Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Bennet slightly ahead

It may be a little premature to start writing Michael Bennet's political obituary...PPP's newest Colorado poll finds him holding onto a 46-45 lead over Ken Buck.

Both candidates have their party base pretty much completely locked up: Bennet is winning 85% of Democrats and Buck is winning 84% of Republicans. Bennet's slight edge comes because of something that is pretty unusual for Democratic candidates across the country this year- he's ahead 48-38 with independent voters.

Bennet's lead with independents is not because they like him- in fact they don't. His approval rating with them is a negative 37/45 spread. Rather it appears to be the price to pay for Republicans nominating a candidate with limited appeal to the center. Independents see Buck unfavorably by an even wider spread, 31/50.

A closer look at moderate voters, who comprise the majority of independents in Colorado, shows a lot of trouble for Buck. They see him negatively by greater than a 2:1 margin, 27/57. They're not real high on Bennet, giving him only a +7 approval rating at 43/36. But when it comes to the horse race they give the incumbent a 24 point lead despite their tepid feelings toward him personally because of their greater animosity toward Buck.

Bennet continues to be, as we've found in all of our polling for the whole cycle, an unpopular Senator. His approval rating is just 35% and 49% of voters disapprove of the job he's doing. If a moderate Republican had been nominated against him this race might be over. But Buck's unpopular too at a 41/46 favorability spread and that's keeping this race close.

It should be noted that these poll numbers are predicated on an electorate that split its votes evenly between Barack Obama and John McCain, suggesting a pretty large drop in Democratic turnout from 2008 given that Obama actually won the state by 9 points. This is one race where if there is any closing of the enthusiasm gap over the last four weeks it could put Bennet over the top.

Expect this to be one of the closest races in the country.

Full results here

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

You're not even mentioning the big turnaround in Buck's favs! No more "very unpopular".

Ray said...

I'm sorry, but I'm afraid I just can't believe this result - it's not only completely out of line with all the other polling, but it's the same as Bennett's internals:

http://www.dscc.org/news?type=news_item&news_item_KEY=5469

Matt said...

There is no way that Buck is getting 39% of black voters. If the GOP gets numbers like this, the Dem is likely dead in the water.

Is there something in this race that makes Buck so popular with blacks?

Anonymous said...

What kind of voter screen are you smoking?

Buck +5
Buck +5
Buck +8
Buck +5
Bennet +1

One of these polls is not like the others.

wt said...

If Buck is getting 41% of Hispanics and 39% of blacks, I'm actually pretty happy about the state of the race.

The poll has Bennet and Buck tied at 46-46 with whites. That seems unlikely to hold on election day.

Ryan said...

I think the issues here is that PPP again is using a turnout model similar to '08, not closer to an electorate that may be to the right of '04. The internals and the breakdown might be off too. I would say this is closer to a +4 Buck Race.

Chuck T said...

I love how the disbelievers are back. It reminds me of a few weeks ago when you announcd your California findings and all the chatter was that your polls for both the senate and governor races showing Boxer and Brown surging were all wrong--how could that be when every other pollster showed Boxer tied and Brown behind.

Well, Rasmussen was out with their new CO numbers today, too, and you know what? they show tightening of the race as well. Oh, they still show Buck up by 5, but last week it was by 8, so I think it is getting closer in CO. Your poll indicates "too close to call" and I would guess that's what it is.

Anonymous said...

You have Bennet +10 among independents. Other recent polls have Buck leading among unaffiliated voters, as follows:

CNN/Opinion Research (Buck 50, Bennet 36)
Marist (Buck 44, Bennet 43)
Denver Post/SurveyUSA ("Buck leads 5:3")

Not saying you are necessarily wrong, but ...

Anonymous said...

I don't see a question that measures enthusiasm. What are you referencing when you write, "Big enthusiasm gap in CO- one race where a closing in it over last month could make the difference"?

Dustin Ingalls said...

"You're not even mentioning the big turnaround in Buck's favs!"

I mentioned it in the press release. It's certainly helped him slightly close the gap, but most of that movement in the horse race is because of the likely voter screen. And all of Buck's movement in personal favorability is among Republicans, from 44% favorable to 77% now. He's become way less popular with Dems and slightly less with independents, which corresponds to the movement of indies towards Bennet.

"There is no way that Buck is getting 39% of black voters. If the GOP gets numbers like this, the Dem is likely dead in the water.

Is there something in this race that makes Buck so popular with blacks?"

Blacks are only 5% of CO voters. With such a small sample, you're going to not only see fluctuations from poll to poll, but some odd results within polls because of the roughly 15% margin of error on that subsample, as opposed to the overall 3.4% MOE for the whole poll.

"One of these polls is not like the others."

The one that's been right more often than other pollsters this year and in 2008.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"I think the issues here is that PPP again is using a turnout model similar to '08"

We don't use a turnout "model;" we let people tell us whether they are going to vote, which worked very well in 2008 and so far in 2010. We don't weight for party ID, unlike some other pollsters which try to force what they think the turnout will be on the results. We only weight for gender, race, and age, qualities about people which do not fluctuate and which are much more stable in terms of the breakdown of electorates from election to election.

"I love how the disbelievers are back. It reminds me of a few weeks ago when you announcd your California findings and all the chatter was that your polls for both the senate and governor races showing Boxer and Brown surging were all wrong--how could that be when every other pollster showed Boxer tied and Brown behind."

Leading indicators for what everyone else eventually found too.

"I don't see a question that measures enthusiasm. What are you referencing when you write, "Big enthusiasm gap in CO- one race where a closing in it over last month could make the difference"?"

We measure the 2008 vote for president, and compare it to the actual results.

Anonymous said...

You've been polling Bennet ahead of Buck all year. Still waiting for that 'leading indicator' to pan out.

You remain the only pollster ever to have Bennet as high as 46% -- aside from numbers released by Bennet's campaign.

Reuben said...

Denver will have an all-mail-ballot 2010 General Election. All ballots will be mailed on Oct. 12.
Eleven ballot drop-off locations open on Oct. 18. I'm not sure about the other counties in Colo.

Bam said...

Denver is not all mail-in this year. Mail-in ballots are a choice, but not the only option. (I'm a registered voter in Denver County, and plan to vote early at a polling location)

Anonymous said...

"Well, Rasmussen was out with their new CO numbers today, too, and you know what? they show tightening of the race as well. Oh, they still show Buck up by 5, but last week it was by 8, so I think it is getting closer in CO. Your poll indicates "too close to call" and I would guess that's what it is."


Which represents movement within the margin of error. Rasmussen still has Buck at the all important 50% mark. The fact of the matter is this is the only poll that doesn't have Buck with a lead outside the margin of error.

Anonymous said...

If you go to RealClearpolitics and look at the polls for this race, aside from one poll about a month ago, the polls associated with The Daily Kos are literally the only polls to show Bennet with a lead in this race.

Dustin Ingalls said...

"The fact of the matter is this is the only poll that doesn't have Buck with a lead outside the margin of error."

Buck would have to have a lead of 7 or more to be outside the margin of error in any poll.

"the polls associated with The Daily Kos"

We haven't polled CO for them. That's like saying Rasmussen's polls are the ones associated with the Bush campaign.

NRH said...

It's the same thing that's playing out in a lot of races right now. Democrats and independents who haven't been paying much attention to the races start tuning in for the last month, and now that they're actually looking at the candidates the nutty teabaggers are increasingly unacceptable. Other than Rasmussen, nobody's found Rand Paul with a lead outside the MoE for over a month. Just about nobody but Fox has given Sharron Angle a lead in a month. Joe Miller is putting up a terrible showing for a Republican candidate in Alaska and could still lose to Murkowski. Toomey in Pennsylvania has slipped inside the MoE.

It all boils down to the same thing. Those undecided and persuadable voters lean heavily toward Democrats. As they engage, enthusiastic or not, they swing the numbers toward sanity.

Reuben said...

Bam from Denver is correct!

Denver will have a 2010 General Election with 151 assigned polling places accross the city, with mail-in-ballots and early voting as an option.

I was told by the Denver Election Commission that the State will not allow all-mail-ballot elections for the General Election, as we did in the August Primary election.

But ballots will be mailed on Oct. 12 for those who requested them

Anonymous said...

What is the margin of error for this poll?

Dustin Ingalls said...

"What is the margin of error for this poll?"

Click on the link for the full results to find out.

Anonymous said...

Bennet will win by 1% in November, just like Norton and McInnis won by 1% in August.

Jackie said...

Did you see that the Colorado chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet? Veterans know that Bennet has supported them while he has been in the Senate, and Buck favors putting V.A. medical care into the private sector, even though veterans are happier with their medical care than any sector in the U.S.

Buck keeps changing his positions on issues, now that he is trying to appeal to people outside the Tea people. The more people learn about Buck, the more they don't like.

 
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