Colorado’s U.S. Senate race has clenched into a dead heat nine days before polls close, as incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet climbed to meet GOP hopeful Ken Buck’s early lead, each man garnering 47 percent support among likely and actual voters, according to a Denver Post/9 News poll.
The tightening race — three weeks ago, Buck was 5 percentage points ahead — is reflective of a handful of factors, some unique to Colorado, some not.
Democrats nationally have burnished their ground game and get-out-the-vote efforts in recent weeks, galvanizing old 2008 enthusiasm that didn’t exist over the summer.
In the Colorado governor’s race, Dan Maes and Tom Tancredo are battling for the same group of right-leaning voters in a spectacle that observers say has dampened natural Republican enthusiasm this year.
This could hurt Buck when, in any other circumstance, a strong Republican gubernatorial nominee would only help him.
The Denver Post article points to residual strength in Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts and Buck’s verbal gaffes as a reason for the now-even polling numbers. Bennet has hit his Republican opponent hard with ads focusing on social issues meant to drive away support from women.
According to the Post, that tactic has served to bring Buck back down from 50 percent territory just a few weeks ago. The 47 percent earned by Bennet is the highest placement since the primary among polls stipulating a “likely voter” model.
Bennet’s polling in October: 46, 45, 45, 45, 45, 47
Buck’s polling in October: 45, 50, 47, 46, 48, 47
The previous Denver Post/9NEWS poll conducted at the end of September showed Buck with a five point lead, 48 to 43.