Michael Bennet's approval rating is just as bad as it was when we polled Colorado in April but voters in the state don't like any of his possible Republican opponents either, leaving this Senate contest pretty wide open.
38% of voters in the state disapprove of Bennet's job performance so far with 31% approving. Those numbers are roughly equal to our previous survey which found the numbers at 41% disapproval to 34% approval. There are two primary reasons for Bennet's net negative ratings. The first is that Republicans disapprove (62%) of him more than Democrats approve of him (57%). The second is that he's getting unfavorable reviews from independents, 36% of whom disapprove of him compared to 29% approving.
One piece of good news for Bennet is that he's getting better reviews now from the key Democratic constituency of Hispanic voters now than he was when we polled the state in April and January. 38% approve of the job he's doing with just 27% disapproving. It had been 41% disapproving and 33% approving earlier, perhaps a reflection of unhappiness that Ken Salazar was not replaced by another Hispanic senator.
Potential Republican opponents Bob Beauprez, Ryan Frazier, and Ken Buck all get overall negative reviews from voters in the state as well. 40% have an unfavorable opinion of Beauprez to 30% with a positive one. For Frazier it's 19% negative and 11% favorable and for Buck the numbers are 18% unfavorable and 17% favorable.
In head to head contests Beauprez leads Bennet 42-39, while the incumbent has a 39-35 advantage over Buck and a 38-33 one against Frazier.
Bennet's numbers are partially a reflection of the downward turn in Democratic fortunes nationwide over the last few months, as seats that were thought to be safe for 2010 have come into play in conjunction with the decline in Barack Obama's approval rating. It's also a function of the fact that most voters still don't know him very well, something that his prodigious fundraising will be able to rectify in spades next year. Despite these initial numbers it's hard to really imagine Bennet losing to Beauprez after the Republican's incredibly weak campaign for Governor in 2006, unless the 2010 election turns out to be a Republican landslide along the magnitude of 1994.
Nevertheless it's not very hard when looking at both Bennet's approval numbers and the weak ones of the current likely GOP field that Jane Norton is now eying the race- this race could be pretty wide open.
PPP will be releasing Republican primary numbers in both the races for Senate and Governor later in the week.
We were the only pollster to correctly show Barack Obama taking Colorado with 54% of the vote last fall.
Full results here