Poll shows Ben Nelson in reelection trouble

Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) trails in his 2012 race for reelection, a new poll found.

The poll shows 29 percent of Nebraska voters believe Nelson deserves a third term, and he trails two would-be Republican opponents.

Fifty-nine percent of Nebraska voters said it was time to give a new person a chance to represent the Cornhusker State in the Senate, making for a possibly difficult path to victory for Nelson in 2012.

Two state Republicans, Attorney General Jon Bruning and Treasurer-elect Don Stenberg, enjoy early leads over Nelson, according to a Magellan Research Group poll conducted last week.

If the 2012 election were held today, Bruning would best Nelson, 52-38 percent, with 10 percent undecided.

Stenberg enjoys a smaller margin over Nelson. Forty-six percent of Nebraska voters would elect Stenberg, while 40 percent would vote for Nelson.

The poll spells early trouble for Nelson, two years out from the end of his term. He's taken a relatively conservative path for a Democrat through the Senate over the past few years, having voted with Republicans on extending the Bush tax cuts permanently and having famously held out against creating a public healthcare plan at the height of the reform debate.

The poll, conducted Dec. 15, has a 2.32 percent margin of error.

Updated 1:06 p.m.

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