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Nebraska Senate - Sasse vs. Domina

Candidates

David Domina

David Domina (D)

Bio | Campaign Site

Ben Sasse

Ben Sasse (R)

Bio | Campaign Site

Nebraska Snapshot

RCP Average:
RCP Ranking: Safe GOP 
2014 Key Races:
Governor | NE-2

----------PAST KEY RACES----------

2012President | SenateNE-2
2010: Governor | NE-2
2008: President | Senate
2006: Governor
2004: President | NE-1 | NE-2 | NE-3

Polling Data

PollDateSampleMoEDomina (D)Sasse (R)Spread
Final Results------31.164.8Sasse +33.7
RCP Average5/14 - 10/23----32.055.0Sasse +23.0
CBS News/NYT/YouGov10/16 - 10/23681 LV5.03059Sasse +29
Rasmussen Reports5/14 - 5/15750 LV4.03451Sasse +17

All Nebraska Senate - Sasse vs. Domina Polling Data

Race Analysis

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 (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 such elections from 1958 through 1994.

This translated to surprising Democratic strength in Senate races. Indeed, from 1978 through 1996, Nebraska sent only Democrats to Washington. Edward Zorinsky was a Republican mayor of Omaha who switched parties solely to win the Democratic nomination. As a senator, he was a moderate-to-conservative Democrat, voting with Republicans on some significant issues. (He was courted by the GOP to rejoin the party in 1982, and hinted he might indeed switch back in 1986, but ultimately never did.) Jim Exon, Bob Kerrey, and Ben Nelson were former governors who cut heterodox profiles in Washington. All told, between 1976 and 2006, Democrats won nine of 11 Senate races in the Cornhusker State.

But just as the 1994 election seemingly marked the end of Democratic gubernatorial dominance, the 2012 election seems to have marked the end of the Democratic Senate dynasty. Democrats nominated former senator and governor Kerrey in the race to replace the retiring Nelson, while Republicans nominated a political outsider in Deb Fischer, a member of Nebraska’s unique unicameral legislature. It was the type of scenario that, in the past, had led to a competitive race. But Fischer won by over 16 points, giving Nebraska two Republican senators for the first time in almost 40 years.

Nebraska’s other senator, Mike Johanns, was up for re-election in 2014, but surprised most observers by retiring after a single term in the upper chamber. This cycle, almost all of the action was in the Republican primary, which pitted state Treasurer Shane Osborn against Midland University President and Tea Party favorite Ben Sasse, as well as businessman Sid Dinsdale. Sasse won the nomination with a near-majority of the vote. He will face off this fall against attorney and 1986 gubernatorial candidate David Domina.

Polling Data

PollDateSampleMoEDomina (D)Sasse (R)Spread
Final Results------31.164.8Sasse +33.7
RCP Average5/14 - 10/23----32.055.0Sasse +23.0
CBS News/NYT/YouGov10/16 - 10/23681 LV5.03059Sasse +29
CBS News/NYT/YouGov9/20 - 10/1721 LV4.03158Sasse +27
CBS News/NYT/YouGov8/18 - 9/2987 LV4.03056Sasse +26
CBS News/NYT/YouGov7/5 - 7/24LV4.43558Sasse +23
Rasmussen Reports5/14 - 5/15750 LV4.03451Sasse +17
Rasmussen Reports4/7 - 4/8750 LV4.02752Sasse +25