Who has the upper hand in the race for Nebraska's open U.S. Senate seat?
Two recent polls show a sizable double-digit lead for Republican Deb Fischer over Democrat Bob Kerrey in the battle for the seat of retiring Senator Ben Nelson. Kerrey, a former U.S. Senator, hopes to earn back his former position and keep the seat in Democratic control, while Republicans view the race as one that could tip the balance of the entire Senate back in their favor.
Despite Kerrey's greater name recognition, he is not the favorite. As Alexander Burns of Politico reported last week, polling by a Democratic group found that Kerrey trails Fischer by a margin of 14 points (52 percent to 38 percent) and has negative favorability ratings. An earlier poll by the Fischer campaign called it a 25% margin.
On social media, neither of the candidates — Republican Deb Fischer or Democrat Bob Kerrey — has done much to stand out.
Fischer gained her largest boost in terms of social media activity during the week when she locked up the GOP nomination. Sarah Palin tweeted an endorsement of Fischer on May 14 and posted a congratulatory tweet on May 16, leading to big gains in social mentions, Twitter followers and Facebook fans.
Fischer lagged well behind her fellow 2012 Senate Candidates in amassing Facebook fans until Sarah Palin's endorsement and her own primary victory, which brought her in line with the median Facebook following. But just as quickly she fell behind again, failing to match the growth of other candidates.
In many other ways, the Kerrey-Fischer race is unremarkable. Neither candidate is enjoying a significant advantage in terms of news coverage. With a few exceptions, the candidates are receiving around 25 news mentions a week and fewer than 100 retweets.
This week, immigration has been the main social media topic, with the candidates dueling via Twitter:
Our immigration policies are deeply flawed. We need to secure our border & encourage legal immigration. http://tinyurl.com/87oambc #NESen
Kerrey backs Romney's citizenship plan; Fischer doesn't - http://Omaha.com: http://bit.ly/NwW2G9 #nesen
There are 134 days until the election. Follow the hashtag #NESen for developments in the Nebraska U.S. Senate race.