Politics & Policy

Why A 4-Point Ken Buck Victory is Likelier Than a Looming ‘Recount’

So if the Denver Post insists that a “recount looms” in Colorado’s U.S. Senate race, why do I predict that Ken Buck will defeat appointed incumbent Michael Bennet by four points? What makes me so confident that my prognostication is more accurate than the hype? On The Spot blog, Post political editor Curtis Hubbard lists the most recent polls from the seven different major firms tracking this race, along with the New York Times blog prediction, listed as follows from most recent to oldest:

  • FiveThirtyEight poll average (11/1): Buck 49.1, Bennet 48.2

  • PPP (Oct. 31): Buck 49, Bennet 48

  • Fox/Public Opinion (Oct. 30): Buck 50, Bennet 46

  • Marist (Oct. 28) Buck 49, Bennet 45

  • Rasmussen (Oct. 25): Buck 48, Bennet 44

  • CNN/Time (Oct. 26): Buck 47, Bennet 46

  • RBI (Oct. 26) Bennet 43, Buck 42

  • Survey USA/DenverPost/9News (Oct. 21): Buck 47, Bennet 47

First off, I’m not sure what the Five Thirty Eight numbers can be considered an average of — since Michael Bennet is given a 48.2 while not cracking 48 in any of the polls listed. But that’s beside the point. Among the seven polls, here’s my revised summary, taking a closer look:

  • PPP: Buck +1 (skews sample of voters to 39 GOP, 38 Dem — corrected, it equals Buck +3)

  • Fox/Public Opinion: Buck +4

  • Marist: Buck +4

  • Rasmussen: Buck +4 (do you sense a pattern developing yet?)

  • CNN/Time: Buck +1 (skews sample of voters, as noted before — corrected, it equals Buck +7)

  • RBI: Bennet +1 (Democratic-leaning pollster showing an anomalously high share of undecideds, with no internals… hmmm)

  • Survey USA/DenverPost/9News: TIE (the oldest poll, and again with no internals)

Even weighting the two oldest and most suspect polls the same as all the others, the average is Buck +3. Without them, it’s Buck +4.4. And I didn’t factor in the undecideds, which tend to break slightly away from the incumbent (in this case Michael Bennet) at the end. Given all that, a 4-point Ken Buck victory is a likelier outcome than the looming “recount” hyped in Monday’s Denver Post. But I’m not selling newspapers, either.

Guest post by Ben DeGrow. Cross posted at Mount Virtus.

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