Harstad: Norton 43%, Bennet 40%

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.

30 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. caroman says:

    And I mean you, JO!

    I especially like the paragraph about how accurate Harstad Research is, particularly compared to Rasmussen.

    • harrydobyharrydoby says:

      With plenty of time to spend with her family.

      LB, please save this posting for later 😉

    • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:


      • Laughing Boy says:

        You’re back!

        It’s only witty and funny when I do it.

        How brutal is it going to be for you when she wins?  She’s up by 12 in the latest poll, and we’re looking at a major implosion if Bennet votes for Obamacare.

        If Kennedy’s seat is in play in blueblueblue Mass., don’t you think Bennet’s sweating a little right now?

        • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

          You’re going to get every teabagger and Rush Limbaugh proselyte to max out in every Senate race in the country? Apples and oranges, but intellectual fraudulence is nothing new to you.

          I know you’ve got a GOP poll, I’ll match it with Harstad showing the race inside the margin of error with better methodology.

          Speaking of which, do you agree with Norton that we should abolish the Department of Education and the federal government should have “no role” in health care? Do you believe Obama cares more about “terrorist rights” than your safety?

          Also, since we’ve bargained away everything you used to call “Obamacare,” why do you still call the current bill that? Is it because you are a hack who has to disparage the bill no matter what for pure politics – like all Republicans?

          • Laughing Boy says:

            Speaking of which, do you agree with Norton that we should abolish the Department of Education and the federal government should have “no role” in health care?

            1. Yes, for now.  We need to scrap the whole system and outlaw the union, and start a new union that is actually interested more in kids’ success than their fucking union.

            2. The Government should have a very limited role in health care.  I’d like to see available government insurance and subsidies for people that can’t get health insurance or can’t afford it.  But I don’t believe in that option being a trojan horse to eliminate private insurance, which is exactly what the public option in the House bill was.  I also don’t believe the government can mandate the purchase of health insurance.

            Do you believe Obama cares more about “terrorist rights” than your safety?

            No.  But I think that’s the result of his desire to appear to be fair, and some terrible decisions regarding civilian vs. military trials.

            How’s that for straight answers to your questions?

            BTW, I call it Obamacare not as a pejorative, but just for identification.  It’s whatever comes out of Congress at this time.

            Here’s the real test:  can you respond without insulting me?

            • JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

              1. I think you are more interested in bashing unions than in rationally comprehending what they do. Having said that Obama’s Education Department is making reforms that the union may not like but are steps in the right direction. “Abolishing” Ed is silly Teabagger ranting. And btw, you’re not confusing the Department of Ed with the NEA, are you?

              2. Cool. Norton answered “yes” when asked if the government should have NO ROLE. How do you reconcile that with what you say you want, however limited? Again, Norton is spewing nonsense.

              3. So you do not agree with Norton? Why do you think she would say something so incendiary then?

              And to conclude:

              BTW, I call it Obamacare not as a pejorative, but just for identification.  It’s whatever comes out of Congress at this time.

              Is laughable but most revealing, I’m going to stop before I insult you ’cause that’s basically the next thing to do.  

            • Ralphie says:

              It’s whatever comes out of Congress at this time.

            • Ralphie says:

              It’s whatever comes out of Congress at this time.

              • Laughing Boy says:

                Did you get JeffcoBlue’s approval, though?  Let’s get something and stick with it.

                Um, David – I know you couldn’t possibly have had a straight face when you typed that.

  2. RedGreenRedGreen says:

    about Romanoff-Norton?  

  3. BoulderDem says:

    I’d laugh off the Harstad numbers as desperation in a losing situation (Rasmussen is only about 3-4 points GOP leaning … not like they’re off the reservation completely). But since Norton’s fundraising was miserable this quarter ($500k is a good take for a HOUSE race, not a Senate, and she’s still got a primary to fund with one self-funder in it) and she’s only got three quarters to go, she’s still a big underdog. It seems as though the energy in the GOP is not in her corner, and that’s deadly. Bennet is going to be able to outspend her 5:1 at this pace, more if as expected Romanoff drops out or he self-funds (which he can). By the usual metrics that’s worth 10 points at least.

    Money talks, especially in statewide races.  

    • BoulderDem says:

      that the 4th quarter of the year before the election is traditionally the biggest quarter of them all. You aren’t doing ANYTHING except raising bucks.

      I think they’re a lot of GOP institutional supporters wondering if one of the others might just be a better candidate right now …

  4. JeffcoBlueJeffcoBlue says:

    This is additional information about Rasmussen sent out with the poll Pols posted:


    Polling Conducted by Rasmussen Reports Consistently Favors Republican Candidates and Causes. This isn’t especially surprising, since Scott Rasmussen is a Republican Pollster. Moreover, there’s plenty of reasons to believe that the firms current polling model is flawed and their results are wrong.


    Rasmussen Is A Republican Pollster. According to the Center for Public Integrity, Scott Rasmussen, Inc. received $95,500 from the Republican National Committee in 2003 and 2004. The payments were for “Voter Data,” “Survey” and “Survey Cost.” [Center for Public Integrity, accessed 1/15/10]

    Rasmussen Polled for George W. Bush. According to the Center for Public Integrity, Scott Rasmussen, Inc. received $45,500 from George W. Bush in 2004. The payments were for “Survey Research.” [Center for Public Integrity, accessed 1/15/10]

    Rasmussen hides is background. Reported Politico, “While Scott Rasmussen, the firm’s president, contends that he has no ax to grind — his bio notes that he has been “an independent pollster for more than a decade” and “has never been a campaign pollster or consultant for candidates seeking office.”” [Politico, 1/2/10]

    Rasmussen Backs Conservative Narratives. Mark Blumenthal: “Rasmussen produces a lot of data that appear to produce narratives conservatives are promoting.” [Politico, 1/2/10]

    Rasmussen: Republican Results. Reported Politico, “He polls less favorably for Democrats, and that’s why he’s become a lightning rod,” said Charles Franklin, a University of Wisconsin political scientist who studies polling. “It’s clear that his results are typically more Republican than the other person’s results.” [Politico, 1/2/10]

    Nate Silver: Rasmussen More Favorable to Republicans. Wrote Nate Silver on his blog FiveThirtyEight.com, “Rasmussen’s polls this year have tended to be more favorable to Republican candidates and causes than those of most other polling outfits.” [FiveThirtyEight.com, 1/8/10]

    Rasmussen: A Republican-Leaning House Effect. Wrote Nate Silver on his blog FiveThirtyEight.com, “Rasmussen’s polls have a slight, Republican-leaning house effect.” A “house effect” reflects the “tendency of certain polling firms’ numbers to tend to lean in the direction of one or another candidate.” [FiveThirtyEight.com, 8/25/08]

    Rasmussen’s Final Polling Results Showed House Effect in 2006, 2008 Senate Races. In 2008, Rasmussen’s polling results were an average of 0.97% more favorable to Republicans than the actual outcome of the race. In 2006, that number was 1.84%. [Analysis of Rasmussen Reports 2006 & 2008 Senate Scorecards, RasmussenReports.com]

    Rasmussen Most Favorable McCain Pollster in 2008. According to a 2008 Pollster.com article by Charles Franklin, “The poll most favorable to McCain is Rasmussen’s Tracking poll at just less than -3 points. [Pollster.com, 8/24/08]

    Nate Silver: A 2009 Pro-GOP House Effect for Rasmussen. Wrote Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com, compared to other pollsters, “Rasmussen has a different model of what the 2010 election is going to look like, one which will feature a more conservative electorate… What Rasmussen has had is a “house effect”. So far in the 2010 cycle, their polling has consistently and predictably shown better results for Republican candidates than other polling firms have. [FiveThirtyEight.com, 1/3/10]

    Rasmussen: “Tend To Be Among the Worst Polls for Democrats.” Reported Politico, “I think they write their questions in a way that supports a conservative interpretation of the world,” said Mellman. “In general, they tend to be among the worst polls for Democrats, and they phrase questions in ways that elicit less support for the Democratic point of view.” [Politico, 1/2/10]


    Only Pollster To Have Bob Schaffer Winning in 2008. Ever. Rasmussen Reports was the only pollster to ever place Bob Schaffer ahead of Mark Udall in the 2008 Senate race, and they did it twice, in polls in November of 2007 and February of 2008. Throughout the rest of the campaign Rasmussen consistently showed a narrower margin of victory for Udall than other pollsters conducting polls in similar time periods, and their final poll missed Udall’s margin of victory by four points. [Pollster.com 2008 Colorado Senate Polls, accessed 1/15/10]

    Political Scientist: “Huge Concern” That Rasmussen is “Heavily Skewed Toward Older, White Republican Voters.” Reported Politico, “Alan Abramowitz, an Emory University political scientist, said there was “huge concern right now” that Rasmussen was polling a universe of largely conservative-minded voters. “How is Rasmussen selecting likely voters almost a year before the election? And why would you even screen for likely voters in measuring presidential approval?” said Abramowitz. “My guess is that it’s heavily skewed toward older, white, Republican voters.”” [Politico, 1/2/10]

    Nate Silver: Rasmussen Questions “A Form of Bias.” Commenting on the pro-conservative wording of a number of Rasmussen’s questions, Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com wrote “cases like these happen consistently enough with Rasmussen that I’d say it’s a concern. And when they do use unorthodox question wording, nine times out of ten it favors the conservative argument. I would describe this as a form of bias.” [FiveThirtyEight.com, 1/3/10]

    Rasmussen’s Screen Too Tight. Wrote Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.com, “the Rasmussen respondent always seems ready to take a position on just about everything, including candidates and issues that other pollsters show he doesn’t know very much about. This perhaps reflects a form of Type II error or “false negatives” — leaving people out of your sample who should be included, specifically people who are less well informed but who do vote.” [FiveThirtyEight.com, 1/8/10]

    Rasmussen Admits Conservative Screen. Reported Politico, “Rasmussen, for his part, explained that his numbers are trending Republican simply because he is screening for only those voters most likely to head to the polls — a pool of respondents, he argues, that just so happens to bend more conservative this election cycle… But critics note that the practice of screening for only those voters regarded as most likely to head to the polls potentially weeds out younger and minority voters — who would be more likely to favor Democrats than Republicans.” [Politico, 1/2/10]

  5. Emma Anne says:

    Most voters aren’t focussed yet and don’t know either of the candidates, so it makes sense the numbers would break fairly evenly.  

  6. dwyer says:

    I told you all last March and I keep harping on it.  We have one party control of local radio here. KHOW and KOA have tremendous range throughout Colorado.  Eighty hours a week they have LOCAL hosts who attack the dems, relentlessly. The republicans do NOT pay one red cent for all that free air time.

    WTF do you all think that advertising doesn’t make a difference???  I am getting calls from dems begging for money so that they can BUY time on the airwaves.  

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