PPP: Kerrey makes things worse in Nebraska for Democrats

posted at 1:20 pm on March 28, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

This isn’t how the playbook predicted the Senate race in Nebraska.  After incumbent Democrat Ben Nelson decided to retire rather than face the wrath of Nebraska voters over his support for ObamaCare, Democrats looked to former Senator Bob Kerrey, a genuine war hero and at one time a popular figure in the state, to rescue the seat from certain Republican victory.  After first demurring, Democrats successfully convinced Kerrey to return from New York City and challenge the predicted Republican candidate, Jon Bruning, supposedly improving their chances of defending the open seat.

Surprise!

PPP’s newest Nebraska Senate poll finds that Democrats are in a much worse position with Bob Kerrey as their candidate than they would have been with Ben Nelson, and that Jon Bruning is now a strong favorite in both the primary and general elections.

Kerrey’s campaign rollout has not been a success. In October his favorability rating in the state was a +5 spread at 39/34. Since then it’s dropped 20 points on the margin to -15 at 36/51. Kerrey’s stayed steady with Democrats but has seen large drops with independents (from 47/24 to 36/38) and with Republicans (from 23/47 to 16/74).

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.

Why did Democrats seek out Kerrey?  They thought he could win independents and get some Republican crossover.  As PPP found, they apparently don’t know Nebraska voters very well:

There are two things a Democrat has to be able to do to win in Nebraska: peel off a lot of Republican votes and win independents by a wide margin. Zeroing in on the match up with Bruning, Kerrey is doing neither of those things. He’s actually losing 18% of the Democratic vote to Bruning, more than the 12% of the Republican vote that he’s winning over. And he trails 44-42 with independents as well.

Just how bad is it?  Kerrey is the only one in the race with a majority rating on favorability of any kind — and it’s 51% unfavorable, with only 14% unsure.  Bruning has a 39/35 rating with 26% unsure.  That could be because Bruning hit Kerrey with a pretty tough ad as soon as Kerrey jumped into the race, or it might be from Kerrey’s own words on ObamaCare.  Kerrey told a Greenwich Village audience in 2009 that he keeps going farther left on health care the longer he studies it, hardly a recipe for attracting voters in a state angry over Nelson’s betrayal on ObamaCare.  The fact that Kerrey spent the last decade living in New York City might have something to do with their estimation of him as a candidate, too.

Democrats were probably not going to hold this seat after Nelson’s betrayal anyway.  However, it looks like they managed to do the improbable and actually make things worse.


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Maybe because he looks like the freaking crypt keeper.

UltimateBob on March 28, 2012 at 1:22 PM

hE’S NOT AGING WELL EITHER!

KOOLAID2 on March 28, 2012 at 1:22 PM

I’m sure another contributing factor was that Kerrey’s name recognition should have meant he could fundraise on his own without the national party having to prop him up.

Looks like that won’t be the case, as a known loser shouldn’t be able to raise more funds than an unknown of any type.

teke184 on March 28, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Because – as usual – they think the problem is the messenger and not the message. They thought that Kerrey was a freindly face that Nebraskans would take to. The problem they had with Nelso was not that he isn’t likeable (and he’s not, by the way) – it’s that his message sucked.

CycloneCDB on March 28, 2012 at 1:25 PM

Please stop posting that picture. Scared the crap out of me.

Bruning has a 39/35 rating with 26% unsure.

Seems really low. What’s the skinny on this Bruning?

Lost in Jersey on March 28, 2012 at 1:25 PM

I’m sure another contributing factor was that Kerrey’s name recognition should have meant he could fundraise on his own without the national party having to prop him up.

Looks like that won’t be the case, as a known loser shouldn’t be able to raise more funds than an unknown of any type.

teke184 on March 28, 2012

True, and I also suspect that Harry Reid promised to raise a lot of money for Kerrey to lure hime into the race. Hopefully Kerrey won’t let them out of this promise and it’ll waste resources that could be used elsewhere.

BuzzCrutcher on March 28, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Aww. Sha t’ bebe.

If my uncle were still alive he’d probably put more nail some more catfish heads to the back of his shed if Kerrey were his neighbor.

My great uncle – who lived in Nebraska – was a pretty good fisherman and had some sort of thing with a neighbor. I can only guess it wasn’t a good “thing”. The back of his shed for years was covered in catfish heads in varying degrees of decomposition and it stunk to be sure. The back of the shed faced a neighbor’s home. There was no other way but for the neighbors to see that shed and those catfish every, stinking day.

Logus on March 28, 2012 at 1:27 PM

I’ve seen prettier faces when clearing a crypt in Skyrim.

Archivarix on March 28, 2012 at 1:27 PM

hE’S NOT AGING WELL EITHER!

KOOLAID2 on March 28, 2012 at 1:22 PM

What are you talking about? He hasn’t aged a day since he appeared on the original Star Trek series 45 years ago:

http://www.kellyfowler.com/blog/uploaded_images/cage-talosian-718794.jpg

Doughboy on March 28, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Tell me again why Tony Randall decided to run for Senator of Nebraska?

dirtseller on March 28, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Perhaps people are just tired of seeing politicians that look like they have light bulbs for heads. Not the curly kind of light bulb either.

The inside joke here is that it may look like there’s more room for brains in those light bulb heads, but the stupid things that come out of their mouths say otherwise.

Wolfmoon on March 28, 2012 at 1:29 PM

It is a shame to see a man of Sen Jerry’s achievement used as a dupe for the chronically failing progressive cabal. Bob, they used the old guy from New Jersey, who still looks like a stuge. Keep the dignatiy you have earned. As one who hold our county’s highest award for courage, bravery, intrepidity, what about Obama do you find admirable? Life is too short.

StevC on March 28, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Saw this over at kos this morning. Even the 4th place repub beats him by big numbers. Commenters are begging for Nelson to stay in now.

Yes, I took a shower before coming back over here.

DanMan on March 28, 2012 at 1:29 PM

StevC on March 28, 2012 at 1:29 PM

Google up Bob Kerrey Viet Nam war atrocities. Then go look up the time interval between his sudden retirement from politics and when that information was publicized.

a capella on March 28, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Saw this over at kos this morning. Even the 4th place repub beats him by big numbers. Commenters are begging for Nelson to stay in now.

Yes, I took a shower before coming back over here.

DanMan on March 28, 2012 at 1:29 PM

You have a stronger constitution than I do. No way I could hang out in a wacko lefty site.

Bitter Clinger on March 28, 2012 at 1:36 PM

How many other Democrat incumbent, Senate-seats are in genuine jeopardy?

listens2glenn on March 28, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Is he a zombie?

lorien1973 on March 28, 2012 at 1:37 PM

Don Stenberg will win this, regardless of the Democrat that they throw at him.

beatcanvas on March 28, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Something about that Caesar ‘do does not inspire.

Go RBNY on March 28, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Is he a zombie?

lorien1973 on March 28, 2012 at 1:37 PM

In Nebraska, I bet he makes a good scarecrow.

Bitter Clinger on March 28, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Seems really low. What’s the skinny on this Bruning?

Lost in Jersey on March 28, 2012 at 1:25 PM

I’m not in love with either he or Don Stenberg, his GOP competitor, but, they are what we have to work with and both are light years better than either Nelson or the carpetbagger. Our GOP governor is very well liked and was contemplating a run, but, Nelson pre-empted him by not saying he was out till the filing times were past.

a capella on March 28, 2012 at 1:43 PM

Another name for the 2012 election: 2010 wipeout part deux

Turtle317 on March 28, 2012 at 1:43 PM

Bad news all over the place for dems. Good times if you’re a shrink. There’s going to be a lot of emotional wrecks out there. Karma, she is a byatch.

msupertas on March 28, 2012 at 1:46 PM

Google up Bob Kerrey Viet Nam war atrocities. Then go look up the time interval between his sudden retirement from politics and when that information was publicized.

a capella on March 28, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Yep.

This is why Bob Kerrey got out of politics.

He went to the New School because of what he did in Vietnam.

tetriskid on March 28, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Being a Nebraskan, every time Kerrey’s name has come up in recent conversations I only hear derision. People are particularly miffed at Kerrey spending the last decade plus out-of-state, and then all of a sudden expecting to be welcomed back with open arms like some kind of prodigal son. Nebraskans see it as entitlement on Kerrey’ part–he’s entitled to our support and that seat because of his prior service to the state. We just don’t take to that kind of attitude (“Oh, NOW it’s convenient for me to be a Nebraskan!) well.

Give Nebraskans some credit–even some of our Dems–we see right through it.

KellyBomelly on March 28, 2012 at 1:48 PM

No way I could hang out in a wacko lefty site.

Bitter Clinger on March 28, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Its only fair.

Libiotfree, libtart4 and the rest of them come here for sanity.

cozmo on March 28, 2012 at 1:50 PM

The people of Nebraska are pretty intuitive and fairly concerned about not only local issues, but how their great state is perceived by the nation at-large.

They took a beating for the deciding vote Nelson made on Obamacare and some of the other disasters this President has produced. Nebraskans are also acutely aware of the tenuous situation in the Senate and don’t like being perceived as a guaranteed vote for anyone- especially this administration.

Kerrey is more of the same old song. I don’t know how anyone could have underestimated the people of Nebraska that badly by foisting him up as a candidate.

Marcus Traianus on March 28, 2012 at 1:52 PM

They could have actually asked some Nebraskans what our opinion of Kerrey is now as compared to when he was Governor and then Senator but whatever. I can’t even describe how loudly I laughed when I read this post.

KateNE on March 28, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Its only fair.

Libiotfree, libtart4 and the rest of them come here for sanity.

cozmo on March 28, 2012 at 1:50 PM

Well, it’s not working.

Bitter Clinger on March 28, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Being a Nebraskan, every time Kerrey’s name has come up in recent conversations I only hear derision.

KellyBomelly on March 28, 2012 at 1:48 PM

Well good! Y’all are equal opportunity bashers.

Every time I go to visit the homestead folks in those parts say:

“Here comes that danged Texan”. Though they use a somewhat more harsh term than danged.

cozmo on March 28, 2012 at 1:54 PM

tetriskid on March 28, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_Kerrey
You left out the part about him accepting responsibility for what happened… oh and the other part about his MOH for a separate event.

Bradky on March 28, 2012 at 1:55 PM

Well, it’s not working.

Bitter Clinger on March 28, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Oh, they don’t come here get some, just to experience it.

To them, sanity is over rated.

cozmo on March 28, 2012 at 1:56 PM

That picture reminds me of that “Heaven’s Gate” weirdo Marshall Applewhite. But then, so does Ron Paul.

crosspatch on March 28, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Bitter Clinger on March 28, 2012 at 1:36 PM

I don’t hang out. It’s more like a run through an idiot gauntlet to get to the orange block at the bottom. Every now and then markos hisself posts. That is comedy gold similar to Olby and Tingles together on election night with a lot of cussing thrown in to signify outrage.

DanMan on March 28, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Who cares about Kerrey? The man is a sell out to liberals.This state has already been lost to the Teapublicans.

Uppereastside on March 28, 2012 at 2:05 PM

Dude reminds me of the evil Tolian Soran (Malcolm McDowell) in Star Trek: Generations.

FireBlogger on March 28, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Bruning let the class one schools fall by the wayside (country schools) even after the legislature had their bill overturned. He’s still better than Stenberg though. Stenberg is a tool. Fischer’s ok, but really wishy washy in the legislature, a true “make everybody happy” politician. As for Brother Bob, GO HOME!

serenity on March 28, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Saw this over at kos this morning. Even the 4th place repub beats him by big numbers. Commenters are begging for Nelson to stay in now.

Yes, I took a shower before coming back over here.

DanMan on March 28, 2012 at 1:29 PM

when I go to DU I find a decon suit works really well ….
that way you don’t have to scrub the first 2 layers of skin off …

conservative tarheel on March 28, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Democrats live in a utopian bubble of unreality, where the only enemies and/or problems facing this country, are that Republicans reside in it.

NoDonkey on March 28, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Google up Bob Kerrey Viet Nam war atrocities. Then go look up the time interval between his sudden retirement from politics and when that information was publicized.

a capella on March 28, 2012 at 1:35 PM

Yep.

This is why Bob Kerrey got out of politics.

He went to the New School because of what he did in Vietnam.

tetriskid on March 28, 2012 at 1:47 PM

You’re both right.
His aging tells a story of a man with a troubled conscience.
No CMoH is worth the head f_____g he’s taking.

nimrod on March 28, 2012 at 2:38 PM

The Democrats were kind enough to import a New York liberal and they don’t like him, what’s wrong with those Nebraska rubes?
/Sarcasm Off

RJL on March 28, 2012 at 2:58 PM

NYC? get a rope…

burserker on March 28, 2012 at 3:03 PM

How the heck are 12 percent of GOPers here supporting Disco Bob? I hope those are the recent transplants. Geez.

NebCon on March 28, 2012 at 3:04 PM

Nelson got the Cornhusker Kickback and it looks like Nebraskans are ready to give Kerrey the Cornhusker Kickout. Looks like he should be practicing a variant of the theme song from Green Acres:

“New York is where I’d rather stay, I get allergic smelling hay. I just adore a penthouse view, Nebraska you hate me so back to Park Avenue.”

NeoDawg on March 28, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Is he a “genuine war hero”? Wasn’t there a scandalous revelation about his tenure in Nam on 60 minutes years ago–concerning a civilian massacre?

writeblock on March 28, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Did James Carville say the Dems would control for 40 years–or was it months? The greatest implosion EVAH by a political party!

hillsoftx on March 28, 2012 at 3:26 PM

However, it looks like they managed to do the improbable and actually make things worse.

I think I’m starting to see a pattern emerging here.

Nom de Boom on March 28, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Something about a carpetbagger that offends us folk in flyover country.

coldwarrior on March 28, 2012 at 3:29 PM

Wasn’t there a scandalous revelation about his tenure in Nam on 60 minutes years ago–concerning a civilian massacre?

writeblock on March 28, 2012 at 3:12 PM

Well, yes and it is well documented.

There was a lot of that going around back then though, he was hardly alone…

CorporatePiggy on March 28, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Maybe because he looks like the freaking crypt keeper.

UltimateBob on March 28, 2012 at 1:22 PM

“…MY PRECIOUS…..”

Kuffar on March 28, 2012 at 3:43 PM

But Kerrey has some serious idealogical chops! He was president of The New School, liberal (very) arts college in NY. It’s a bubbling cauldron of extreme leftism, the Dems should love that guy!

Oh, wait, did you say Nebraska? Never mind.

iurockhead on March 28, 2012 at 3:45 PM

Mouth breather.

Buttercup on March 28, 2012 at 3:52 PM

I–and just about any other sane Nebraskan–could have saved PPP the cost of the poll and told them that running Bob Kerrey for office here was nothing but a bad joke. We have long since awakened to the fact that Kerrey, like the rest of the D-rats, has long since crossed the line between populism and communism.

Benedict Nelson on March 28, 2012 at 4:00 PM

That picture! Hey, isn’t he on 100% government backed health care?
Definitely a Poster Child for SCOTUS this week.

mediamime on March 28, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Having experienced two try’s by the leftists in Minnesota to grab elections by canonizing a supposedly beloved dead Senator Wellstoned and replacing him with a supposedly beloved patriarch of Minnesota democrat elites, Jimmah’s VP Walter Mondull. One would think the Dems would learn once in a while.
Bringing in someone from the past who’s time has passed too, would not be an ideal candidate. Then again their bench is pretty thin. The Dems ran all their “conservative” members out of the party and all they got left are the extreme left wingers who govern against the will of the people.
Just ask Cornhusker Kicked in the Backside Ben how that worked out for him.

chickasaw42 on March 28, 2012 at 5:14 PM

I perceive that Nebraska isn’t a terribly ideological state for Republicans, and these polls only confirm that. 17% of GOP voters still would vote for this hilarious, cartoonish liberal nitwit?

Wow.

Jaibones on March 28, 2012 at 6:25 PM

I’m not familiar with Kerrey’s war record, but I did a quick search on the internet and found this: Bob Kerrey’s Vietnam War. I don’t know what’s going on, but there are other soldiers who dispute Kerrey’s version of a Vietnam massacre.

Gladtobehere on March 28, 2012 at 6:29 PM

Hm, I have just viewed the dueling guitar/banjo scene from Deliverance. Kerry bears a remarkable resemblance to the autistic kid on the banjo, doesn’t he?

{^_^}

herself on March 29, 2012 at 2:23 AM

Maybe because he looks like the freaking crypt keeper.

UltimateBob

Ha. Excellent. |||shudder|||

Note how one must always qualify a Democrat war hero as “genuine”. Huh. Wonder why.

And Kerrey having been president of The New School might thrill the Continuing Ed-addicted, appletini-quaffing, loft-dwellers in The Bowery but we bet he likely doesn’t much crow about that in Cornhusker country.

This episode of reverse carpetbaggery is another example of people who might be super-smart at Manhattan cocktail parties (a low bar) proving otherwise when they step out into the world.

curved space on March 29, 2012 at 6:34 AM

Hope these personal attacks end. It takes eyewitnesses as well as a personal recommendation to receive the Medal of Honor. It isn’t won, combat isn’t a game show. It is rewarded and recipient has to accept it. Most of America wasn’t at that action that Kerrey was involved with, and unlike John Kerry(who served in Vietnam)he didn’t apply for any of his awards.

mike0993 on March 29, 2012 at 8:07 AM