08 February 2010

Romanoff Leads Bennet In CO-Senate Polls

The latest poll in the U.S. Senate race in Colorado shows Democrat Andrew Romanoff leading by seven percentage points relative to incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet against presumptive Republican nominee Jane Norton. Romanoff trails Norton by seven points, Bennet by fourteen.

Early polling doesn't mean much. But, Romanoff's polling lead counterbalances the fact that Romanoff has a far smaller campaign war chest and has raised less money generally, because Romanoff's donors give less each than Bennet's donors (they have similar numbers of donors) and because Romanoff started his campaign later.

Bennet's campaign has argued vigorously that Romanoff doesn't have an ability to raise enough money to be competitive because Romanoff has imposed voluntary limits on his own fundraising. But, it is hard to argue that you are the more electable candidate when your competition leads you in the polls. Strong polling also makes it easier for a candidate to raise funds. Nobody wants to contribute money to a campaign that will lose anyway.

While Romanoff trails Bennet in fundraising, he already has a valuable intangible asset on his balance sheet. Romanoff has name recognition and credibility earned from his meteoric political career in the state that Bennet must buy through advertising with campaign contributions. Romanoff's intangible edge is even greater in the caucuses and Democratic party primary, whose participants are more likely to know Romanoff than the members of the general public.

Also, rightly or wrongly, many Romanoff supporters believe that Bennet would be morally obligated to use unspent campaign funds to support Romanoff if he was defeated in the primary. I haven't researched what happens to unspent campaign funds of candidate's defeated in primaries, let alone what particular candidates actually do. But, the belief itself undercuts the argument for Bennet from fundraising prowess that his campaign has heavily relied upon so far.

No comments: