The survey taken by the Braynard Group shows 71 percent job approval for Nelson, compared with 59 percent for his Republican colleague, Sen. Chuck Hagel. President Bush's rating is 64 percent, one of his highest in the country. Nelson previously had been considered one of the most vulnerable Democratic incumbents.
Nelson had $2.6 million in campaign cash on hand at the end of September. That's eight times as much as his Republican challenger, Ameritrade heir Pete Ricketts, and probably enough to buy most of the state's air time for the full '06 campaign.
REDS AT NEA
The District of Columbia cell of the Communist Party USA has been revealed as holding a monthly luncheon in the cafeteria of the National Education Association (NEA), without the sponsorship but not with the disapproval of the huge, politically powerful schoolteachers union.
The Communist meetings were reported by Chris Peterson in the Washington City Paper edition of Nov. 11-17. A lawyer attending the September meeting bolted from the cafeteria when he learned a reporter was present.
"We had no knowledge of this," NEA spokeswoman Denise Cardinal told this column, "because the NEA does not screen the patrons of our cafeteria or listen in on conversations. It's open to the public."