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  Sixty percent of independents want ObamaCare repealed, which means that Buck may be able to make that argument with the 14% of those who have not yet firmed up their choice.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.


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He’s Ken Buck, you know what he’s here to do.

lorien1973 on October 17, 2010 at 6:03 PM

The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Voters in Colorado shows Buck with 47% support to Bennet’s 45%.

Buck could use some help in running ads against Pelosi’s guy in Colorado, guys.

We can stand by as the Democrat wins and stays in office for another six years, or we can grab this seat from Obama’s rubber-stamp caucus.

amerpundit on October 17, 2010 at 6:09 PM

So what is it that is eroding Ken Bucks support? Is Bennett better for Colorado?

fourdeucer on October 17, 2010 at 6:13 PM

I DID! YOU ROCK TOM!

400lb Gorilla on October 17, 2010 at 6:17 PM

When does the winner in the Senate take office? Lame duck or January?

txmomof6 on October 17, 2010 at 6:22 PM

txmomof6 on October 17, 2010 at 6:22 PM

I think the only immediate seatings are IL and WV.

lorien1973 on October 17, 2010 at 6:23 PM

A lot of us knew Tancredo would be the good news.

Don’t act so surprised. You should have known.

moochy on October 17, 2010 at 6:23 PM

I think the only immediate seatings are IL and WV.

lorien1973 on October 17, 2010 at 6:23 PM

Delaware as well.

sharrukin on October 17, 2010 at 6:29 PM

Tancredo went a bit nutbar for a while. Glad to see him back on earth.

The Expert Knows
http://theexpertsblog.blogspot.com

HotAirExpert on October 17, 2010 at 6:36 PM

Colorado is filled with rocky mountain high hippies. Or, so they’ve become that way over the last 20 years.

They’ll get what they deserve if they go defecrat.

BowHuntingTexas on October 17, 2010 at 6:37 PM

Can’t say Buck helped himself by saying on MTP that being gay is a choice and likening it to to alcoholism. Oooof.

rcpjr on October 17, 2010 at 6:40 PM

Can’t say Buck helped himself by saying on MTP that being gay is a choice and likening it to to alcoholism. Oooof.

rcpjr on October 17, 2010 at 6:40 PM

how can telling the truth hurt him? those offended by that, weren’t going to vote for him anyway.

right4life on October 17, 2010 at 6:44 PM

lorien1973 on October 17, 2010 at 6:23 PM

I saw a news story that said that the ads in IL are so ugly the voters hate both of the candidates. Funny if you don’t live there and have to make that choice.

Cindy Munford on October 17, 2010 at 6:54 PM

RE: Buck, I’ll recycle –

Candidates are supposed to prepare for the “gotcha” questions.

Proper “gay causation” answer:

I don’t know, but I do know we have record unemployment, spending and debt; these are the things we need to be talking about.

We have a Federal government bent on regulating our economy and our liberties out of existence. That is worth talking about.

mockmook on October 17, 2010 at 6:54 PM

Candidates are supposed to prepare for the “gotcha” questions.

Proper “gay causation” answer:

why not just tell the truth, and offend the always offended?

they’re not going to vote for him anyway, and being honest is always a good policy, and its so unlike most politicians.

your answer is a typical politicians answer. we need people that aren’t typical politicians.

right4life on October 17, 2010 at 7:01 PM

Buck isn’t all that strong a candidate – his strength is Bennet’s weakness. If Bennet can keep him on defense on social issues, he might hold the seat. It’s the economy, stupid!

Maes, of course, is another of the Tea Party flavor-of-the-month candidates who were not vetted at all and turn out to be flawed. This election is too important to just throw a candidate on the ballot because they check the right boxes on the issues questionnaire. Character counts.

Adjoran on October 17, 2010 at 7:02 PM

Colorado is a critical predictor. How goes the Colorado Senate race goes the next Presidential race. In open seats. Salazar took the seat and we now have BO. Go back and look at the history of the State and its elections.

Jdripper on October 17, 2010 at 7:11 PM

I stand shoulder to shoulder with you Dems in Colorado who, like me, want more than anything else to vote Democrat so as to ensure that all of us have no jobs, that we are robbed of our last remaining possessions, and that we lose what few actual liberties we still have left.

I plan to join you in voting Democrat because Democrats have been incredibly effective in what I know is most important to you and me — making sure that the long-threatened Christian theocracy is thwarted. I’m with you on that — nothing else matters. Be jobless. Be homeless. Be in a perpetual state of lockdown. That’s all fine and dandy, as long as we never have to see a crucifix again, right gang?

Right, you dumb-ass bunch of Dem voter fools.

FlameWarrior on October 17, 2010 at 7:11 PM

So Maes fibbed about undercover police work. Why are Republicans/TP abandoning him?

Is Tancredo really that appealing in Colorado? He seems like a loose canon on immigration, despite being right on issues like Medicare Part D.

AshleyTKing on October 17, 2010 at 7:12 PM

This election is too important to just throw a candidate on the ballot because they check the right boxes on the issues questionnaire. Character counts.

Adjoran on October 17, 2010 at 7:02 PM

True enough. So what is the scoop on Maes, other than the fibbing on police work?

AshleyTKing on October 17, 2010 at 7:14 PM

So Maes fibbed about undercover police work. Why are Republicans/TP abandoning him?
AshleyTKing on October 17, 2010 at 7:12 PM

Why are they abandoning Maes? Because he is an incompetent businessman who perpetually inflates his resume and HAS no accomplishments in his pathetic life? The only question is, why didn’t they abandon Maes earlier?

Who are the idiot conservatives in Colorado who still think withholding support from Tancredo is a good idea??

There is one conservative in the gubernatorial race who can win and knows his way around government, that’s Tom Tancredo. I don’t understand all the Tancredo haters I’ve seen on Hot Air. Must be people who rather vote for the Republican party than a conservative who can win.

It’s time to leave the race Dan. GO TOM GO!!

HDFOB on October 17, 2010 at 7:28 PM

HDFOB on October 17, 2010 at 7:28 PM

This sums it up nicely. Maes is a trainwreck who only won because Scott McInnis destroyed his own campaign over the plagiarism scandal.

Tancredo may be a wild man, but he’s a known quantity in Colorado, and he has an even better chance of winning. What I will be watching very, very closely, mind you, is the crosstabs for the final vote.

If Tancredo gets 30% or more of the Hispanic vote in a three-way race, we can officially say that Democrat amnesty demagoguery is horsecrap.

KingGold on October 17, 2010 at 7:33 PM

I voted for Mas in the Primary but will be voting for Tom in the General. There is way too much “funny money info/lack of info, no funds for the campaign crap” going around. Resume padding/construcive resuming is not one of my favorite things either. I think people will end up voting for Tom, too much to lose if we get Hick.

retiredeagle on October 17, 2010 at 7:46 PM

Another reason we need Cs like Tancredo,,,we need people who can hit the ground running, we do not have time for OJT. The times are too important to have people get a feel for the job. Things need to be done NOW. Same on the national scale,,no time for pussy footin around.

retiredeagle on October 17, 2010 at 7:49 PM

I would happily give the libbies the Governor seat then the Senate seat. Ken Buck …go out there and win this seat for lady Liberty.

hawkman on October 17, 2010 at 8:10 PM

Time for Maes to get out.

He can do this one of two ways: Get out, endorse Tank and help Colorado, OR he can stay in and be a reverse Tim Cahill.

SuperCool on October 17, 2010 at 8:34 PM

Ken Buck is a moron.

Why in gods name do politicians even answer the question about ifgaydom is a choice or not?

It’s none of their business and it’s not what they are being elected for!

Just say, “I’m not qualified t answer the question” and get the heck back to issues that will actually effect peoples economic health.

Idiots!

rickyricardo on October 17, 2010 at 8:39 PM

Ken Buck will easily win. Another recent poll has him up by 8, he has not been behind in any poll since the primariers ended.

Tancredo might win, he is getting a lot of social conservative grass-root support right now.
Maes will not drop out though, and I doubt he will get less than 12% on election day.

Norwegian on October 17, 2010 at 9:22 PM

So Maes fibbed about undercover police work. Why are Republicans/TP abandoning him?

Is Tancredo really that appealing in Colorado? He seems like a loose canon on immigration, despite being right on issues like Medicare Part D.

AshleyTKing on October 17, 2010 at 7:12 PM

Even more than the undercover work, I think his “Bike programs are a secret UN plot to take over Colorado” idea made him look unbalanced in the eyes of many voters. Tancredo, for whatever faults he has, is a solid conservative and should be able to win if Maes drops out.

HeroesforGhosts on October 17, 2010 at 9:32 PM

Wow, surprisingly good news. I’m pleased that Tancredo has a shot. Maybe there are still enough sane people in Colorado to save it.

LegendHasIt on October 17, 2010 at 9:35 PM

So, when will Maes say to his voters “please support Tancredo”?

Schadenfreude on October 17, 2010 at 11:05 PM

As long as the great experiment has a senate I’ll take a Republican senator over a Republican governor. Go, Tanc, by all means, but it is DC we need the focus put on.

Limerick on October 18, 2010 at 12:05 AM

The problem is, mail-in ballots have already gone out and there are many uninformed people who automatically check all of the boxes for their party. Maes is on the ballot for the Republicans whether he drops out or not.

I sure wish Maes and McInnis had imploded a couple of weeks sooner. It would have made things a lot easier. If only Josh Penry didn’t drop out of the primary or Tancredo ran in the primary to begin with.

Common Sense on October 18, 2010 at 1:16 AM

I read several weeks ago that the October poll numbers would show a surprising swing toward the Democrats, in order to pump up the base and get them out to vote. A few days before the election the polls will show the race “tightening” so the polling companies can keep their reputations intact after the election.

Sure enough, that’s what we see going on here, and elsewhere. Don’t fall for it.

As far as Tancredo goes, I was furious at him and supported Maes when Tancredo entered the race. But instead of being like Christine O’Donnell and fighting hard, he folded like a cheap suit. If he’d stood up for his beliefs and kept strongly defending his conservative values, he’d still be my candidate.

Instead, I’m voting for Tancredo. Colorado deserves better than Hickenlooper.

bonnie_ on October 18, 2010 at 9:40 AM

Colorado is filled with rocky mountain high hippies. Or, so they’ve become that way over the last 20 years.

BowHuntingTexas on October 17, 2010 at 6:37 PM

Then they should like Tancredo:

Tancredo tells Loveland audience that legalizing pot is the best option

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 issues questions appear favorable to Buck, especially among independents.

This is gonna leave a mark:

Ken Buck Compares Being Gay To Alcoholism

Rae on October 18, 2010 at 10:26 AM

Well, I think he answered the question honstly. If he loses, so be it.

He was honest about his personal views.

I personally don’t think that this is remotely the same as a vote promise.

AnninCA on October 18, 2010 at 1:31 PM