EDITOR'S NOTE: The story below includes references to polling conducted by the firm Research 2000. The reliability and accuracy of Research 2000's polling has since been called into serious question by a report published in June 2010 by a group of statistical analysts.
If Ben Nelson decides to filibuster a Democratic health care bill that includes a public insurance option, he should expect to lose support among Nebraska Democrats. According to a new poll, 46 percent of the Nebraska Democrats interviewed would be less likely to support Nelson in a primary. Only seven percent would be more likely to cast a vote for the Nebraska Democratic Senator.
By a 53 to 31 majority, all Nebraska voters think that Nelson's judgment on the issue could be clouded by the $2 million in campaign contributions he received from health care and insurance interests.
The poll was conducted by Research 2000 for the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America, which have been dogging Nelson in Nebraska, from Oct. 29th through Oct. 30th. It sampled 503 likely voters by telephone. The margin of error is 4.5 percent; for Democrat-only questions, it was five percent.
The survey, which was first reported Monday night by Rachel Maddow, also found that Nebraska voters want the public option 46 to 44 percent.
Nebraskans, who live with a heavy insurance industry concentration in their state, have little faith in the sector to put people's health first. The poll found that 69 percent think that insurance companies put their own profits above the health of patients. Just 19 percent say that insurers put patient health first.
Read the survey here.
A spokesman for Nelson declined to comment.