In a poll just released this morning, Republican U.S. Senate contender Ken Buck polls even given a 3.1% margin of error with likely Democrat primary winner, appointed Colorado Senator Michael Bennet. The poll, conducted by Public Policy Polling, shows Bennet leads Jane Norton 46-40 and Ken Buck 46-43. Romanoff leads Buck 43-42, but trails Norton 43-42.
Colorado’s aberrational voting habits are displayed in what was for me, a stunning 10-11 percent of registered Republican voters crossing over to vote for Bennet. I assume most of these are Republicans who work for the government, and have gone unscathed by the recession.
The poll is chock full of all sorts of interesting tidbits:
Only the Illinois Senate race can match the Colorado one for the unpopularity of all its combatants. Bennet’s approval rating is a 32/48 approval spread. Usually you don’t get reelected with those kinds of numbers but Norton’s favorability split is a net -16 at 28/44 and Buck’s is even worse at -20 (26/46). Romanoff has the best numbers at -2 (35/37) but that may not mean much if Bennet does indeed survive the primary as our poll yesterday suggested he probably would.
Bennet leads Buck and Norton because he’s counteracting two major national trends confounding Democrats elsewhere. He’s getting more crossover support than either of the Republicans, winning 11% of the GOP vote to Norton’s 6% of Democrats, and 10% of the GOP vote to Buck’s 6% of Democrats. He’s also doing decently with independents, leading Norton 43-36 and trailing Buck only 40-39. We find most Democrats across the country trailing by double digits with indy voters.
Romanoff actually polls better than Bennet with independents, leading Norton by 9 and Buck by 7 with them. But he does worse than Bennet overall because Democratic voters are less unified around him. He gets 73% of the vote from his party against Norton, compared to 83% for Bennet, and 77% against Buck compared to 84% for Bennet.
Whatever the final match up ends up being this race will be close but Democratic prospects are looking better than they did around the start of the year and given Barack Obama’s upside down standing at 44/50 in the state this isn’t a bad place for their candidates to start the general election.
Conservatives can only hope that this Democrat popularity trend claimed by the poll is incorrect – particularly in light of the recent revelations about Bennet’s failed, exotic Wall Street Denver Public Schools debt financing deal that made the front page of the New York Times (but was downplayed in the Denver Post). Regardless, a good victory speech could easily boost GOP prosepects – something unlikely to come out of the mouth of the patrician Bennet.