Closer Look at Rasmussen: Ken Buck Surging Up, Jane Norton Standing Still

Last week, Republican U.S. Senate candidate and former Lt. Governor Jane Norton received a lot of attention for her 46-37 lead in a new Rasmussen poll over incumbent appointee Michael Bennet. Rossputin did a good job of summarizing the results.

One Norton primary challenger, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck, showed a smaller lead of 42-38. Afterward, Buck told RMA blogger Don Johnson that the poll results show he can win in the general election.

Even so, what makes the strongest case on Buck’s behalf is the trend line. What do I mean? Look at the only clear apples-to-apples comparison: a pair of Rasmussen surveys conducted a few months ago.

On September 16, the day after she officially announced her candidacy, Jane Norton was leading Michael Bennet 45-36. Her 9-point advantage (now at 46-37) is steady and unchanged.

On the other hand, a September 10 Rasmussen poll showed Ken Buck trailing Michael Bennet 43-37. That means in three months’ time he has made a 10-point rally. In absolute terms, Buck may not have the same edge over Bennet as Norton does, but the past three months have greatly closed the gap.

I asked Walt Klein, general consultant for the Ken Buck campaign, what he believes might explain the trend. “It suggests to me that slogging through the grassroots is beginning to pay off [for Buck], and that Norton still has a long way to go,” he said.

Klein also noted that a three-point gain over three months in the Rasmussen survey earned a Denver Post headline for GOP gubernatorial hopeful Scott McInnis, while Buck’s surging poll numbers scarcely merited a mention.

As for Colorado’s other Republican senatorial candidates, Tom Wiens has a 1-point lead over Bennet in the new poll. But it was the first time the two names were surveyed together. So it’s too early to develop trend lines for the former state legislator from Douglas County. And I don’t expect Rasmussen to poll Cleve Tidwell any time soon.


  1. says

    Interesting. Either Ken Buck is surging or Bill Ritter is sinking. Most likely a combination of both.

    Buck and Norton have campaign teams in every county. Norton’s look like a bunch of old warriors. Wonder what Buck’s teams look like? Whose teams will really get out and knock on doors?

  2. a.stewart says

    The only trend here is that voter are now consistently rejecting Bennet. However, they are steadily endorsing and supporting Norton – in fact she went up one point. Her consistent conservative stands are earnng her consistent support.

  3. says

    Don, you raise good points. We’ll have to see how those questions are answered, but it looks like a good, old-fashioned, healthy primary competition is going on.

    a.stewart, I appreciate your support for Jane Norton, but don’t think your conclusion is entirely accurate. Sure, voters rejecting Michael Bennet across the board is a significant part of the equation. But in the same time span that Norton gained one point, Buck gained five. Something else has to account for that, too.

  4. Keith says

    Ken Buck’s surge is certainly an indication he is garnering name recognition outside of his home base of Weld County. When the rest of the state gets to know him he will be a formidable foe for Norton in the primary. My guess is his numbers will continue to improve. That cannot be good news for Norton.

  5. Edward Cullen says

    You’re completely missing the point of the poll. The simple fact of the matter is that Jane Norton is our strongest candidate and has the best chance of winning. Furthermore, Norton is a true conservative, so this notion that Buck’s values are more in touch with conservatism is bogus.

    As a long time Colorado resident, I’ve watched what has happened in elections (especially in Colorado) for the past 5 years. Quite frankly, It infuriates me when our side bickers to the point where the candidate who wins is so damaged he or she cannot win the general elections.

    Then what are we stuck with? That’s correct, another democratic victory in the state of Colorado.

    I implore you to embrace Jane Norton has our candidate. She’s a true conservative, one that will make the people of Colorado proud. I’ve met Ken Buck (he did a meet and greet in my home town not too long ago), he’s a nice guy, but he cannot win this election.

    Ben I’ve met you a couple of times and have read your blog for awhile. I want you to give Norton a chance and stop trying to spin things in Buck’s favor. If I had read that article not knowing who you were I would assume that you working on Buck’s campaign, your better than that. Your previous work has always been fair and balanced (at least for us conservatives), please return to your roots.

  6. says

    Edward, Thanks as always for your comments. I don’t believe I have ever suggested that “Buck’s values are more in touch with conservatism.” I have plenty of readers and other friends from both camps, and I am on good terms with both campaigns. I have not yet decided whom to support, but appreciate your encouragement.

    I am not interested in seeing bickering and smear tactics, not in the least. If I saw Ken Buck taking a Holtzman approach, I’d be among the first to call him out on it. However, a primary contest in this race can be very helpful to the Party, and actually will be very important in keeping the grassroots engaged and active. I am in fact proud to see how the fiscally conservative grassroots engaged this race early and has kept the candidates on message and engaged in their interests. I understand where you’re coming from, but I don’t see the urgency in everyone embracing one candidate at this point. Let the caucus / assembly process play out.

    You are entitled to your opinion about who can and cannot win the election, and you’re welcome to persuade others of your views, but I don’t necessarily agree. While before comparing these poll numbers I would have concluded that Norton looks like the strongest general election candidate in the field, and I still do, it’s hard to dismiss Buck (or even Wiens) altogether at this point.

    Perhaps what it boils down to is that I’m more comfortable letting the process play out. As far as Colorado’s Senate race goes, I’m not interested in tearing down any of the candidates except to let Michael Bennet continue to tear himself down.

    But always feel free to tell me where you think I’m wrong. I enjoy the debate and discussion that can only serve to strengthen and hone the Party, and clarify our focus on conservative values and goals.

  7. Edward Cullen says

    Your comment is why I have come to respect you and your blog. I too think that competition is healthy and a primary will sharpen our candidate in the general. I am not for narrowing it down to one candidate just yet.

    I am however for reporting actuality. What actually happened in that poll was that (with the margin of error) we had two candidates equal with Bennet and one that was significantly ahead. It felt to me that you were downplaying Norton and even suggesting she is losing ground while promoting one candidate (Buck) over another.

    My concern stems from the whole McInnis controversy. I hope that Jane won’t get unfairly lumped into McInnis’ category. The parties and 9/12 groups are rejecting McInnis for various reasons. In my opinion one of them is that some feel he is not a true conservative.

    I have implored the members of our Tea Party to give Norton a fair chance. She is a true conservative and holds our values. And reading your recent blog, I was a bit disappointed that you downplayed her success in the recent Rasmussen Poll.

  8. says

    Perhaps my post downplayed her success in the poll. My impression was that plenty of others (including the Denver Post, local and national blogs) had covered that as the headline story. I was trying to look at it from a different angle. The overall #1 story from the poll to me is that Michael Bennet has sunk like a rock below 40 percent and is highly vulnerable. I just assumed that Norton’s lead was obvious, and was trying to add something different to the discussion. But folks like you help keep me honest!

  9. kevinallen says

    I’m more impressed that something like 46% of Coloradans say Ken Buck represents their values, to nortons 23%. That should be all we need to know!
    Ken Buck has my vote.


Leave a Reply