Polling and endorsing

"We're comin' Elizabeth!"

Lots of issues over the weekend. Where to begin?

Well, the talk of the Senate race was, as it usually is at this point, “What do the the polls say?”

Deena Winter at Watchdog tweeted that

I hear polls show Bruning’s lead has been cut in half, but he’s still up by about 10 points in the GOP race for #nesen.

In his Monday column (more on that later) Don Walton of the LJS talked to the candidates who all said they thought the race has tightened. And then he referenced a “recent unpublished poll”.

And that’s fine. We always dig polls.

Except a few things:
1) The last published numbers had Bruning up by thirty, so if his lead has been “cut in half”, he is still up by 15, not 10.
2) Let us be realistic; if the numbers were really close enough to make people sit up, they wouldn’t be leaked via Twitter. They would be under a trumpeting press release.
3) We saw the questions from the poll, done by South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint’s Senate Conservative Fund. They looked like this:

  • Who do you support in the Nebraska Republican Primary?
  • If you knew that Jon Bruning supports tax increases would you be more or less likely to support, etc.?
  • If you knew that Bruning supported Eric Holder would you be more or less likely to support, etc.?
  • If you knew that Bruning was for the 1993 National Health Care bill and in 2000 for state government health care would you be more or less likely to support, etc.?
  • After knowing all this who would you vote for in the Nebraska Republican Primary?

So any results that Stenberg and the SCF will be sending are going to be from the last “vote” answers, not the first. Again, fine. But you didn’t hear the push questions from Deena or Don, did you? And that skews any results now, doesn’t it?

**UPDATE at 11:55am**

Deena Winter at Watchdog now has a post up saying that “a poll” of 500 people shows Bruning up by just 9 pts.

That is a change from her earlier statement that Bruning was up “about 10” points — or that Bruning’s 30 point lead was “cut in half”.

Blaringly absent from Deena’s post however is WHO took and paid for the poll. We have noted already that the Senate Conservative Fund, which supports Stenberg, was in the field polling.

However, we are told that Deena’s reported mystery results are NOT from the SCF. So, from who? Who knows.

All same points above stand.


You may have noted the Omaha World Herald’s left-handed “endorsement” of Jon Bruning on Sunday.

In it, the OWH said, essentially…

“Bruning, Stenberg and Fischer are all the same. But Stenberg has lost twice, and Fischer doesn’t have any money. So we think the best match-up would be Bruning vs Kerrey. And Bob Kerrey is awesome. And even though our newspaper researched and published an extensive review of his financial dealings and found nothing, we think the voters will still think Bruning is a liar.
Uh, so Bruning vs. Kerrey.”

Your leading state newspaper everybody!

So again, the OWH says that Stenberg’s and Fischer’s campaigns aren’t good enough, so they are endorsing Bruning. Now that is certainly a political observation one could make. We make those. Don Walton does. But the editorial board’s endorsement generally is supposed to look past that stuff.

But not here, because they want to pick the winner.

Oh, and they’d really like to see Kerrey beat Bruning.


And speaking of Don, we would like to float back to a few of his Monday column comments (as we are wont to do).

Don gives this bullet-point:

* A mention of Chuck Hagel in a Washington Post political analysis on Sunday authored by think tank heavyweights Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein: “It is clear that the center of gravity in the Republican Party has shifted sharply to the right. Its once-legendary moderate and center-right legislators in the House and the Senate — think Bob Michel, Mickey Edwards, John Danforth, Chuck Hagel — are virtually extinct.”


"Heavyweights" Ornstein & Mann

“Think tank heavyweights” huh?

Well, here is the headline of the referenced column (with no link from Don, btw) of those “heavyweights”:

Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the problem.

Oh my! The weight of their non-partisan theorizing is just bowling us over!

Yeah, go ahead and take a read of that hack of a column and see what you come away with. Because their position is that oh boy, we have never seen the Republicans so partisan! And you know how we can tell?? Because when Allen West spouted some one-liner at a town-hall meeting in his district, the GOP leadership didn’t denounce him!

(This was the one where West said there are 80 members of the Communist Party in the House. And then he followed up by saying that their name is the “Congressional Progressive Caucus.” And liberal thumb-suckers like Mann and Ornstein had their dresses up over their heads that West REALLY thinks they are Communist Party members!!!!)

Well, let us step beyond the point that West was clearly using hyperbole to make a point. And that even if he was taking himself seriously, West is a bombastic Member who enjoys throwing the occasional rhetorical bomb to make a point. So people who know what he says don’t really care.

Oh, but Mann and Ornstein find that to be the exclusive realm of the Republicans! Of course they won’t even bother to gloss over the musing of Members like Maxine Walker who calls Republicans, “Demons.” Or how about the Vice President of the United States claiming that Republicans are at war against women? As the Monty Python players might put it, “Let’s not quibble about Who Killed Who.”

But then Mann and Ornstein, as Don Walton note, lament that the Republicans are no longer the squishes that they were in the days of yore. Oh that mean ol’ Newt Gingrich made them all so angry!

Yeah, he is the guy who help the GOP take back the House of Representatives that was the Democrats’ Club Med for how many years? Tip O’Neill was the Good Emperor, and the Bob Michels of the GOP world were happy to get the scraps from the table. But when Republicans actually want to push their agenda, oh well, they just go too far, you see.

And isn’t someone like Chuck Hagel awesome? You know, the kind of guy who will tell you how right the Democrats are? And how smart Joe Biden is? And how the the surge in Iraq would just grind up US troops, because he is so wise, and bucks Dick Cheney? And how the Republican party left him , he didn’t leave the party?

Yeah, that is Mann and Ornstein and Don Walton’s kind of Republican. A Democrat one.

Always cute when a Democrat who stands his or her ground is called, “principled”, but when a Republican does it he or she is “bullheaded”.


As long as we are tossing around endorsement news, note that Rep. Lee Terry and Bret Lindstrom received the endorsement from Nebraskans United for Life.

And Terry also was endorsed as the race’s sole “suggested fiscally conservative candidate” by Nebraska Taxpayers for Freedom. Their leader said that Terry…

“…has always been willing to make the tough votes to reduce spending. Many candidates talk about cutting spending, but Congressman Terry has actually done it.”

Just two weeks left. Exciting stuff.


  1. In the tank for Bruning says:

    Sweeper, the circular logic you use to defend your Bruning-mobile mentality is tedious. How ON EARTH do you say that the OWH “found nothing” on Bruning’s financial dealings. In the one article the headline was “Bruning: I know right, wrong” which means things were questionable enough he had to ensure someone he know right and wrong that story went on to detail:
    *As a state senator on the Transportation and Telecommunications committee all his legal clients were telecom clients.
    *While a state senator on the Transportation and Telecommunications committee his wife was a lobbyist – for telecom clients.
    *As AG (taxpayer time) he started 17 private companies
    *While on taxpayer salary of less than 100K he built net worth of 20 million-ish
    *That he is either a liar or totally irresponsible that he didn’t know about one company making a 4+ million purchase of a bank
    *most of his current holdings are in state banking – an industry his office regulates.

    Not exactly an exoneration. It just raised a bunch of questions for voters. Lay off the crackpipe SS.

  2. Anonymostly says:

    Yeah, Democrats loved Hagel because they could parade him about and, whenever they needed the words of a Republican to prove how lousy them Republicans are, Hagel was Ol’ Reliable. Get him on the Sunday morning talk shows. He’ll fall all over himself trying to bash Pres Bush and Bush’s policies. And that gives credence to the Democrats’ argument when EVEN a Republican* says it.

    Can anyone name for me a Democrat who would break ranks and speak ill of Democrats and in favor of Republican policies the way Chuck Hagel would do the reverse? Huh. Didn’t think so.

    (* You have to use an asterisk anytime you refer to things like Mark McGuire’s home run record or Chuck Hagel’s nominal Republican affiliation. Chuck Hagel is the quintessential RINO.)

  3. outsider says:

    In the tank for Bruning, With all your allegations (which by the way have no factual basis), the OWH still endorsed Bruning over whoever your candidate is? What does that say about your candidate?

  4. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?!? says:

    In its editorial endorsement of Jon Bruning on 4-29-12 it stated that Bruning has some explaining to do about his financial endeavors while AG. I don’t disagree with that comment but wonder why the same standard is not applied to Bob Kerrey. Afterall, the economic strides Kerrey made while Governor are certainly questionable.

    The OWH has long had a love affair with Bob Kerrey. Apparently the flame still burns.

  5. Macdaddy says:

    I missed the OWH endorsement, but then again I never read what the editorial staff writes. I realize it’s bizarre, but I have never cared what the “newspaper” thought of things. Their business is to bring me news and entertainment. How that qualifies them to expound on any other topic seems a little forced. In any event, if they think Bruning is a liar, then they just knowingly endorsed a liar. That means they either want a crook to represent Nebraska, or they think it would be easier for Kerrey to beat a crook, but they can’t let you know that yet. Either way, it’s a dishonest position that reflects poorly on them. Maybe that’s the real reason I never read those editorials: the people who write them have the intellectual heft of a feather and the moral preening of a peacock.

  6. In the tank for Bruning says:

    Admittedly, I don’t understand the Omaha World Herald’s endorsement. I think it’s a bit of a dereliction of duty – but they do raise the many questions voters have about Bruning in the “endorsement” and perhaps they were looking at the horse race of money and early poll results and decided this was the likely match up. Love the one you’re with -I guess.

    Either way- you, too, are smoking crack by saying those truths have “no factual basis.” They are plainly laid out, IN DETAIL, in the OWH story “Bruning: I know right,wrong” from Sunday, April 24.

    In that same paper there is a story about how he owned a Botox spa that was accused of using dirty needles, firing whistle blowers, and then when Bruning (as AG) had to discipline his own botox doc for doling out prescription drugs illegally- he quickly sold the company to the inlaws of his fundraiser. Gimme a break.

    Read the paper. It’s right there in black and white. FACTUAL BASIS INCLUDED.

    The Attorney General’s office regulates the industries in which he is invested. Conflict of interest anyone?

  7. To @outsider says:

    Oh, please! Warren and Susie want Bob Kerrey, and that’s who the OWH will endorse. Terry will make sure all of the “news” articles written about Kerrey between now and election will not mention any of the miriad of idiotic moves made by Kerrey. Think they will talk about his association with Norman Hsu? About his support of partial-birth abortion? About his singular vote in the Senate in 1993 for the largest tax increase in U.S. history?

    If you want fair reporting on the Nebraska’s senate race, you will have to find someplace other than the OWH.

  8. Prarie Life says:

    Did the Gottschalks own a chunk of stock in one of Kerrey’s businesses??? I think I remember they may have had an interest at one point. Also doesn’t Susie, Bob, and Jane’s sugar daddy serve on a board together???

  9. Macdaddy says:

    Just how big do you think Nebraska is? If you’re a mover and shaker here, it’s not hard to share the same circles with others like yourself. You don’t even need to knock on the front door of Warren’s house. Kerrey, living in NYC, must have forgotten how it is here. I guess his glass house is all smudged from the city smog.

  10. RWP says:

    Gottschalk is a limited partner in Prairie Life. He also attended UNL with Kerrey and was in the same frat.

    It’s an inbred little state we all live in. Too damn inbred. Far too much of the state’s business is conducted on the golf course. And when the publisher of the largest newspaper, and a member of the board of the second largest newspaper, are both business partners of the Governor, how much real press oversight do you think you get?

    Meanwhile, Common Cause is off chasing The Nuge. Jeez Louise.

  11. outsider says:

    The World Herald endorsement means that Deb Fischer isn’t ready for the national stage and that Don Stenberg while he’s run for senate 3 times isn’t ready for the job either. It’s an easy rebuttal to call it Warren Buffett’s liberal paper, that’s not clever or insightful. What is more difficult to assess is what goes into being a senator and Deb and Don don’t cut it. Jon Bruning is senatorial and that’s why they endorsed him.

  12. Lil Mac says:

    I found Sweeper’s Sanford-ish caption delightful (wink wink, nudge nudge).

    Q. If Jon Bruning said he thinks Jesus got what He deserved, would you vote for Don Stenberg? No? You still wouldn’t? Okay, if Bruning was convicted of eating your children would you…

    Regarding Obama’s favorite RINO Hagel… remember that Hagel was Stenberg’s fault.

    Before Stenberg put Ben Nelson into the Senate in 2000, Stenberg put Chuck Hagel into the Senate in 1996. Don could have stopped Chuck cold. Hagel had never ran for any political office. By 1996, Stenberg had run four times and won twice; deemed an “unbeatable” conservative in a conservative state. Stenberg lost to Hagel 38% to 62%. Hagel wasn’t in a position to win had Stenberg not been inept.

  13. cws says:

    Sorry, Anonymostly. The Bush presidency was an unmitigated DISASTER. Kudos to Hagel for having the courage and principles to stand up for his beliefs and not blindly follow the party line.

  14. Some Thoughts says:

    The more I hear about this race, the more I wish this was Deb Fischer’s year. Both Kerrey and Bruning strike me as pursuing politics for their own self-aggrandizement. It’s a similar story: frat boys who have no problem using their political positions to enrich themselves. If you’re tired of that same old, same old, you still have a choice in this race: Fischer. A solid, true conservative with common sense who hasn’t been bought and paid for by anyone. The upside is that even if she loses, I think she’ll be a contender for other offices.

  15. Lil Mac says:

    11:27, you are correct that Fischer is running a positive race and positioning herself for future races. But you are wrong to say she isn’t pursuing politics and self-aggrandizement. That would make her a fool. And it is wrong of you or anyone else to imply only your candidate is a saint and other candidates have evil intentions. Candidates vary in principles, issues, and political acumen. They all crave power, but some are stupid. We need smart ones to handle critical matters of public policy. Principles mean squat in the hands of a dimwit like Don. Deb is smart, and that is more valuable in the long run than her simply winning this one race.

    Just as Bruning was smart enough to step aside for Johanns in exchange for Jon’s lead today, Deb is smart enough today to stay high road because she knows she cannot beat Bruning, and knows she has no political future if she acts like Don. She is not being nice because she is a saint. Saints can get us all killed. We need tough and smart not saintly. So her turn comes later. Other than that, your saccharine tone of advocacy makes you sound like her junior staffer and that undercuts your credibility as her advocate. Tone it down and you will get more mileage out of your ink.

  16. Read the Stories says:

    The World Herald tried harder than I’ve ever seen by them before to stick it to Bruning, admitedly spending countless hours going over hundreds of pages of documents, yet they found nothing. It’s written in plain English and published right here in the internets.

    And shame on In the Tank for accusing Bruning of using taxpayer dollars for personal investments without any proof to back it up. Clearly the World Herald, who clearly is out to get Bruning, would have published something if they found any wrongdoing. But they didn’t.

    And let’s not forget that Kerrey, Stenberg and Bruning are all millionaires, with Kerry being the richest by far.

  17. RWP says:

    If you’re tired of that same old, same old, you still have a choice in this race: Fischer.

    Mostly I agree. I just wish she hadn’t claimed that having a post office close by is a ‘right’.

  18. Read the Stories says:

    The World Herald can have a love affair with Bobby all it wants, ain’t no chance he’s beating Bruning in the Fall.

  19. To Anon @9:50 AM says:

    “The press has figured it out”, I am guessing when you say “press” you mean Susie, Warren, Terry Kroeger, and Donnie Boy Walton?

    Not this time, Anon, not this time!

  20. Lil Mac says:

    RWP, you may have more insight as I haven’t followed Fischer that closely. She seems high road compared to Don, but then a rabid badger seems more high road than Don.

  21. what's wrong with politics says:

    I can’t stand the bickering and blustering and bloviating between Don and Jon. Is this race over yet? I used to support Jon Bruning, but he is so inept and I can’t vote for that. I’m about ready to jump on the Pat Flynn train.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Dorky Don and Jon are busy slugging away at it, and with 2 VERY LONG weeks to go Fischer may just pull it off? I’m sure most people have their money on Jon, and they should it’s his to lose, but Mike Johanns slipped in under the Poo Flinging and ran right up the middle to win.

    The OWH is a piece of worthless paper, just about like every other paper anymore.

    Anybody hearing anything from or about Gwen Howard?

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