McInnis v. Penry v. Ritter


On the heels of its Colorado Senate poll showing good news for Ryan Frazier, Rasmussen has published a poll on the governor’s race that Scott McInnis supporters are touting, and that can’t make Gov. Ritter very happy.  While McInnis leads Ritter 44-39, Penry polls in a dead heat with the next former governor, trailing 41-40.  McInnis will spin this as showing he’s stronger against Ritter, although much of the strength vs. Penry is still a result of statewide name recognition.  Penry will claim that despite still struggling to make himself known outside the party, almost half the state is ready to vote for him in the general.

Of greater interest, according to Rasmussen, is the very favorable-very unfavorable ratings for the Republican challengers.  McInnis leads here with a +10 (18-8), while Penry trails at a -3 (8-11).  Some of this may be that McInnis has been out of office for a while, and Penry is having to lead a party in office.  I doubt that it’s due to Mike “The Headless Chicken” Huttner’s attempts to portray the financial crisis as the “Bush-Penry recession.”

The election should, of course, be a referendum on Ritter’s performance, and in this regard he’s in some serious trouble.  Among those likely voters with strong opinions about his performance, Ritter has an abysmal -14 rating, with 29% strongly disapproving, and 15% strongly approving.  He’s not getting points for not deferring to Big Labor on important issues, and one presumes that the Car Tax is beginning to take its toll.

However, the fact that only 20-25% of voters have strong opinions about the Republicans leaves room for the CODA spin machine and the MSM (but I repeat myself) to help define the Republicans, and at this point, McInnis is only slightly less vulnerable to that than Penry is.   However, the legislative session is likely to be contentious, with the Democrats threatening to ram through a state-wide health care takeover of their own, and likely to pick fights on issues designed to paint Penry into a corner.  How he manages that will go a long way to determining his viability in the primaries.