John Hickenlooper 54
Bill Owens 40
John Salazar 52
Tom Tancredo 37
Could Ken Salazar's move from the Senate to Interior Secretary actually be a good thing for Colorado Democrats?
The conventional wisdom is that an open seat gives the opposite party a good chance to take it back. But Ken Salazar's approval numbers weren't exactly out of the park when we gauged them over the summer. And when we tested him in potential match ups against Congressman Tom Tancredo and former Governor Bill Owens he led just 49-37 and 44-41 respectively.
Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper and Congressman John Salazar, the top choices of Colorado voters to be appointed as the state's new Senator, each do a good deal better in possible contests against Tancredo and Owens than the departing Senator did.
Hickenlooper leads Owens by 14 and Tancredo by 17. He wins independent voters by almost 30 points in either scenario and also wins nearly 20% of the Republican vote while holding the Democratic base pretty much in place.
Salazar leads Owens by 9 and Tancredo by 13. Like Hickenlooper, he has a strong advantage among independents voters and peels off a decent number of Republicans.
If appointed it looks like either Hickenlooper or Salazar would enter the 2010 race in good position to be reelected, at least against this pair of potential foes.
Full results here