The general assumption is that Congressman Mike Coffman would be the strongest Republican candidate against Senator Michael Bennet in the 2016 Colorado senate election.
There are other names tossed out, especially since it is at least six months before speculation gets really serious. Congressman Scott Tipton has run up a trial balloon, and while there wasn’t a lot of excitement, he’s on the list, as is Arapahoe District Attorney, George Brauchler, who should be done with the murder trial of the decade in late 2015.
But, a recent Quinnipiac survey shows that Coffman is already competitive with Bennet, and in terms of favorability, has a modest negative rating.
Coffman beats Bennet by three points in the poll, with a twelve-point advantage among independent voters and Coffman wins the gender gap by seven points (wins men by 15 points; loses women by 8).
In early tests between two candidates, favorability is often a more useful variable because it tends to reduce the forced choice between candidates when many voters don’t know the candidate.
The two candidates have a similar unfavorability rating in the mid-20s, with Bennet’s slightly higher. Bennet’s favorability is 10 points higher due to superior name identity. Coffman is not known by 47 percent of the electorate (Bennet 32%), including 37 percent of Republicans.