Public Policy Polling, a top swing-state voter survey firm, reports today on the heated topsy-turvy Colorado U.S. Senate race. According to a recent PPP poll, the momentum on the ground in the state appears to be swinging in favor of appointed Senator Michael Bennet, an incumbent Democrat. Notable is the fact that he is making headway with Independents and Republicans. Indeed, the survey results reflect news coming out of Tuesday’s primary and special elections. The clean “throw the bums out” narrative of the year of the conservative tea party celebrated by Republicans looking to win back seats, turns out to be only a single thread in the story and perhaps not the major thread at all.
Writing on the surprise victory of Democrat Mark Critz, PPP’s Tom Jensen writes that “The results of yesterday’s special election in Pennsylvania were a clear indication that things are starting to turn around for Democrats, and Michael Bennet’s improved standing for reelection is a reflection of that.”
Bennet is running against former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff in the Democratic primary and will face either former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton or Weld County DA Ken Buck in the general election. Norton had been the GOP frontrunner last year, enjoying significant support from the national party and political insiders but Buck, so far, appears to be the favorite with conservative voters in Colorado.
Jensen summarizes the results of the poll:
Bennet now leads Jane Norton 44-41 in his quest for a full term in the Senate. They were tied in a March PPP poll of the race, and this is the largest lead Bennet has posted in any public polling to date.
The main movement in the race has come with independents. Norton led 44-35 with them previously, but Bennet’s now pulled ahead 42-40. That makes Bennet one of few Democratic Senate candidates in the country leading with independents. Bennet’s also breaking another national trend by winning over more Republicans (11%) than Norton is Democrats (9%). In almost every other key race in the country more Democratic voters are going over to the Republican than vice versa.
Bennet leads Ken Buck by a wider margin, 45-39. Andrew Romanoff also polls well against each of the leading Republicans, with a 43-41 advantage over Norton and a 41-38 one against Buck.
The PPP pollsters also found that Romanoff “bumped his favorability rating” up three points in the last two months from 28 to 31 by gaining with independents, as did Bennet. Romanoff went from 20-30, favorable-unfavorable ratings among independents, to 32-26.
PPP polled 1,060 Coloradans May 14th to 16th. The margin of error for the survey is +/-3.0%.