Friday, March 6, 2015

Bennet has Work to Do

Sen. Michael Bennet
Colorado’s U.S. Senator Michael Bennet has work to do. The February 2015 Quinnipiac poll, which essentially launches the 2016 senate race, shows Bennet below 40 percent in approval, with a third of the public unable to rate him, including 29 percent of Democrats. About the same percentage of women and men approve of him (38% men and 39% women), but 38 percent of women couldn’t rate him vs. 29 percent of men.

Both top federal offices shared low approval ratings, confirming a long-standing pattern that when a Colorado politician goes to Washington, they are mostly forgotten and rapidly assigned to the life of “beltway politician,” which few Coloradans like much.

Newly elected Republican Senator Cory Gardner received a 36 percent approval, with 39 percent unable to rate him, including a quarter (26%) of Republicans and a near majority of unaffiliated voters (48%). However, Mr. Gardner has five years to establish his image, but Mr. Bennet is less than a year from the likely start of his re-election campaign.

Obviously, these numbers are early and subject to much change, but for comparison, a Quinnipiac poll in 2013 about a year and a half out of former Senator Mark Udall’s campaign showed that Bennet’s approval is considerably lower than Udall’s. For example, 69 percent of Democrats approved Udall’s job performance compared to 58 percent for Bennet today. Sixty percent of Democrats supported Udall’s re-election and 53 percent of Democrats support Bennet’s today.

Bennet has his advantages in the 2016 election, including more than a year to get ready for the full-on campaign, no clearly identified opponents and presidential-level turnout assumed to be better for Democrats.

This poll suggests his challenges. He will be running with a president with a low 40 percent approval and with a likely nominee, Hillary Clinton, who is only two points ahead of one of the current Republican frontrunners, Governor Scott Walker.

See The Buzz:
Bennet on list of tough re-elections
Election landscape – 2016 

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