We are always intrigued by polls and polling. And by the readership when one comes up, we know that you are as well.
So two relatively major polls came out on the Nebraska U.S. Senate race yesterday. One was Jon Bruning’s poll that showed Bruning up by over 30 points on Don Stenberg. We did not see Stenberg’s camp try to refute those numbers, mainly because they did not want to step on their Club for Growth endorsement story. But we would guess that they have a general beef with it, one way or another.
If the election were held today, would the Bruning poll prove to be correct? Without more info on that poll — we only got the bare minimum of the numbers — it is difficult for us to evaluate its veracity. But forgive the Stenberg folks if they do not want to buy into it 105%. Who could blame them? Not to mention, they would probably argue that the CFG announcement will change some minds – or at least eventually will if they commit monetarily.
But the other poll is what got us asking more questions.
In the Rasmussen Reports poll, it showed each of the three major GOP candidates beating Bob Kerrey — with Kerrey’s numbers never topping 34%.
Kerrey’s manager Paul Johnson announced to Nebraska Watchdog that the Rasmussen numbers were not “close to reality“.
Huh. And why?
“Johnson said 48 percent of the people surveyed by Rasmussen identified themselves as Republican and 24 percent Democrat. Most pollsters use a 48-33 split, Johnson said.”
Yeah? Not the ones we have talked to.
In any case, we contacted Rasmussen, and they responded that the numbers they use are 48% Republicans and 29% Democrats — and we assume then 23% Independents. They stated that they got those numbers from 2008 exit polls.
So whose numbers are accurate?
Well, we have a pretty good idea where Johnson gets his numbers. And we have followed up with Rasmussen on their numbers.
But here is what we know (or think we know, ya know?):
According to the Nebraska Secretary of State, the Voter Registration percentages are as follows:
According to the Secretary of State, here are the ACTUAL VOTER percentages from 2008 (the last Presidential Election year):
So, for one, we are not sure where Rasmussen is getting their info. We don’t see how or why one would use an exit poll if the actual numbers are available. Maybe there is some argument that self-identifying is a better gauge than registering? We dunno. But it would seem to make more sense just to use the actual voter numbers, if you are looking for likely voters.
So back to that point — “likely voters”. That is always the term used, right? So Johnson’s suggestion of 48% seems low as well.
Here are the percentages of ACTUAL Republican, Democrat and Independent voters since 2002:
So if you’re looking for a percentage of likely voters — people who are actually going to show up at the polls — your numbers for Republicans should probably fall somewhere between 50 – 58%, right? And then factor in, if you’d like the crazy number of new Democrats who voted in a frenzy in 2008. Think they are all going to show up at the polls again? Think Republicans are just a little enthused this year?
So a very easy argument can be made to take the average of 2002-2008 and come up with 54-55% Republicans, 33-34% Democrats and 11-12% Independents.
Makes one think that Rasmussen’s numbers might even be a little low for the GOP candidates, yeah?
Then how about the fact that Rasmussen apparently sampled 23% Independents? Their actual voter numbers don’t come anywhere near that — 14% tops in ’08.
But who do you think Independents would come down for, as a majority, in polling? Bruning or Kerrey? Stenberg or Kerrey? Now while we would not be surprised to see one of the GOP candidates, or that it would be even, many of us would also not be surprised to see Kerrey lead in that category of voters.
So, arguably, Republicans were way under-sampled, Democrats were slightly under-sampled and Independents were way over-sampled.
Were Rasmussen’s numbers “close to reality”, as Johnson argues? Well, maybe not. Maybe Kerrey is getting creamed by even more.
Of course Rasmussen’s final argument tends to be, “Hey look at our final predictions. We were off on the ’08 Presidential election by 1%.”
And maybe they know what they’re doing.
But we see no proof, as Johnson wants to argue — until you start pushing and “messaging” — that Kerrey is “within the margin of error”.
You should read Joe Morton’s article in the OWH today regarding Don Stenberg’s recent endorsement by the Club for Growth, and their history in Nebraska.
You may recall that CFG was fairly heavily involved in Adrian Smith’s win in NE-03 GOP primary in 2006 in a very tough field. Anyone could have pulled that race out, but many saw CFG’s support for Smith as really making it happen. And then you may remember the Kleeb camp bitching and moaning about CFG’s support of Smith in the general.
But Morton also goes back to the 2004 primary in NE01, where CFG came out against outgoing Rep. Doug Bereuter’s chosen pick of Curt Bromm. CFG hammered Bromm so hard that he lost in the crowded field — but not to CFG’s pick Greg Ruehle. Instead a Lincoln City Councilman pulled out the race and eventually headed to Washington D.C.
(And that finely coiffed man, Jeff Fortenberry, will be featured on “Only in America with Larry the Cable Guy” tonight at 8pm on the History Channel. Really. So there ya go.)
In any case, we wait to see if CFG will pour as much doe-ray-mi into the race as South Carolina’s Jim DeMint has for Don Stenberg. Would it be positive or negative ads? Or will they just give their name to Don, but not really their wallets.
On that note, former GOP candidate David Kramer responded to our general question about the CFG endorsement, last night, saying:
I don’t have a sense that spending a bunch of money to talk about how great Don is will be enough to get him over the hump. In order to beat Jon in the primary, Don, or even Deb for that matter, will have to go after the weaknesses that make Jon vulnerable in the general election.
At this late stage, the race is likely to turn more on why Jon shouldn’t be the nominee than on why one of the others should be.
We have a feeling that Don would agree.
An interesting, lonnnnng piece in the Huffington Post yesterday making the case that, if elected, Bob Kerrey would be carrying the mantle for the pro-marijuana movement in the U.S. Senate. That argument is based on the fact that Kerrey…
“…has a history of advising his old friend Peter Lewis, the billionaire founder of Progressive Insurance and the leading financial backer of marijuana policy reform, on Lewis’ efforts.”
The article goes on to quote, who else, but Kerrey’s mouthpiece Paul Johnson, who says,
“Bob Kerrey and Peter Lewis are good friends,” Johnson said by email. “But the notion that Sen. Kerrey was or is a part of a small group advising Mr. Lewis on strategy in New Hampshire or any other state is false.”
Well, except that the article then goes on to show how Kerrey DID in fact advise Lewis on tactics in New Hampshire. (Kerrey saying one thing, but doing another? Oh, the room is spinning!) They go on to say that Kerrey advising on tactics does not necessarily mean that Kerrey agreed with their overall policy objective…but if not, why would he help with the tactics?
The article points to a survey (here we go again) that shows 64% of Nebraskans support reforming medical marijuana laws. So maybe there is an opening for Kerrey there? Well look, we will be REAL surprised to see Kerrey make this a campaign issue. Though, not so surprised to see an opponent bring it up.
But, just know that whatever Kerrey says, there is a great chance that he will think about it, probably discuss it with his wife in New York or DC while watching the Oscars, and decide to vote exactly the opposite way he told you he would.
IF he were elected…
And if it’s Wednesday (wait…yup!) that means Ben Nelson is on the fence…AGAIN.
This time Ben has stated that he will NOT make an endorsement in the Democrat Senate primary.
Oh come on!
Senator, we KNoooooW you are a Steve Lustgarten man. Just admit it, so we can all get on with the parades.
By the way, we will probably discuss the whole Gay Rights Ordinance before the Omaha City Council tomorrow.
But in the mean time, REALLY CITY COUNCIL? A hundred bucks for leaving your trash can out? And $500 after that??? Five HUNDRED dollars? Are you freaking kidding us?
We would love to see a city-wide boycott, where everyone leaves their container out on the curb for a week and then refuses to pay any fine.
You want to talk about your government over reach? There is it. What a complete crock of crap.