PPP's newest Nebraska Senate poll finds that Democrats are in a much worse position with Bob Kerrey as their candidate than they would have been with Ben Nelson, and that Jon Bruning is now a strong favorite in both the primary and general elections.
Kerrey's campaign rollout has not been a success. In October his favorability rating in the state was a +5 spread at 39/34. Since then it's dropped 20 points on the margin to -15 at 36/51. Kerrey's stayed steady with Democrats but has seen large drops with independents (from 47/24 to 36/38) and with Republicans (from 23/47 to 16/74).
Kerrey trails the top 3 Republican contenders by double digits. He's down 17 to Jon Bruning at 54-37, 14 to Don Stenberg at 52-38, and 10 to Deb Fischer at 48-38. In PPP's last poll before he announced his retirement Ben Nelson trailed Bruning by only 4, Stenberg by 3, and actually led Fischer by 2. This does not appear to be one of those instances where a retirement left the party better off.
Bruning is increasingly looking like an overwhelming favorite in the Republican primary. He's polling at 46% to 18% for Don Stenberg, 12% for Deb Fischer, and 4% or less for a trio of fringe candidates. Only 18% of voters are still undecided.
Compared to PPP's last poll of the primary Bruning's up 9 points from 37% to 46%. The other candidates are treading water. Stenberg's only seen a two point bump from 16% to 18%, and Fischer's support has dropped by a couple points from 14% to 12%.
There had been some thought that Bruning could struggle with voters on the right, but our numbers don't really back that up. He has a 25 point advantage with Tea Party voters at 48-23, and leads by 23 with those identifying themselves as 'very conservative' at 48-25.
Jon Bruning's chances of being Nebraska's next Senator are looking pretty darn good.
Full results here