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Poll has Kerrey within 2 points, but even the pollster is skeptical

By   /   October 25, 2012  /   34 Comments

Deb Fischer and Bob Kerrey shake hands after debating in Lincoln.

By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog

A new poll has Bob Kerrey within 2 percentage points of Deb Fischer in the Nebraska Senate race, but the pollster himself is skeptical that the race is that close.

Fischer is leading with 48 percent to Kerrey’s 46 percent according to a poll by former Gallup pollster Steve Leuchtman of Pharos Research Group. The live call poll of 783 likely Nebraska voters (all land lines) was conducted Oct. 19-21 with a margin of error of 3.5 points.

This follows the Kerrey campaign’s release last week of internal polling showing Fischer’s lead had shrunk to 5 points. Prior to that the Omaha World-Herald‘s Sept. 17-20 poll had Deb Fischer with a 16-point lead among likely voters.

However, the Pharos pollster cautioned that its poll sample “trends slightly more Democratic than the state” — surveying 43 percent Republican and 31 percent Democrat. Exit polls in 2008 had the state at 48 percent Republican and 29 percent Democrat.

Leuchtman, who used to work for Gallup in Lincoln and Omaha, told Nebraska Watchdog said his sample was a bit heavy on Democrats.

“You and I both know that it’s not likely that you’re going get as high as a 31% Democratic turnout,” he said. “But in the 2nd District he’s certainly running stronger. He’s just getting killed in the 3rd District.”

Still, he expects Fischer will win the election.

“I think it’s an outlier,” he said of his poll. “I would suspect that the true state of play in the race is about 6 percent… and it wouldn’t surprise me if Fischer won by 10 to 12.”

Even the liberal Daily Kos is skeptical about the pollster’s numbers, calling the Nebraska results “the craziest result” from the seven statewide polls Pharos polled.

Still, the Kerrey campaign sent out a release saying he has gained a lot of traction in recent weeks as “Nebraskans have learned more about Deb Fischer.”

The Kerrey campaign has been hammering Fischer for the past few weeks over a mid-1990s lawsuit in which she sued her neighbor over a 100-acre piece of ground and introduced a bill they believe was intended to block the sale of that neighbor’s ranch.

Contact Deena Winter at [email protected].

Editor’s note: to subscribe to News Updates from Nebraska Watchdog at no cost, click here.


Deena formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • Dislike Kerrey

    Kerrey makes a big deal out of nothing like always, and will do nothing as always too.

  • Dislike Kerrey

    Let’s see? The only Senate representation we ever had was Nelson when he made us the laughing stock of the Nation with his Oblama Care Deal.. The land grab is no big issue but a bunch of mis-represented lies…

  • Mackerman

    Go Bob! Kerrey is easily the best choice. But in a state full of conservatives it’s realistic that the argument would be ridiculously difficult. Especially when the ‘best’ argument the opposition has is that he’s lived in New York City. I would also like someone to seriously challenge Fischer on he’s dependence on right wing nut Sara Palin to help he’s get her party’s nomination. AS we’ll as her reliance on massive amounts of cash from outside the state and probably the country by PAC’s run by Rove and the Koch bros.

  • The poll is off by 7 points at least. It adds 2 points to the Dems and drops 5 points off the Repubs from the 2008 turnout. This is all by design from the Kerrey Camp to show momentum in a race where Kerrey is down 8 to 10 points. The undecideds in this poll are at 6 points. Kerrey is Toast

  • jason3

    How bout Adverse Possession Deb going to the neighbors and asking to clarify land boundaries and even say I’ll pay for it….or help pay for it. Instead as she says, on advice from their attorney go for the jugular! now it’s clarify boundaries after she lost the case…she is giving us life long Nebraskans a bad name..are these family values? If so, New York values look a lot more inviting…how bout hiring a SURVEYOR?…or didn’t her attorney know what those are? Deb go back to your ranch!

  • ToucheTurtle

    BOO-HOO!!!!! I hope your man, GOB, gets the whoopin’ of his life . . .

  • B

    Hmm, I feel like I’ve heard this before…

  • Blue Dog

    Don’t count out the man who was down by 17 points a week from winning the Govenors race? He knows how to win!

  • jimino

    Kerrey is a Nebraskan.

    Have you asked Fortenberry to go back to Louisiana?

  • OmaSteak

    The only thing worse than the methodology of this poll (no list of questions or crosstabs of reponses???), is giving the Kerrey folks any false hope at all…it’s just cruel when Cosmic Bob loses by double digits…and he boards a private jet for an early flight back to NYC on 11/07/12 paid for from campaign funds.

  • Mackerman

    Umm, any legitimate argument as to why he isn’t a much better choice than Fischer? Otherwise this is what I’m talking about, the opposition has no argument, just running on irrational anger/ right wing fear.

  • James F

    How about the fact that Kerrey supports Obama’s failed policies which have only led to higher unemployment, deeper debt, larger deficits, higher healthcare costs, higher energy costs, etc. The Dems are causing most of the problems in Congress, gotta get them out and turn this country around so we don’t dive headlong over the fiscal cliff. If Kerrey has to resort to character assassination in order to win, instead of running on his own record and ideas, he isn’t worth anyone’s vote. It’s the economy, stupid!

  • ConservativeChristian

    Have to hand it to Nebraska Watchdog, you at least put in your headline that the pollster questioned their sampling. On OWH site, they just say that the race is tightening. Good grief, I would hope it’s tightening when you oversample D’s (and independents, even though watchdog doesn’t mention that) and undersample R’s. Not going to gain much respect with that, and I find it especially hilarious when even dkos is questioning the results, considering they’ll run with about anything pro-D they can find.

  • Jazzee

    excellent James

  • Don Frank

    jimino are you from mexico? If kerrey was a nebraskan, way is he living in new york?

  • GOP left me long ago

    @BlueDog & Democrats: Clinton went in, cleaned up elephant deficit dung w/Kerrey’s help & left a budget surplus. Obama went in, worked two years to clean huge herds of elephant dung & had to spend last two years with a do-nothing House & a fillibustering Senate committed only to assure Obama couldn’t pursue anything with a 60 vote rule.
    Republican Senators cared far more about defeating Obama than their country: how’s that for pledging allegiance to the country & justice for all (blocking most of Obama’s nominees?)
    Fiscal conservative Kerrey w/help moderate Obama enormously. The Democratic Party today is like the fiscally sensible, civil rights/social justice Republican Party was until the 1970s. Over time, Falwell, Robertson et all began efforts based on deeply wierd, psycho-sexual issues in unhinged movements that led the grand old party back to the days of right wing extremists. Today’s right wing extremists use tactics and words just like old right wing KKK (Tparty, Bachman, Steve King etc), John Birchers (Koch Bros, Paul Ryan etc), Father Laughlin (Limbaugh, West, etc), Joe McCarthy (Beck, Issa, Sessions), Aryan Nation & militias (vote blockers, zealot pro-birthers, etc). Southern state Democratic racists and bigots claiming “state’s rights” joined the Republican Party after passage of Civil & Voting rights legislation. Today’s wingers wouldn’t vote for bi-partisan Reagan & G.H.W. Bush–good men/another era. Who knows what Romney would pursue as he’s changed positions more often than a prostitute; he just wants to 1)surpass his father’s achievements by becoming the worlds #1 executive CEO “boss”–he has no core philosophy/beliefs aside from his family & faith. U.S. Senate integrity needs to be restored by voting for experienced people with defense/intellence/foreign affairs knowledge, keen intellect, open-mindedness & courage to vote for nation’s best interest versus the party line. That’s precisely why Kerrey & Obama will both win: both are able, courageous, intelligent, experienced, pragmatic, open-minded, Democratic centrists!

  • Problem is Obamas’ Policies have not failed. They have in fact been very successful despite the opposition of a House that made it a point to destroy him.
    You Republicans ran from Bush Jr. like scalded dogs and he had the exact same economic policies as your newest Great White Hope does. I might add the Foreign policy understanding of a Drunkard.
    What you don’t want to admit is that you expected immediate gratification or you, like the misogynistic, bigoted and racist fools that would have this Country governed by Religious Doctrine are a bigger threat to Freedom than any Islamic fundamentalist living 6000 miles away could ever be.

  • Jason


    Here’s all the questions, counts, and crosstabs. You didn’t bother looking, did you? Certainly wouldn’t want to be exposed to any information which might fail to confirm your biases…

  • Jason

    Yes! He did NOTHING last time! I mean, all he did was create modern crop insurance! And balance the budget! And acquire funding for the North Platte VA Hospital! And create the Sarpy County Levee! And re-engine the RC-135 planes at Offutt! And build the Fremont water treatment plant! And create the campgrounds at Ponca State Park! And….


  • JanetfromwesternNE

    Well, James F, I would agree, it IS the economy,
    stupid! However, everything else you
    said was dead wrong. President Obama
    saved our economy from tanking after nearly a decade of GOP mismanagement! The economy is slowly starting to turn
    around with no thanks to our GOP-dominated obstructionist Congress (because
    even in the Senate–where they don’t have a majority–all they do is filabuster
    every pro-economy measure put forward).
    President Bush took us deep into deficit territory as did Reagan and
    every GOP administration since 1980 with their ill-conceived trickledown
    supply-side economic programs. Governor
    Romney would do more of the same as president, and actually, he would probably
    be worse than his predecessors because he is so totally in the pocket of the
    Koch brothers and his other fellow 1%ers.
    It makes me so sad to see Nebraska cling to today’s totally
    dysfunctional GOP. Actually, it is
    becoming embarrassing that the states of our central America region and a few
    other backwoodsy outlying states–Arizona, Utah, Montana, Idaho, Indiana–along
    with the out-of-step and truly backwards states in the deep South are the only
    states still solidly and mindlessly supporting the Republicans. The Republican party has long been the party
    of Wall Street and Big Business, but what it has become today is beyond the
    pale! The middle class will disappear
    for sure if we have Romney in the White House to offer even more big tax cuts
    to corporations and the uberwealthy while dumping most of the tax burden on
    those of us in the middle class. And
    Romney’s five-point tax plan will INCREASE rather than reduce the budget deficit! Back to my original point, Bob Kerrey is
    mature enough to work on both sides of the aisle to help straighten out our
    economy rather than putting party before country as the GOP has been doing!

  • Blow Me DemoBrat

    Get your facts straight dimwit… Obama had 2 years of a congress and senate controlled by the demobrats and did nothing but run up the national debt to almost twice of what it was when he went in… The Senate is still demobrat controlled, and in the last 3 years, they and Obama haven’t even offered a budget… Spend spend spend extremist… duh…

  • D. Mark

    Vote November 6 to make sure Ms. Fischer goes to Washington, Mr. Kerrey has been there and can’t remember him doing much for Nebraska!

  • sparky

    Fischers campaign just called me. I had not put much thought into the local stuff yet and the best argument they gave me against Kerry is he lived in New York. A quick google search revealed she’s just another anti-science, anti-choice, anti-equality bigot ideolog. Kerry balanced our budget, isn’t too nuts about gun control, supports women in the workplace, educational opportunities for those in poverty and is even a war hero. I’m supposed to be miffed he lived somewhere else for a while? What’s wrong with taking opportunities that likely gave him even more insite and wisdom for Nebraska?

  • DelawareBeachHouse

    OK, it’s a conservative blog, but SayAnything in N.D. just demolished the North Dakota poll by this fellow. For one thing, his tweeting reveals Leuchtman to be a partisan Democrat.


    Releasing internal polls by never-before-heard-of pollsters smacks of desperation — and worse, deception.

  • lincoln_b

    Budgets originate in the House, idiot. And there were about two months of a filibuster proof majority in the Senate. But what you intimate is correct, Reid should nuke the filibuster in 2013 so that he, Pelosi and Obama can get some serious business done.

  • Speaking Truth To Distortion

    Sounds like all those who forget how much Kerrey did for Nebraska when he was in office suffer from Romnesia.


    Noun:A partial or total loss of memory from Republicans on the success of Democrats and/or failures of Republicans.

  • ekaneti

    That was before he moved to NY and became chancellor of a Marxist university.

  • ekaneti

    Your fiscally responsible Obama ran up more debt in 4 years than Bush did in 8 and more than the first 42 presidents combined

  • ekaneti

    The senate can’t filibuster budgets moron.

  • ekaneti

    You’re the perfect liberal. Thanks. You think American conservatives are worse than Islamic radicals. You’re simply proving the point of so many on the right. The left is full of hate.

  • ekaneti

    Obama has run up more debt in 3 years than Bush did in 8. Obama has run up more dent than the first 42 presidents combined.

  • ekaneti

    Kerrey didn’t balance the budget He was in the MINORITY when the budget was balanced.

  • ekaneti

    Even the liberals wonderboy Nate Silver has Kerrey losing by8

  • The solution is simple….conduct a poll with current party registration percentages based upon 2012 levels (using likely voters). That should give a better result.