Salazar builds lead in 3rd Congressional District race

A poll conducted earlier this week shows incumbent Democrat John Salazar increasing his lead in the sprawling, largely rural 3rd Congressional District that encompasses much of southern and western Colorado.

The poll, conducted by Anzalone Liszt Research for Salazar, has Salazar leading Republican Scott Tipton 46 percent to 38 percent. Independent Jake Segrest is polling 7 percent, with 9 percent still undecided.

“What is interesting is that the Tea Party candidate Jake Segrest is gaining ground,” said Salazar communications director Tara Trujillo. “He has a stronger base of support from the Tea Party than most probably assumed.”

Segrest said he had been hoping for more than 7 percent support. “The media campaigns the other guys are running is just out of my league,” he said.

He said he is running primarily because of economic issues and that he doesn’t care if he gets enough support to cost Tipton the race. “The way I see it there is not a bit of difference between them,” he said. “They are both at the same trough; the only difference is who’s feeding them.”

It’s interesting that when people were asked if they were more likely to vote Democrat or Republican in the Congressional race, they said Republican by a 47-37 margin, even though when asked later who they would vote for, the Democrat, Salazar, was up by 8 points. If Segrest dropped out, those planning to vote for him would split evenly between Tipton and Salazar, according to the poll.

Salazar is viewed favorably by 51 percent in the District, compared with 40 percent for Tipton and 45 percent for President Obama.

Of those people supporting Tipton or Segrest, 14 percent indicated they may change their mind before the election.

Forty-six percent said they felt like “John Salazar is one of us,” while an identical number said being in Washington has changed Salazar. Forty-three percent said they viewed Salazar as a moderate.

People in the District favor Republican Ken Buck for U.S. Senate by a 46-42 margin over Democrat incumbent Michael Bennet.

Thirty percent of those polled claimed to be Democrats, with the same number claiming to be Republicans. Twenty percent said they were independents. Seventy-six percent of those polled said they plan to vote early, with 56 percent saying they will vote by mail.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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