New Poll Suggests Democrats Still Looking for Senate Nominee

UPDATE: As 9News reports, it appears that this poll was paid for by supporters of Secretary of State Jena Griswold, so take these numbers with the appropriate grains of salt.

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We finally get a chance today to see the first public polling numbers in the Democratic race for the 2020 U.S. Senate nomination and the right to challenge incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Yuma). We’ve known for some time that Gardner is about as favorable as a sunburn in Colorado, but a lack of available polling information has made it harder to gauge the relative strength of the (many) Democrats in the field.

According to a Keating-OnSight poll of likely 2020 Colorado Democratic Senate Primary voters released today, it would appear that the most likely candidate to become the Democratic nominee has yet to enter the race:

Via Keating Research

 

The obvious takeaway from these numbers is that the race for the Democratic Senate nomination remains virtually wide open, with 42% of respondents saying that they are “undecided” and 15% giving their preference to someone who isn’t even a declared candidate.

Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold was just elected in November 2018 and has not formally announced a Senate bid, yet she trails only former State House Speaker Andrew Romanoff among likely Democratic Primary voters. Romanoff’s numbers here are almost certainly attributable to name ID built up among Democrats over the last 15 years. Griswold’s unfavorable rating of just 4% suggests that her standing among potential voters is entirely related to name ID built up in 2018.

These poll results are disconcerting for candidates such as Alice Madden, Dan Baer, and John Walsh, who each only hover around the 2% mark, but it is former State Senator Mike Johnston who should be really worried. Johnston’s third-place finish in the 2018 Democratic Primary for Governor suggested that he has a solid ceiling in a statewide Primary. These Senate numbers would seem to confirm that belief.

At this time last year, Johnston was coming off a campaign in which more than $7.5 million was spent on his behalf — and he is still only polling at 12% among likely Democratic Primary voters. That’s brutal. Johnston leads the Democratic field in fundraising with $3.8 million in the bank, but that won’t dissuade other potential candidates from entering the race because Johnston will need every dime just to raise his own profile.

This poll isn’t very helpful for the current field of Democratic candidates, but it’s great news for better-known potential candidates such as Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Lafayette), Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-Jefferson County), and former Gov. John Hickenlooper. In other words, the 2020 Senate race hasn’t even really started yet.

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25 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    Are there graphs illustrating the response to the second and third question?  That seems like critical info if the claim is the Democrats are still looking

      • PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

        I feel like something is missing from what I posted.  'Cause I'm not sure where they're getting this from.  Also, that it's there has me wondering if the poll had an opinion already.  Could certainly be me misreading something.

        • kwtreemamajama55 says:

          Keating/ OnSight is not an objective poll.

          Onsight is a "Public Affairs" company, which lists its clients including Andrew Romanoff. They managed his last Senate campaign; however, the link on Onsight's client list goes to Romanoff's current campaign.

          So the "objective poll" was inherently biased towards Romanoff. It should have been presented as an “in-house” poll, which it clearly was. Nothing wrong with that – candidates do in-house polls all the time – except for the lack of disclosure.
          I also have an issue with only one of the 6 female candidates, some of whom have been campaigning far longer than Romanoff has, was even mentioned in the poll.

          For what it's worth, here's a newsflash: the polling company which lists Romanoff as a client finds Romanoff to be the frontrunner, and fails to mention 5/6 of the female candidates running, while mentioning Dan Baer and John Walsh, who are less well known than Lorena Garcia, Stephany Rose Spaulding, or Trish Zornio.  . Sexist? Yes. Self – serving? Yes.

          If you want to meet any of the other candidates running, come to Akron this Saturday, July 13, for a forum. You can see your Chosen One Romanoff debating the candidates that Onsight didn't ask about. . Morgan Carroll will moderate. 

          • JohnInDenverJohnInDenver says:

            Thanks for the info, MJ.

            Anyone know the group who commissioned the poll "Next Senate Pac" ? 

            Methodology of poll is described:

            500 live-interviewer telephone surveys conducted July 1 – 3, 2019, among likely 2020 Democratic Primary voters statewide in Colorado: 60% conducted on cell-phone and 40% conducted on a land line.

            Registered Democrats are 70% of the sample and registered Unaffiliated are 30% of the sample.  For this sample of  500,  the worst case margin of error at the 95% level is plus or minus 4.4%.

            I have no idea how they are guessing at "likely participants" at the proportions they state.  Given the (likely) lack of perceived contests for President and Senator on the Republican side of the primary ballot, I suspect there will be a significant number of Unaffiliated taking part in the Democratic primary.  In the 2018 midterm, there were more Unaffiliated voters than Democrats or Republicans.  Turn-out among the registered was 71% of Democrats and 57% of Unaffiliated,  Among the Unaffiliated, the governors race was about 60 Democrats and 25 Republican.  Taking those numbers, I'd guess the polling firm's 30% expectation would be low.

            • kwtreemamajama55 says:

              "Next Senate PAC" was created in June and has ~ $24K on hand. Its mission:

              This committee supports/opposes more than one Federal candidate and is NOT a separate segregated fund or a party committee.

              I think that Next Senate and Onsight also had unstated missions: 1) to boost the “inevitable nominee” status of Onsight’s client Andrew Romanoff, 2) to pressure Jena Griswold to abandon her work in the Sec State office to get into the Senate race, and 3) to dismiss and make invisible all of the other women and people of color running for the Senate seat, in favor of the white male candidates, who are presumably “more electable”.

              Next Senate PAC appears to be closely affiliated with Onsight/ Keating. Next Senate PAC paid for the Onsight/ Keating poll, and Curtis Hubbard,  ( former Denver Post Editorial page Editor, now Onsight's Public Affairs partner) and Chris Keating were quick to comment to news organizations about this new poll, which Next Senate’s Tim Howard commissioned on behalf of Onsight’s client, Andrew Romanoff. 

              They did not happen to mention that Romanoff is also their client.

              Next Senate PAC’s registered agent is Tim Howard, a big Jena Griswold supporter, and other reporting has suggested that the donations for this PAC were also from Griswold supporters. This supports the idea that this “objective poll” had an unstated political purpose – which was to pressure Griswold into running, and to provide cover for leaving almost all the other women out of the polling.

              The rationale goes: If voters are going to vote for a woman, they should support one who has already won a statewide race. It also completely ignores the objective reality that Griswold needs to stay in her position to consolidate the gains she has made for voters and transparency in Colorado.

              To be clear, I don't necessarily dislike Andrew Romanoff as a candidate. I actually worked for his primary campaign in 2010. 

              I’ve just come to see that he is very much a politician, with a politician’s way of making deals and tailoring his message.

              I dislike the dishonesty and the spin – of  Romanoff's past anti-immigrant statements and sponsored legislation (HD90, HD1023)  without explanation of how his position has "evolved" on this issue. Romanoff has pandered to right wing anti-immigrant sentiment before – I am skeptical that he will stand on his stated position of providing a path to citizenship now, particularly when anti-immigrant sentiment among the powerful is even higher now than it was in 2010.

              I’m also really over these white male operatives deciding who voters get to see as the most viable Senate candidates, not including the women and people of color.

              With the Keating/Onsight poll,  it's dishonest to present an obvious in-house poll as a "public poll" that just happens to show Onsight's client, Andrew Romanoff, as the most viable candidate.

              The Onsight poll also demonstrates "benign neglect" sexism and racism   inherent in not mentioning 5/6 of the 10 Senate candidates, coincidentally, the female 5/6 and the two people of color running (Spaulding and Garcia).

              Spaulding is one hell of a dynamic speaker, as one would expect from a pastor, and can certainly appeal to evangelical voters in a statewide race.

              Lorena Garcia has her own constituencies from years on heading non-profits – She is Latina, LGBT, worked in reproductive rights for years, knows the public services sector inside and out, and has the most clearly articulated progressive issue policies of any candidate.

              The decision to not include most of the women and all of the people of color in the “public poll” was probably not an Andrew Romanoff decision, but a Chris Keating , Curtis Hubbard, and Tim Howard decision. As I said, I’m over it. Call your poll what it is, an in-house poll with an agenda. Poll all the names, and don’t just feature the white males.

              It will be interesting to see how Andrew interacts with the other candidates next Saturday in Akron at the Action Stop.

              Will he be respectful, or dismissive of the other candidates? Will he even show up? He hasn’t showed at the last Morgan County Dems Big 10 event, and the July 13 event is not on his public Facebook page, although he has theoretically “confirmed” for the event.

              • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

                I spotted a thread on Facebook last night where an ex-Dem-elected said this was a push-poll for Jenna, which makes more sense?  It's early, and you know my position on Andrew, but it seems counter-intuitive to the think the objectives could be both 1) boost the inevitable nominee status, and 2) encourage Jenna to jump in.  If it was a push-poll on Jenna (I personally hopes she stays at SOS, we need her there) then the concern about not mentioning the other female candidates may be mis-directed.

                Andrew has been in the political game a long time in Colorado so he has enhanced name recognition by default.  If I was a betting man I'd be betting he'll be in Akron on the 13th. Unfortunately I'm not in the state this weekend so I'll be unable to attend.  I'll look forward to your feedback on the event. I really do wish I could be there.  

                • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                  Pick your paranoia, MJ.

                  This is either a vile male conspiracy to oppress women by electing a male senator, or a push to nominate a woman, Jena Griswold, for the seat.

                  It can hardly be both.

                  For a person who fought desperately to nominate an old white male, Sanders, over a superb woman, Hillary Clinton, to the presidency, your females uber alles except for Jena position seems a bit silly.  But, anyway, pick a side.  Flip a coin if you have to.

          • MADCO says:

             

            "campaigning far longer"

            Boo hoo.

            So what?

             

            I knew Ken Salazar before he ran for Senate. When he announced, unaffiliated though I was, I volunteered. Event after event, even at caucus (my first)all I heard was how great the other guy was, how hard he campaigned, how awesome he would as Senator

            Then, of course I got the Colorado D holier than thou bs. I wasn't a real D, they were there when, years and years of campaigns (mostly losing), etc, etc

             

            Ok, it's all very nice and sometimes even admirable. But if you don't win, no one really cares cause it really doesn't matter.

            Boo hoo 

            • kwtreemamajama55 says:

              By your (inconsistent) logic, no one should support Romanoff, because he hasn't won an election the last 2 times he's run. Alice Madden won 2/3 of her last elections.

              The white guys the poll did cover:

              Romanoff lost 2/3 of his last elections.

              Johnston – term limited out in Senate, lost Gov 2018 election.

              John Walsh was appointed, not elected as Colorado's top  attorney on Federal matters.

              Dan Baer appointed, not elected to Higher Ed board.

              Losers!!!!! "No one really cares because it really doesn't matter." Boo Hoo.

              • MADCO says:

                By my logic, you have mistaken me for someone else.

                 

                – whining about polls is always ridiculous. Worse this far out. Don't like it? Organize, canvas, GOTV, donate or fundraise

                 

                – oooh, but this one is creating an air of inevitability and it's not fair.

                Yeah, play the ump or hit the cut heat. See above.

                 

                – campaigns can be like driving in Rome- what's behind you doesn't matter

                But. Candidate x couldn't win last time- what's changed?

                 

                Politics is HARD.

                Heat, kitchen, hardball, mid, etc.

                You want fair, try lawn bowling. Or Chutes & Ladders.

                 

                 

              • VoyageurVoyageur says:

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                the Bongo Drums. M.J.  Don't forget the Bongo drums!  It's the Madcow.

          • PseudonymousPseudonymous says:

            Andrew Romanoff for Congress would have been Romanoff's earlier House campaign, not his current Senate one.  Also, the reason it points to his current campaign site is that that site is andrewromanoff.com – likely where all his campaigns are run.

            Also, there's no reason to poll Griswold or look for what appears to be a Griswold switch, as I noted, in a Romanoff poll.

            I think you're wrong about this one. I think it much more likely that this was a Griswold poll, or a poll geared toward getting Griswold as a client.

            • kwtreemamajama55 says:

              Even Pols admits that the Onsight poll was a Jena Griswold boosting ploy.

              Whether or not AndrewRomanoff.com is a current or merely a past client of Onsight/Keating,  this is not a legit and reliable poll.

              It is still pretty clearly a Romanoff friendly poll, and also pretty clearly boosts the 4 white male candidates over the 6 female ones. Dan Baer and John Walsh do not have more experience nor name recognition than Stephany Spaulding, Lorena Garcia, Trish Zornio, or Alice Madden. Those women have had plenty of media play. More importantly, they’ve been campaigning all over the state, going to little meet and greets in podunk towns and counties. Neither Baer nor Romanoff nor Johnston have bothered to do that. Walsh showed up at Morgan’s Big Tent dinner last month. Yet Madden is the only one of the 6 women running who Onsight  asked voters about. I don’t think it’s coincidence. 

              If Romanoff truly is the strongest, most electable candidate, let him show it honestly, by acknowledging other candidates and debating in person on the issues. Ignoring and dismissing female and candidates of color is not going to win him any friends or voters.

              We do need some impartial polling on this race, closer to the primary next March. This poll isn’t it.

  2. DaftPunkDaftPunk says:

    Equally valid headline: "Romanoff front-runner in race to which no one is yet paying attention."

  3. doremi says:

    Both Griswold and Neguse need to get some experience under their belts before job-hopping.  Disappointed either is considering it, especially Griswold, who has never held elective office before.  I supported her financially because I liked her message on what she would do if elected to the Secretary of State's job.  Now stay there and do it.

  4. doremi says:

    Both Griswold and Neguse need to get some experience under their belts before job-hopping.  Disappointed either is considering it, especially Griswold, who has never held elective office before.  I supported her financially because I liked her message on what she would do if elected to the Secretary of State's job.  Now stay there and do it.

    Neguse has the additional problem that if he runs and loses, he's out of a seat with a voice.  He needs to build that voice in the House.

    Perlmutter hurt himself when he pulled out of the Governor's race saying he didn't have the fire in the belly anymore.  Senate would require an equally tough belly.

  5. MADCO says:

    I like several people running

    And if I was a more medium information voter, or I was the kind of (knuckleheaded) voter who likes to see a battle for the nomination, somehow thinking blood and struggle are good for candidates, I might answer Undecided, proudly thinking that now the candidates will have to court me or battle each other (somehow a good thing).

    As it is – if polled I would have said Andrew. Then I would have contacted hundreds of eligible voters and told them to do the same just in case.

     

  6. Diogenesdemar says:

    Almost a year before the primary election and some folks still haven’t made up their mind???

    It’s like, I don’t know, maybe they’re just sitting around waiting to see who’s gonna’ eventually be on the ballot, or something???

    Gobsmacked!

  7. kwtreemamajama55 says:

    Doremi is right – Jena Griswold and Joe Neguse need to stay in their positions for at least another election cycle. 

    They have both been remarkably effective- Griswold in promoting campaign and business transparency in the Secretary of State office, Neguse in being an effective progressive voice as a freshman Congressman.

    That said, Curtis Hubbard’s pundit – serving poll pisses me off – it should have at least mentioned the eight other candidates running, instead of speculating on two that are not running, including 6 women, only one of whom he mentioned. Five of thewomen have been all over the state, meeting local rural county folks. Johnston and Romanoff turned our county invitations down – didn’t want to be bothered with small gatherings of rural Democrats. ;

    This graphic is screenshot from a pdf shared by CDP Chair Morgan Carroll:

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