February 9, 2016

Battle of polls heats up with week left to decide Fischer-Kerrey race

It seems the United States Senate race has come down to a battle of the polls.

The Deb Fischer campaign released internal polling numbers this weekend, indicating that Fischer maintains a double-digit lead over Democrat Bob Kerrey. Fischer had declined to release numbers earlier. The public opinion poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican consulting firm, gave Fischer a 55% to 39% lead over Kerrey.

Pressure had been building on Fischer to release the poll after the Kerrey camp had released its internal polling, which indicated a much tighter race. A poll conducted by Hickman Analytics, a Democratic consulting firm, gave Fischer a narrow five-point lead, 50-45, over Kerrey. The Kerrey campaign then released a poll by Pharos Research Group that indicated an even tighter race: 48-46 in Fischer’s favor.

It became difficult to sort through the conflicting numbers in the partisan polling. Little independent polling has been conducted in the race, which many analysts concede to Fischer.

Now, the Omaha World-Herald has released a poll that indicates a very tight race going into the final week of the campaign prior to the November 6th general election.

The World-Herald poll of 800 registered voters gives Fisher only a three-point lead: 49-46.

Five weeks ago, a poll by the newspaper gave Fischer a comfortable 10-point lead.

The World-Herald commissioned Wiese Research Associates of Omaha to conduct the poll among likely voters between October 23rd and the 25th, the same dates that Public Opinion Strategies conducted its poll. The margin of error of the Wiese poll was 3.5%.

The newspaper reports the recent negative campaign Kerrey has launched, questioning Fischer’s actions in a land dispute with neighbors more than 15 years ago, has worked. The poll found the Fischer’s unfavorable rating has risen from 21% to 33% from the poll conducted a little more than a month ago. Kerrey’s unfavorable rating inched up a percent, from 38% in September to 39% in October.

The recent flurry of polling shakes up a race considered long-since settled by many.

The Washington Post ranks the Nebraska United States Senate race as the most likely to flip parties. Sen. Ben Nelson, a Democrat, holds the seat now. When he announced plans to retire from public office, Democrats turned to the man who held the seat previously as the party’s best chance to hold on to the seat, key to holding on to the majority in the Senate. Bob Kerrey served in the United States Senate after serving as Nebraska governor. Deb Fischer, a state senator from Valentine, emerged from a crowded field to claim the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate.

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