There’s nothing but good news for Republicans following the release of a new poll that puts embattled Democratic U.S. Senator Michael Bennet in a statistical dead heat against, well, pretty much anyone that Republicans thrust into the spotlight. That must be horrific news for Democrats and Bennet whose re-election is part of the Democrats’ grand plan to regain control of the U.S. Senate.
The first candidate reported in the poll was Red Hope District Attorney George Brauchler who tailed Bennet by just three points (47-44), well within the 3.4% margin of error, without even filing for the office or declaring his candidacy. The other candidate that the poll considered was Robert Blaha, a businessman from Colorado Springs, who trailed Bennet by just four points. To be clear, this man has never held elected office and has little name recognition.
What this means is that pretty much any Republican without a ton of baggage enters the race pretty darn close to tied with Sen. Bennet. For Bennet, as it was for Udall, this is disastrous. Here’s what we wrote about Udall 18 months ago:
“In any campaign, you start to hit the “oh-crap” button when your incumbent candidate drops below 46 or 47%. At 42% you might as well start packing your bags. This is because your candidate is already a known quantity, they have spent their last term out in front of the people, and if the people don’t know you or don’t like you by now, they sure as hell aren’t coming around to you on Election Day. This is especially true of Udall, who has been in the public eye for decades.”
And, frankly, because this poll was conducted by a Democratic polling shop, it may be even worse for Democrats. The results of this poll sound surprisingly similar to a PPP push poll from May 2014 in a match up between former U.S. Senator Mark Udall and current U.S. Senator Cory Gardner. We know how that turned out.
This poll weighted turnout at 34% Democratic, 37% Republican, and 29% Unaffiliated. In 2012, arguably a banner year for Democrats in Colorado, the turnout was 32.7% Democrat, 34.4% Republican, and 32.9% Unaffiliated. We’re not here to argue what turnout will be in over a year, but simply offer context for the poll’s sample.
Like the PPP poll, this poll was conducted by a Democratic polling outfit, this time Clarity Campaign Labs. The poll was conducted on September 10-13 and included calls to landlines and cell phones of 872 registered (note: not likely) voters in Colorado. As noted, the margin of error was +/- 3.4%.