Rasmussen Reports released an updated poll yesterday conducted Monday night on Colorado’s U.S. Senate race. It continues to show both GOP candidates–former Lt. Governor Jane Norton and Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck–with steady leads over the incumbent appointed Sen. Michael Bennet and his Democratic primary opponent and former Colorado House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. While Buck and Norton have been engaged in a scorched-earth primary battle that erupted over the past two weeks, neither has apparently lost much ground over the same time in the eyes of the voters.
Why? According to Rasmussen, President Barack Obama is clearly a drag on his party’s candidates in Colorado, and on Bennet in particular, thanks to a 49% “strongly disapprove” rating in the state. President Obama stumped for Bennet in Denver this past February and drew a substantial crowd of protesters, including many Democrats angered that the President had ignored pleas to stay out of the Democratic primary. Bennet, however, shows strong negatives among Rasmussen’s “likely voters,” including a 35% “very unfavorable” rating, with more than half of Coloradans viewing him unfavorably overall.
In a state with the highest national self-identified affiliation with the Tea Party movement, combined with an unpopular President and a national trend on the generic Congressional ballot, Bennet’s attempt to seek election following his head-scratching appointment last January will be an uphill battle. Moreover, Bennet has done himself few favors among labor unions. He also admitted having knowledge of White House overtures made to Romanoff for positions within the Obama administration intended to head off a potential primary showdown.