Poll: Ben Nelson’s Abortion Funding Compromise Costs Him With Nebraska Voters
by Steven Ertelt
December 28, 2009
Lincoln, NE (LifeNews.com) — Until his recent sellout on abortion funding, Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson was a darling of the pro-life movement as the lone consistent pro-life Democrat in the Senate. Now, a new poll shows him losing massive support and he would lose by a lopsided margin in his 2012 bid for re-election.
A new Rasmussen Reports survey shows Nelson struggling after becoming the 60th and deciding vote for the Senate’s pro-abortion health care bill.
Should pro-life Republican Governor Dave Heineman challenge Nelson for his Senate seat, a new Rasmussen Reports telephone survey shows he 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 so a poll having him with less than half of that mark reveals serious consequences for his decision to work with Senate Leader Harry Reid to allow abortion funding under the bill.
Rasmussen says "Nelsons health care vote is clearly dragging his numbers down."
Just 17% of Nebraska voters approve of the deal Nelson made to support taxpayer-funded abortions and vote for the bill in exchange for kickbacks for Nebraska.
Overall, 64% of Nebraska residents oppose the congressional health care legislation, including 53% who are strongly opposed to the pro-abortion bill.
The Rasmussen survey also found 40% of Nebraska voters have a favorable opinion of Nelson while 55% have an unfavorable view. Those figures include 12% with a very favorable opinion while 34% hold a very unfavorable view.
The survey indicates Nelson could change his standing in the state if he votes against the pro-abortion health care bill after a conference committee merges the House and Senate versions into a final measure.
"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," Rasmussen indicates.
When survey respondents were asked how they would vote if Nelson blocks health care reform, 47% still pick Heinemann while 37% would vote to keep Nelson in office. Twenty percent of those who initially said they’d vote for Heineman say they’d switch to supporting Nelson. Another six percent of Heineman backers are unsure.
Meanwhile, 65 percent of Nebraska voters say that coverage of abortion should be prohibited in any plan that receives government subsidies. Just 6 percent want coverage mandated, while 22% want no requirements either way.
After the vote, Nelson faced an enormous backlash with thousands of pro-life advocates turning out at a rally in Omaha.
Then, Nelson struck back and, in comments both on and off the Senate floor, he lashed out at pro-life advocates and is defending his much-maligned compromise.
He said when his legitimate amendment to ban abortions failed, he compromised.
"I began the process of trying to find other solutions that I thought equally walled off the use of federal funds and made it clear that no federal funds would be used," he claimed.
However, as the head of Nebraska Right to Life informed LifeNews.com, Nelson ditched pro-life advocates by refusing to allow them to provide analysis on the language — which ultimately was found by every pro-life group to fund abortions.
"Now, apparently I didn’t say, ‘Mother, may I?’ in the process of writing that language because others took issue with it, even though they cannot constructively point out how it doesn’t prohibit the use of federal funds or wall off those funds or keep them totally segregated. They just didn’t like the language," he said.
"You know, it’s unfortunate, though, to continue to distort and misrepresent what happens here in the body of the Senate. It’s difficult enough to have committees, difficult enough to have cooperation. It’s difficult enough to have collegiality. When politics are put above policy and productivity, this is what we get," he continued.
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