Pollster Schoen: Buck-Bennet Closest Race

Tuesday, 26 Oct 2010 04:49 PM

By David A. Patten

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Democratic pollster and Fox News contributor Douglas Schoen tells Newsmax that the dead-even race between GOP contender Ken Buck and incumbent Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet in Colorado is the tightest midterm contest in the country, and could help determine which party wakes up on Nov. 3 in control of the U.S. Senate.

Buck, Bennet, Schoen, Colorado, SenateA Public Policy Polling survey Monday showed the race deadlocked, with both candidates garnering 47 percent of the likely vote.

"The Buck-Bennet race is the nation's tightest, probably a tad closer than Fiorina versus Boxer in California," says the co-author of "Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement Is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two Party System."

Schoen also tells Newsmax, "I suspect Boxer will win narrowly and Buck will win by an even smaller margin. The ground game will be the key to determining the outcome in Colorado."

Even if Boxer and Buck both win, Schoen says, Republicans would still have to pull off an upset in Washington or West Virginia in order to grab the 10 seats they need to control the Senate.

As an incumbent Democrat, Bennet would ordinarily be expected to mount a stronger get-out-the-vote push than Buck could muster. But Buck continues to have strong support from grass-roots conservatives, who have made a concerted effort to master the political nuts-and-bolts of the phone rooms and door-to-door campaigns that are needed on the precinct level to get candidates elected.

Bennet appears vulnerable. PPP reports that 51 percent of Colorado voters disapprove of his job performance, compared to 40 percent who approve.

Those numbers would ordinarily be fatal in an anti-incumbent wave. But Buck has major popularity issues of his own: Only 44 percent of Colorado voters view Buck favorably.

Writes PPP: "This is going to be a close one and the big trend to watch this final week is what happens with those undecided Republicans who are none too fond of their party's nominee."

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