Good news, bad news: Colorado races turning into toss-ups
posted at 6:00 pm on October 17, 2010 by Ed Morrissey
Rasmussen brings good news and bad news to both parties this weekend as Colorado appears to be living up to its reputation as a purple state. First, the good news for Democrats comes in the Senate race, where incumbent Michael Bennet has rallied in the past few weeks. The latest survey shows Bennet only trailing by two points, and Rasmussen has moved the race from Leans Republican to Toss-up:
Incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet and his Republican challenger Ken Buck are in a virtual tie in Colorado’s U.S. Senate race as the candidates prepare for a nationally televised debate on Sunday.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Colorado shows Buck with 47% support to Bennet’s 45%. Four percent (4%) prefer another candidate in the race, and another four percent (4%) are still undecided. …
Less than two weeks ago, Buck, a county prosecutor, held a 50% to 45% lead over Bennet, who was named to the Senate last year when Ken Salazar joined President Obama’s Cabinet. In surveys since March, Buck has earned 44% to 51% support, while backing for Bennet has ranged from 38% to 45%.
This move falls within the margin of error of the last poll, and the mildly good news is that it doesn’t necessarily show a surge of support for Bennet as much as it indicates some damage to Buck. Without leaners, it’s even closer, 45/44, so among those who are undecided, Buck seems to have an edge. Only 60% of independent voters are certain now (as opposed to 87% of Republicans and 89% of Democrats), and Buck has a 46/38 advantage among them.
The issues questions appear favorable to Buck, especially among independents. Sixty percent of independents want ObamaCare repealed, which means that Buck may be able to make that argument with the 14% of those who have not yet firmed up their choice. An overwhelming 82% of independents think that the job market is worse or the same as a year ago, and most of those won’t be likely to choose the status quo. Obama’s approval rating is 42/54 among independents, which means they will be disinclined to vote for a candidate who will likely provide tacit or active support for Obama’s agenda.
The good news for Republicans comes in the gubernatorial race, and that’s also heavily qualified. The actual Republican nominee, Dan Maes, has had his support utterly collapse, but Tom Tancredo has pulled within the margin of error and could beat Democrat John Hickenlooper after all:
Is independent Tom Tancredo now becoming the de facto Republican candidate for governor of Colorado? He’s now moved to within four points of Democrat John Hickenlooper to turn the race into a toss-up.
The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Colorado finds Hickenlooper with 42% support, while Tancredo, the candidate of the American Constitution Party, earns 38% of the vote. Support for Republican Dan Maes continues to fall and now stands at 12%. Two percent (2%) prefer some other candidate, and six percent (6%) are undecided.
Less than two weeks ago, Tancredo earned 35% of the vote to Hickenlooper’s 43% and Maes’ 16%. That shifted the race from Solid Democrat to Leans Democrat in the Rasmussen Reports Election 2010 Gubernatorial Scorecard. Now the race moves to a Toss-Up.
Tancredo now gets just 59% of the Republican vote and 42% of independents, the latter a plurality lead among all three candidates. Hickenlooper gets 84% of Democratic votes, while Maes holds onto 24% of the Republican vote. If Tancredo can get Maes’ Republican support to switch to his ticket, he could easily beat Hickenlooper. That’s a dramatic change from the summer, when Tancredo was the gadfly candidate and it appeared Hickenlooper would coast to victory in Colorado.
Rasmussen asked the same issue questions in this race as in the Senate, but they missed Tancredo’s signature issue of immigration. That could make the difference, especially among the Republicans clinging to Maes as he collapses. The state GOP may also play a role here in pushing Maes aside to keep Democrats from controlling the state’s executive branch. At this point, it seems hopeless to back Maes and ultimately counterproductive.