A new poll from PPP shows Nebraska attorney general Jon Bruning, a Republican, as a clear favorite to replace retiring Democrat senator Ben Nelson in November. Former Democratic senator Bob Kerrey, who is returning to Nebraska to run for his old seat, actually performs worse against Bruning and the other GOP candidates than Nelson would have. Here's more from PPP's Tom Jensen:
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.
PPP also finds that Bruning is pulling away from his primary opponents, leading former attorney general and current treasurer Don Stenberg by 28 percentage points, 46 percent to 18 percent.
This is the second major poll in recent weeks to find Kerrey in deep trouble. Perhaps Kerrey recent campaign ads that push to remind voters there that he's "coming home" to Nebraska (after having spent the last decade in New York following his term in the Senate) can move these numbers. Kerrey's problem is that Nebraska is much more Republican now than it was when the state last elected Kerrey to the Senate in 1994.