees as the obvious GOP nominee. GOP voters might dislike that on several levels.

    And that goes double for Don. Because the first thing Stenberg does in every election, when things are still fresh and cordial, is punch his leading opponent in the groin. That gives Don’s dozen supporters a stiffy but makes average Nebraskans want to puke. Jon isn’t even dangling this bait out there for him. Don is going to jump into the boat to get at it.

    Heineman would have been a game changer but for a sticky deadline law that Dems made sure he noticed by hauling ol’ onion-head back here. So DH isn’t a factor. And that leaves things exactly as things were at the start. It is Bruning’s to lose. And that’s fine. For if you are not enough to make it in a Nebraska Senate race, you for damn sure aren’t enough in the US Senate where you can too easily find yourself thanking your assailant before you feel his smooth knife already in your back.

  14. Some Thoughts says:

    I have yet to hear any meaningful criticism of Deb Fischer’s actual positions on the issues. Basically, the only argument against her is that she’s not in the lead. What a crime. Meanwhile, she’s right about most everything, she shows prudence and wise judgment, and I respect her as a leader. If she loses the primary, she’ll still be just as impressive. People aren’t rejecting her because they don’t like her or their policies; they just have better name-recognition for the others, and therefore either were loyal followers of theirs before, or figure they’re the likely winners. Okay, that’s fine. So why all the negativity towards Deb because…. why? She’s not winning the popularity contest at the moment?

  15. John says:

    I could support Deb Fischer for a number of positions, and hope she continues in state politics. Don Stenberg has always stood on his positions and is also a good man. I think these are good party people, I hope for more in Douglas County.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Looks like another Boldie has fled Jane’s camp. Her right hand gal, Malinda, whom Jane got to get arrested in front of the White House. Funny that employees never stay with Jane too long. Wonder why that is?

  17. Badger Benson says:

    All of these candidates (minus Zimmerman) were at the Cass County GOP Lincoln Dinner last night. Each gave a short speech, drawn at random. They were all fantastic. It was great to see all of them at their best.

  18. I am the 19.6% says:

    I have been checking back for updates i.e. cross tabs on the poll or at least the questions so it could be distinguished from the Stenberg poll you slammed not too long ago. Instead I find a nice little quip on Don not being establishment…blah…blah. I can’t help but wonder what is more substantive to this election whether or not SS thinks Don Stenberg is “establishment” or Bruning’s shallow conservative background. Easy SS, I know “shallow” is a strong word, but you can not argue his previous positions on critical issues. I am not trolling for anyone, rather I am asking to balance this blog out a little bit. Don was endorsed and is getting ALL his money from an outsider, if he was Nebraska establishment couldn’t you argue he should be able to raise more coin in state than many people have in between the cushions of their couch? Jon has legitimate position changes and ethical issues that will come up. I am most curious to see how the public responds, as for the SS response, pathetically predictable.

  19. 8:33,
    Wah. No, we have not heard any further info on Bruning’s poll.
    On Stenberg’s poll, we had info, before they even published it on what kind of questions were asked and how. We did not get much of that with Bruning’s poll, but we have had unconfirmed reports that the auto-poll simply asked yes or no Qs, w/o giving a message first. But we haven’t had that confirmed, so we haven’t added any information.
    And, surprise, surprise, all Stenberg and his Freedomworks imports want to talk about is Bruning’s column from his Law School days. Which would be interestingly relevant if ANY of his record as an elected official reflected those views. Unfortunately, for Don, that’s not the case.
    Now I will say that there has been little separation between the candidates on the issues. So Don has been hammering anything else that he can get to stick. We get it. He has to do it to get some traction. But enough already with saying Jim DeMint’s name in every single speech. ‘K?
    And Stenberg’s not “establishment”? Really? And how so is he “not establishment”?
    Let me know.

  20. I am the 19.6% part deux says:

    I did not say he is “not establishment” I am simply saying if he is indeed the establishment candidate where is the establishment money? That begs the question, does the establishment simply not like Don – perhaps? I am not writing to support him or undermine Jon; I am simply pointing out this blatantly bias blog (killer alliteration). Don’s endorsement list is mildly impressive, that can’t be argued. Rather than give him credit for that you use it to undermine…hmmm. I find it interesting that while most see Bruning as the ultimate winner, a fair/moderate number of outside groups are throwing support behind Don. That simple fact leaves this voter wondering what they see/know that perhaps the people of Nebraska are yet to hear about. I understand your argument about his article from law school and it is inconsistent with his record as a politician, you raise the most obvious defense. However, how would you defend the following – the law school articles (pre public office) Jon Bruning are completely different than elected Jon Bruning and as such his principles MAY be weak or non-existent?? Lets keep in mind Ben Nelson had a decent voting record, but was hardly principled. Please don’t give the “Reagan had a change of heart” argument in your response should you choose to respond. I knew Ronald Reagan and JB is no Ronald Reagan. When you look at JB in the aggregate there is inconsistent policy positions (you can’t ignore the articles – well i guess you can), there is questionable grant writing from the AG office and (although I don’t find it overly persuasive) the whole he got rich in office while the economy tanked argument. Add those three things up and perhaps there is the reason outside groups are looking elsewhere, or …there is something more …cue X Files music. For the record, I am not a 9-11 conspiracy theorist.

  21. Well, here is the thing about DeMint: His WHOLE goal is to be the counter-culture conservative guy (so to speak). “You think your guy is conservative? Well, I’ll take the guy running in second place, and declare him MORE conservative! And he’s MY guy! And if HE wins, Jim DeMint wins! Hyahh!!!”
    And I find that it has gone overboard. I’m not into the Nebraska Senate candidate fawning over and over about his endorsement from some South Carolina guy.
    Because that’s pretty much all you hear. “I’m a lifelong conservative (i.e. I never wrote anything in my law school paper!), and Jim DeMint endorsed me.” Really? That’s the focus?
    How about focusing on his record — of TWELVE years in the AG’s office? 12!
    Look, I know it’s all strategy, playing from behind and all that. And I don’t want to fault Don too much for playing the game like it oftentimes has to be played. But there is a point when the pure banality of it gets a little tiring and you’re looking for just a touch of a genuine effort to sell one’s resume.
    And by the way, if you don’t think we’ve been tough on Bruning, take a look at who was the first site to publish his Daily Nebraskan stuff. (Hint: you’re reading it now.)
    If Don wants to win it, he is going to have to find a genuine issue to differentiate himself from Bruning on. — much like Heineman did with Osborne. If he can’t do that, he is apparently waiting for something else to hit the fan. And that may or may not happen.

    Now I have to do some important Tv watching. ‘Nite.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.