Poll: Bennet would lead in general election

Tom Jensen has released a Primary Day report on a Public Policy Polling survey that found Coloradans don’t like any of their options for U.S. Senate. Sen. Michael Bennet is the leader among the unloved. In a general election, Jansen reports, Bennet would begin the general election as the favorite. Bennet’s primary opponent, Andrew Romanoff, would enter a tossup race. These numbers are incredible, writes Jensen:

“Whatever the final match up… Democratic prospects are looking better than they did around the start of the year and, given Barack Obama’s upside down standing at 44 [favorable] /50 [unfavorable] in the state, this isn’t a bad place for their candidates to start the general election.”

Jansen’s report summary is worth quoting at length for both style and substance. He captures the mood here in Colorado today in his tone:

Bennet leads Jane Norton 46-40 and Ken Buck 46-43. Romanoff leads Buck 43-42, but trails Norton 43-42.

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.

The primary has taken a toll on the popularity of every candidate in the race, although it’s been worse for Buck than anyone else:

Jansen writes that Bennet is getting key crossover support, that he has won 11 percent of the GOP vote. Norton and Buck don’t get anything like that among Democrats. bennet is also roughly tied with his potential GOP opponents among independent voters, bucking a national trend in which independent voters are swinging right.

Also interesting: Romanoff does better than Bennet with the valued independent voters but does less well among Democratic voters. Surely, however, Romanoff would draw Democratic voters more solidly around him should he win the primary.

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