Click here to view The World-Herald's 2012 Election Guide.
National Democrats are riding in to help Douglas County Treasurer John Ewing after The World-Herald Poll showed that the gap had narrowed by half between him and incumbent Republican Rep. Lee Terry in Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District.
“John is surging at the right time,” Ewing campaign manager Rebekah Caruthers said Monday. “This shows that the voters are starting to tune into the ... race and that when voters compare John versus Lee Terry, the choice is very clear. They choose John.”
Terry campaign manager David Boomer downplayed both the poll results and the impact of the House Majority PAC's decision to buy $30,000 in Omaha television ads.
Boomer noted that a 2010 World-Herald Poll showed Democrat Tom White pulling close to Terry, but the incumbent ended up winning in a blowout.
“The issues are on our side,” Boomer said. “Voters are telling Lee Terry they want spending cut, they know he has been voting to do that, and they also know that John Ewing has taken positions that would add trillions to the debt.”
The House Majority PAC ad, set to air today through Friday, goes after Terry for “misleading tactics,” “unseemly behavior” and “little leadership” during his seven terms in Congress, while touting Ewing as a leader who can “work across divides.”
Last week's survey of 400 registered voters in the district showed that Ewing trailed Terry by only 6 points. Among likely voters, Terry's lead was just 4 points, 47 percent to 43 percent. That would be within the survey's margin of error.
Those numbers represent a marked improvement for Ewing when compared with World-Herald polling Sept. 17 through 20. In that survey, Terry led Ewing by 13 percentage points.
Ewing was on a tour of area diners, barbershops and churches Monday, Caruthers said.
He still has some work to do getting his message out to voters, according to the poll results. More than half — 53 percent — had either a neutral opinion or no opinion of him.
An open question is whether Ewing's surge comes too late. Only a week remains until Election Day. Tens of thousands of voters in Douglas and Sarpy Counties have already turned in early ballots.
Boomer cited data from a consultant who has worked with the campaign that show Republicans doing slightly better than Democrats in requesting and returning early ballots — a shift from 2008.
The 2nd is Nebraska's only swing district, which is why Terry attracts so much attention from Democrats, cycle after cycle.
The latest poll was conducted Oct. 23 through Oct. 25 by Wiese Research Associates. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org 202-630-4823, twitter.com/MortonOWH