PPP: Ken Buck 49%, Michael Bennet 48%; Fox says Buck 50%, Bennet 46%
Republican Ken Buck is leading Democrat Michael Bennet 49% to 48% in the final poll by Public Policy Polling. Bennet is leading among those who have voted early 52% to 48%. Buck is leading among those who plan to vote but haven't yet, 55% to 41%. The Fox News poll says Buck leads Bennet 50% to 46%. The margin of victory probably will be one to two points, and warnings that there could be a recount seem to be a little too alarmist.
As PPP says, Buck needs good weather Tuesday because he needs a high turnout of his supporters to win.
If Buck wasn't more moderate on social issues, he'd be winning by a huge margin.
If Bennet wasn't Obama's rubber stamp, he'd be beating Buck easily.
Nationally, despite all of the outside money that has poured into this race from outside groups, this probably isn't an important election unless it determines who will control the Senate. But it looks like Republicans will win seven to eight seats, which will leave the Democrats in control. Neither Buck nor Bennet is likely to determine who will control the Senate.
This means that the outcome of the Colorado race probably won't be critical. For one-issue voters on both sides, this could affect how independents and moderates who are concerned about the social issues and who controls the Senate will vote.
For example, an independent who wants to give control of the Senate to the Republicans but opposes Buck's positions on social issues and separation of church and state could decide to vote for Bennet because neither guy will determine who is in control of the Senate next year.
Or someone who agrees with Buck on social issues but wants Democrats to keep control of the Senate could vote for Buck figuring that he won't be the deciding vote when it comes to deciding who will control the Senate.
Many voters, however, will vote on one or two big issues. Some will vote for Buck because of his positions on social issues and the economy. Others will vote for Bennet because of his positions on social issues and because he is one of the strongest supporters of President Obama's agenda in the Senate. A few voters will vote for the guy they like or trust most, but that looks pretty much like a wash.
Bennet definitely has won the debates and run a much better campaign than Buck. But Buck probably is the better campaigner, except for his foot-in-mouth problem.
Both candidates have been easy targets for attack ads. The polls are indicating that the attack ads have worked equally well for both candidates and that turnout will decide the election. The candidate with the best ground game will win.