Jon Bruning remains the front runner for the Republican Senate nomination in Nebraska, but he's in a weaker position now than he was way back in January when PPP took its first look at the race.
Bruning is at 37% to 16% for Don Stenberg, 14% for Deb Fischer, and 6% for Pat Flynn. Compared to our previous poll Bruning is down 10 points from what was then a 47% standing. Stenberg's support has declined slightly as well from it previous 19% standing. The big gainer is Fischer, who's gone from 6% to 14%. Flynn is pretty much in the same position as before, and the number of undecideds has increased from 20% to 27%.
Bruning has had a lot of less than positive press coverage in recent days and it appears to be taking a toll on his image. His net favorability has declined 19 points over the course of this year. He was at +45 (57/12) in January but now he's at just +26 (48/22). It's definitely to Bruning's advantage that he has three opponents rather than one. 37% of voters want him and 36% want someone else but since the 'someone else' is split three different ways it allows him to maintain a pretty healthy lead overall.
Stenberg interestingly has almost identical favorability numbers to Bruning at 46/22 but for whatever reason that's not translating directly into votes for him. Although Stenberg has seemingly been trying to run to the front runner's right, Bruning actually has his strongest numbers with voters describing themselves as 'very conservative,' at a 47-15 advantage. It's moderates who split their votes most evenly. So at least at this point Bruning doesn't appear to have a 'Tea Party' problem, although that could present itself further down the road.
Bruning certainly remains the front runner to take on Ben Nelson- but his image has taken a hit and his nomination doesn't look as inevitable now as it did 8 months ago.
Full results here