The good news for Senator Ben Nelson is that he doesn’t have to face Nebraska voters until 2012.
If Governor Dave Heineman challenges Nelson for the Senate job, a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows the Republican would get 61% of the vote while Nelson would get just 30%. Nelson was reelected to a second Senate term in 2006 with 64% of the vote.
Nelson’s health care vote is clearly dragging his numbers down. Just 17% of Nebraska voters approve of the deal their senator made on Medicaid in exchange for his vote in support of the plan. Overall, 64% oppose the health care legislation, including 53% who are Strongly Opposed. In Nebraska, opposition is even stronger than it is nationally.
Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters in the state believe that passage of the legislation will hurt the quality of care, and 62% say it will raise costs.
The House and Senate have passed different versions of the health care legislation and now will try to agree on a plan to pass early in 2010. Because every Democratic vote is required to pass the legislation in the Senate, Nelson’s vote is essential. If Nelson votes to block final passage of the health care plan, he would still trail Heineman but would be in a much more competitive situation.