Sen. Michael Bennet’s campaign is pushing back hard on a new Rasmussen poll released today showing GOP candidate Jane Norton with a significant lead. We’ve reprinted the Harstad poll memo after the jump, says Bennet campaign manager Craig Hughes in an accompanying release: “Rasmussen has long been identified as a partisan polling outfit whose survey results are consistently wrong, and always favor the Republican candidate. This race is a toss up right now.”
To: Interested Parties
From: Paul Harstad and Chris Keating, Harstad Strategic Research, Inc.
Date: January 15, 2010
Re: Michael Bennet in Deadheat with Jane Norton in Colorado Senate Race
According to a recent, January 2010 survey of 605 voters in Colorado, Michael Bennet and Jane Norton are virtually tied in a campaign for U.S. Senate.
Overall, 43% of voters support Jane Norton, 40% of voters support Michael Bennet, and 17% are undecided. The pivotal independent bloc of Unaffiliated voters currently prefers Bennet over Norton by a 10 point margin — 42% to 32%.
Currently, 29% of voters feel favorably toward Michael Bennet while 27% feel unfavorably. And 23% of Coloradans feel favorably toward Jane Norton while 17% feel unfavorably.
The sample in this internal survey represents a conservative look since it includes a 5% Republican advantage (39% registered Republicans, 34% registered Democrats, 27% registered unaffiliated) – despite the fact that the most recent statewide registration tallies actually show a slight Democratic edge in Colorado.
Of the 300,000 increase in registered voters over the last two years in Colorado, a 57% majority are Democrats, just 12% are Republicans, and 28% are Unaffiliated.
The survey was conducted by Harstad Strategic Research among a cross-section of 605 likely voters in Colorado. The overall results are subject to a statistical margin-of-error of plus-or-minus 4%.
Based in Colorado, Harstad Research has been the successful pollster for the Senate campaigns of Ken Salazar and Mark Udall, has polled for President Obama from 2002 to the present, and polled for the Obama campaign in 22 primary and general states including the pivotal Iowa presidential caucuses.
Harstad Research has a remarkable record of accuracy in recent elections in Colorado and elsewhere. In 2004, it’s last Senate poll showed Ken Salazar winning by 4.4% while he ended up winning by 4.9%. In 2008, Harstad’s final Colorado poll got Mark Udall’s winning margin within 0.3% of the final spread and Barack Obama’s winning margin within 0.1% of the final spread.