Public Policy Polling followed up yesterday’s primary-poll release with numbers for the general election, with none of the four U.S. Senate candidates’ popularity having fared well through a bruising primary campaign:
Bennet leads Jane Norton 46-40 and Ken Buck 46-43. Romanoff leads Buck 43-42, but trails Norton 43-42.
Only the Illinois Senate race can match the Colorado one for the unpopularity of all its combatants. Bennet’s approval rating is a 32/48 approval spread. Usually you don’t get reelected with those kinds of numbers but Norton’s favorability split is a net -16 at 28/44 and Buck’s is even worse at -20 (26/46). Romanoff has the best numbers at -2 (35/37) but that may not mean much if Bennet does indeed survive the primary as our poll yesterday suggested he probably would.
The primary has taken a toll on the popularity of every candidate in the race, although it’s been worse for Buck than anyone else:
Negative campaigning in both the Democratic and Republican primaries has done a great deal of damage, with millions of dollars expended collectively–by the campaigns and outside groups alike–on attack ads targeting Buck, Norton, Romanoff and Bennet. The estimated $5.8 million that Bennet has used to battle the insurgent Romanoff campaign in the Democratic primary set a record for Senate primaries in the state.
Political damage control and healing intra-party wounds will be the order of the day following Tuesday’s results. Whichever party can recover more quickly and bring aboard the supporters of the defeated primary candidate will have a head start heading into the November general election.
Cook Political Reports lists the Colorado Senate seat as a toss up in its most recent ratings.