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.
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