- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Who says Mitt Romney hasn’t expanded the electoral playing field?

New polling out of Nebraska shows that President Obama is in danger of losing the one electoral vote he won in the state’s 2nd District four years ago, a victory he owed largely to the state’s unusual method of awarding Electoral College votes.

A survey by the Omaha World-Herald newspaper shows Mr. Obama neck and neck with Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney at 44 percent apiece in the 2nd District, which includes Omaha, the state’s largest city.

Nebraska and Maine are the only two states that award individual electoral votes, based on who won a particular district. All other states use a winner-take-all approach determined by the popular vote statewide.

In the state as a whole, however, Mr. Obama has a tough hill to climb. The World-Herald poll shows him trailing Mr. Romney by about 10 percentage points.

The numbers are equally daunting for the Democratic Party’s Senate nominee, Bob Kerrey.

A former Nebraska governor and two-term senator, Mr. Kerrey began with much higher name recognition than his Republican challenger, state legislator and tea party favorite Deb Fischer.

But the race hasn’t gone smoothly for Mr. Kerrey, consistently dogged by claims he is a carpetbagger who returned to Nebraska solely to run for public office after a decadelong stint as president of a liberal New York City university.

The polling shows Mr. Kerrey trailing Ms. Fischer by about 10 points among registered voters. Among likely voters, it gets worse, with Mr. Kerrey trailing by 16 points, the figures show.

The Kerrey campaign this week has tried to spin the polling in its favor, citing Fischer campaign surveys from June that purportedly showed her up by more than 20 points.

“The more Nebraskans learn about Deb Fischer, the less they like,” Kerrey campaign spokesman Chris Triebsch said in a statement.

The Fischer camp has countered by continuing to tie Mr. Kerrey to Mr. Obama, who remains unpopular in many rural areas of Nebraska and elsewhere.

Fischer spokesman Daniel Keylin this week jumped on recent comments from Mr. Kerrey in which he said he supports the president.

“If anyone wondered whether liberal Bob Kerrey left his comfy confines of New York City to be an automatic vote for the failed policies of President Obama, they now have their answer,” he said.

• Ben Wolfgang can be reached at bwolfgang@washingtontimes.com.

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