The good news for Senator Ben Nelson is that he doesn't have to face Nebraska voters until 2012.
If Governor Dave Heineman challenges Nelson for the Senate job, a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows the Republican would get 61% of the vote while Nelson would get just 30%. Nelson was reelected to a second Senate term in 2006 with 64% of the vote.
Nelson's health care vote is clearly dragging his numbers down. Just 17% of Nebraska voters approve of the deal their senator made on Medicaid in exchange for his vote in support of the plan. Overall, 64% oppose the health care legislation, including 53% who are Strongly Opposed. In Nebraska, opposition is even stronger than it is nationally.
But what happens if Nelson would vote against final passage of Obamacare? The seemingly insurmountable 31-point deficit shrinks to a manageable 10-point deficit:
When survey respondents were asked how they would vote if Nelson blocks health care reform, 47% still pick Heneman while 37% would vote to keep the incumbent in office. Twenty percent (20%) of those who initially said they'd vote for Heineman say they'd switch to supporting Nelson. Another six percent (6%) of Heineman supporters say they're not sure what they'd do if Nelson stops the health care plan from becoming law.