Poll watch: Dems well positioned in Colorado, Hawaii

Public Policy Polling wasted no time before conducting its first poll of Colorado’s Senate race, testing two of the best known Democratic contenders against high-profile potential Republican challengers:

  • Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper beats former Governor Bill Owens 54% to 42%; he crushes Rep. Tom Tancredo 54% to 37%.
  • Rep. Joe Salazar beats Owens 52% to 43% and Tancredo 53% to 40%.

All four of these candidates have enough of a statewide profile to make the poll worthwhile; and the results are very encouraging for Democrats. Owens, who was Governor until 2006, is generally considered to be the strongest Republican candidate - and he isn’t even a sure candidate since he passed on an open seat race in 2008. Tancredo, on the hand, faces clear electability issues; he is a controversial figure with a very conservative profile. That Owen is only minimally outperforming Tancredo is a troubling sign for the GOP.

Has Colorado swung so blue that any Republican would start the race with a double-digit deficit? And don’t forget that whichever Democrat is nominated will have been a two-year incumbent by the time he faces voters in 2010, making the Republicans’ task even more daunting.

In Hawaii, meanwhile, a Research 2000 poll tested a match-up between longtime incumbent Daniel Inouye and the only Republican who could make the race competitive, Governor Linda Lingle. Lingle is term-limited and cannot run for re-election in 2010; in other words, she has nothing to lose in a senatorial run.

Inouye leads 53% to 42%, a significant though not overwhelming advantage that could reassure both parties. On the one hand, Lingle’s 2002 election might have been a major breakthrough for Hawaii Republicans - but she is not popular enough to endanger the Democrats’ control on the Senate seat (for now). And despite his old age (he is 84), Inouye retains a good approval rating (58% to 37%).

On the other hand, these numbers suggest that Lingle would have a shot at an upset, especially if Inouye has a few senior moments. Furthermore, Lingle could be a formidable candidate if Inouye were to retire. She also has a solid approval rating (53% to 41%); if she remains within 11% of Inouye - who has represented Hawaii in Congress since it achieves statewood - she could certainly be competitive against other Democrats.

6 Responses to “Poll watch: Dems well positioned in Colorado, Hawaii”

  1. 1 Jaxx Raxor

    There is little chance that Lingle could beat Inouye, and that she would even bother to run against him, however the poll does show that she would definitly be competive if Inouye changes his mind and decides to retire. However, one impedient to her would be Barack Obama’s overwhelming popularity in Hawaii, and he would surely campaign for whomever the Democratic candidate it and impede Lingle a great deal.

    The Colorado polls are simple bad news for the GOP. If Owens, the strongest GOP candidate, is behind by double digits, then the GOP has no chance. Perhaps I am wrong and Nevada truly is the weakest Democratic seat..although it is still a bit of a streach to see Reid losing.

  2. 2 Teezy

    I’m surprised that Owens isn’t doing better in the polling, but then again PPP has a spotty record with accuracy, so I wouldn’t bet on their numbers.
    Tancredo though…augh…he’s a one note loser. If the CO Republicans nominate him, then they deserve to lose in a landslide. Maybe Elway would make a good candidate, but it’s way too early to tell.

  3. 3 Panos

    Actually PPP was one of the best pollsters of this election troll. Eh, sorry…
    I mean Teezy.

  4. 4 fritz

    Pollster accuracy is a matter of debate with each side having its favorites. The points on his/her comment are all within the bounds of good debate.
    As one who has had some past “discussions” with Teezy on this blog I would not insinuate that he/she is a troll. I’m glad there are a few Republican supporters who are not intimidated by the posters here and are still willing to post opposing views.

  5. 5 Jaxx Raxor

    I agree with Fritz. Teezy isn’t a troll, but he/she just seems to be a Republican, and oftens makes pretty good and valid points.

  6. 6 Panos

    Fair enough.
    But to present PPP, which nailed Indiana and North Carolina among others, the closest states of this election, as the second coming of Zogby is a bit disingenuous.

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