By Deena Winter | Nebraska Watchdog
LINCOLN, Neb. – A new poll mirrors other recent polls that show political newcomer Ben Sasse surging past one-time favorite Shane Osborn in the U.S. Senate GOP primary race and building a double-digit lead in the run-up to Tuesday’s election.
THE WIRE: The four Republican candidates for the U.S. Senate in Nebraska hold their final debate before Tuesday’s primary election. They are (from left to right) Bart McLeay, Shane Osborn, Sid Dinsdale and Ben Sasse.
The automated phone survey of 525 likely Republican primary voters by Magellan Strategies was conducted Thursday, with margin of error rate of about 4 percent.
The poll found:
• Midland University President Ben Sasse with 38 percent
• Pinnacle Bancorp President Sid Dinsdale with 24 percent
• Former State Treasurer and investment advisor Shane Osborn with 20 percent
• Omaha attorney Bart McLeay 6 percent
• Clifton Johnson with 2 percent
• Some other candidate 3 percent
• Undecided 7 percent
Osborn began the race as the clear frontrunner, commanding 39 percent of voters’ support in an October poll, overshadowing Sasse and Dinsdale with 7 percent. He had much more name recognition after his term as treasurer and brief international fame after landing his crippled spy plane in China and being held hostage, along with his crew, in 2001.
But since then, questions have been raised about his decision to land that spy plane rather than ditching it in the ocean and emails that indicated his staff was doing political work on taxpayers’ dime.
With outside groups pouring an estimated $3 million into supporting and opposing candidates and beating up Osborn and Sasse, Dinsdale has surged into second place, according to multiple polls. It’s not clear who paid for the Magellan poll, but it was posted by the Legacy Foundation Action Fund, which supports Sasse.
The winner of Tuesday’s primary takes on Democrat David Domina in November.
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