How close is Colorado’s U.S. Senate race? Campaigns ready for a “dogfight”

Republican Joe O’Dea hopes to unseat Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet

Nick Coltrain
Denver Post
Colorado’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, left, is facing Republican challenger Joe O’Dea, right, in the November election.
Jintak Han and Hyoung Chang/The Denver Post

Recent dueling polls in Colorado’s U.S. Senate race paint pictures of two different contests heading into the traditional start of general election politicking.

The two polls, both from highly rated firms albeit with different political leans, each show incumbent Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet in the lead, but shy of the 50% mark. It’s their findings about Republican challenger Joe O’Dea where they really diverge.

Public Policy Polling, which holds an A- rating from data journalism site FiveThirtyEight and is typically affiliated with Democrats, found 46% of respondents would vote Bennet over O’Dea’s 35% — but 12% are undecided. Further, it found 44% of respondents were undecided on their opinion of the Republican construction company executive.

That poll sampled 782 Colorado voters and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 3.5 percentage points. But, notably, it doesn’t filter by likely voters and 11% of respondents said they either didn’t vote or voted third-party in the 2020 presidential election. The 2020 general election set a record for voter turnout, with nearly 87% of active voters casting ballots. Only about 2.5% of votes for president were for third-party candidates.

Meanwhile, a more opaquely presented poll shows a dead heat, according to the Washington Examiner. According to the Examiner, that poll showed Bennet with 48% support to O’Dea’s 47%, with 5% undecided. However, the Colorado GOP declined to make that poll available to the Examiner or other media outlets, making it hard to suss out the details of the poll and how its findings were characterized.

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