|Poll||Date||Sample||Fischer (R)||Kerrey (D)||Spread|
|Final Results||--||--||57.8||42.2||Fischer +15.6|
|WeAskAmerica||11/1 - 11/1||1178 LV||54||41||Fischer +13|
|Omaha World-Herald||10/23 - 10/25||679 LV||49||46||Fischer +3|
|Omaha World-Herald||9/17 - 9/20||656 LV||56||40||Fischer +16|
|Rasmussen Reports||5/16 - 5/16||500 LV||56||38||Fischer +18|
|PPP (D)||3/22 - 3/25||1028 RV||48||38||Fischer +10|
|Rasmussen Reports||3/5 - 3/5||500 LV||46||34||Fischer +12|
10/30/2012 -- The recent Omaha World-Herald poll showing Fischer up by only three points raised a lot of eyebrows. Fischer quickly released a poll showing her with a large lead, and it still seems unlikely that there will be enough Romney/Kerrey voters to send another Democrat to the Senate. The safe bet is that Nebraska will get its first all-Republican Senate delegation since the 1970s.
Nebraska's Republican roots run deep. It was one of a handful of states that voted against Franklin Roosevelt twice, and from 1940-2008 it voted for a Democratic presidential candidate only once, when it gave LBJ 52 percent of the vote in 1964. But Democrats have had more luck at the gubernatorial level: Republicans won only three of 12 gubernatorial elections from 1958 through 1994. The typical Democratic formula was to have a Republican incumbent raise taxes, allowing a conservative Democrat to sneak through.
The state's senior senator, Ben Nelson, is in this tradition. As a pro-life Democratic governor he lowered taxes, cut spending, and reformed the state's workers' compensation system. In 1996 he was considered a shoo-in for the Senate seat being vacated by Jim Exon but ended up losing badly to Republican Chuck Hagel, who won with a last-minute surge. Four years later he narrowly won the seat being vacated by Bob Kerrey; in 2006 he handily defeated his Republican opponent.
But as the 60th vote in the Democratic Senate for much of 2009 and 2010, Nelson was forced to vote the party line on a wide variety of issues. Most importantly, he cast the deciding vote for the president's health care bill. His popularity in his home state suffered, and Nelson opted to retire this cycle.
The surprise Republican nominee is state Sen. Deb Fischer, who upset two better-known Republicans in the primary. Democrats coaxed former Sen. Kerrey back into the race, but his absence from the state (he lived in New York City for the past decade) seems to have hurt him, and so far his polls have lagged badly.