A new survey in Nebraska confirmed that Democratic Sen. Ben Nelson has his work cut out for him in 2012.
The automated poll, conducted by Republican firm Magellan Data and Mapping Strategies, showed Attorney General Jon Bruning ahead of Nelson, 52 percent to 38 percent. Bruning has already announced his candidacy.
Nelson also trailed Treasurer-elect Don Stenberg by 6 points. Stenberg lost to Nelson by 2 points in their 2000 Senate race, and he announced days after being elected treasurer last month that he was considering another challenge to Nelson.
Another troubling finding for Nelson is that at least 80 percent of respondents said they had heard of both potential opponents, taking away any name identification advantage for the two-term Senator.
Nelson’s role in passing the health care overhaul in 2010 stands as perhaps his greatest hurdle to re-election. More than 60 percent of voters said they opposed both the measure and Nelson’s tactics to get additional federal funding for the state.
Magellan conducted the poll of 1,789 likely voters on Dec. 15, and it had a 2.3-point margin of error. The respondents were 54 percent Republican, 34 percent Democrat and 12 percent independent. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) won 57 percent of the 2008 presidential vote in Nebraska, while Barack Obama had 42 percent.
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Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.