With caucuses looming, Colorado is tight

Former Colorado Lt. Gov. Jane Norton (R) is in a statistical tie with Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) heading into their party's precinct caucuses next week, according to a Public Policy Polling (D) survey.

The Colorado Senate race has lacked much in the way on non-Rasmussen polling. While that firm has shown Norton with a significant lead on Bennet, the new PPP survey and a January Research 2000 poll for the liberal website Daily Kos have shown the race effectively tied.

PPP has both candidates at 43 percent while Research 2000 had Bennet up 40-39.

First, though, both Norton and Bennet face key tests when party activists begin weighing in next week. Bennet is facing a primary challenge from state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, who could make a strong showing in the caucuses. Norton could also face some anti-establishment fervor, with Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck beating her in a series of recent straw polls.

Precincts caucuses eventually lead to a state assembly, where Romanoff or Buck could get a boost with a win.

Romanoff leads Norton 44-39 in a prospective general election matchup.


Romney leads big in Florida, Colorado

Mitt Romney is the man to beat in Florida and Colorado, according to new polling from Public Policy Polling (D).

PPP finds Romney, in a three-way race with Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin, leading by wide margins in both states.

Florida: Romney 52, Huckabee 21, Palin 18

Colorado: Romney 44, Palin 25, Huckabee 17


Another poll has Crist down 30-plus

We have confirmation of the Public Policy Polling (D) survey that showed Marco Rubio doubling up Charlie Crist.

Now InsiderAdvantage (for the Florida Times-Union) shows Rubio ahead by a similar margin -- 60-26, rather than PPP's 60-28.

One poll can be an outlier. But now we are forced to believe that Crist's 50-point lead has turned into a 30-point deficit.


More Crist-as-independent fodder

Another poll shows Charlie Crist would be better off running as an independent.

Public Policy Polling (D), which on Tuesday showed Crist trailing Marco Rubio 60-28 in the GOP Senate primary in Florida, now shows Crist running a much-closer second in a three-way general election matchup between him, Rubio and Rep. Kendrick Meek (D-Fla.).

The poll has Rubio holding his lead at 34 percent, with Crist at 27 percent and Meek at 25 percent. It echoes a January poll by Republican pollsters Fabrizio, McLaughlin and Associates that showed Rubio at 31, Crist at 26 and Meek at 24.

In a straight Rubio-versus-Meek race, PPP has Rubio leading 44-39, which is notably his smallest margin since late last year. PPP also notes that there are more undecided Democrats than Republicans in that matchup, so the race could close even more.

Democrats think this race is becoming more and more competitive as Crist implodes, and they appear to have a point.


GOP internal shows Rep. Connolly trailing

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) is the latest Democrat on the short end of a poll.

Connolly's 2008 opponent, Keth Fimian, released a poll Tuesday showing the incumbent trailing 40-35 in a head-to-head matchup. The McLaughlin and Associates poll surveyed 300 likely votes in late February and early March and showed Fimian ahead 43-28 among independents.

Connolly dispatched Fimian 55-43 in 2008, but the district went even more for President Obama -- 57-42. It was hard to see this race emerging as a top target at the start of the cycle, but Fimian has plenty of money and looks to be making this a race. And the man Connolly replaced, former Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), has said districts like his old one should be in play for the GOP.

Of course, first Fimian has to deal with the matter of a June 8 primary with Fairfax County Supervisor Pat Herrity.

UPDATE: Democrats note that Fimian released a poll in July 2008 (when nobody knew who he was and Connolly was well-known), showing him trailing Connolly by just four, 29-25. He wound up losing by 12.


Dems holding lead on generic ballot

Republicans seem to have all the momentum, but Democrats still hold the edge on the generic ballot, according to Gallup.

The latest Gallup poll shows voters still prefer Democrats to Republicans when it comes to their congressional district, 47-44.

The difference here appears to be that those 44 percent who will vote for Republicans are a lot more pumped up to do so. But if those Democratic-leaning voters find some reason to vote, maybe Democrats can avoid huge losses.


Anti-establishment fever? Paul, Mongiardo lead big in new poll

Kentucky primary voters appear to be spurning the establishment.

Anti-establishment candidates Rand Paul and Daniel Mongiardo have opened up wide leads in their respective Senate primaries, according to a new SurveyUSA poll.

The survey shows Paul, an eye surgeon and son of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), leading Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson 42-27 on the GOP side and Mongiardo, the state's lieutenant governor, leading Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway 45-27 among Democrats.

The poll also reinforced the toss-up nature of the general election, with Republicans holding a statistically insignificant 43-42 lead on the generic ballot.

Results of head-to-head general election matchups were not provided in the poll, which surveyed more than 1,000 likely primary voters overall and was conducted for local media outlets.

All four candidates recently went up with their first TV ads. The primary is set for May 18.


After helming DSCC, Menendez will have own reelect to worry about

We've said before that 2012 will be a very difficult year for Senate Democrats. They have only a couple real targets on the map and will be defending about two dozen seats overall -- many of which could be competitive.

DSCC Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) could be in one of them.

A new Fairleigh-Dickinson poll shows Menendez leading 2006 GOP nominee Tom Kean Jr. within the margin of error, 39-38, in a potential rematch. The poll shows Menendez with a 29 percent favorability, compared to 25 percent unfavorable. Kean's split is 28-11.

Menendez holds a more comfortable lead -- 43-25 -- over state Sen. Mike Doherty.


Few chinks in Boren's armor

Many Blue Dogs are in trouble, but Rep. Dan Boren (D-Okla.) doesn't appear to be one of them.

Despite representing a district where President Obama has a 27 percent approval rating, Boren has a 51 percent approval rating, with just 33 percent of voters disapproving, according to a new Public Policy Polling (D) survey.

He also leads every Republican he is facing by at least 16 points. With no top candidates having signed up to face him, Boren is a strong bet for reelection. He is under 50 percent -- which is generally not a good sign for an incumbent -- but voters aren't picking Republicans on party affiliation alone, as none of them breaks 30 percent in the poll.

Without a well-funded candidate to run against Boren, it's hard to see him not adding a few points and cracking 50 percent.

We keep seeing this over and over again: when Democrats vote the right way, they tend to be OK. Reps. Bobby Bright (D-Ala.) and Larry Kissell (D-N.C.) have been shown to be reasonably strong in early polling, and it shouldn't surprise that a popular true Blue Dog like Boren is holding it down in a tough district.