While all three races are still competitive, Republican Senate candidates currently have the lead in the hard-fought states of Colorado, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin with just over four weeks left until Election Day, according to polls conducted Sept. 26-28 by the Marist Institute
for the McClatchy newspapers.
The poll of the three states found that Republicans are benefiting from the "enthusiasm gap" in each. Other factors working in the GOP's favor are the issue of the still-struggling economy and President Obama's falling popularity, coming in states that he had carried by 9 points or more in 2008..
All the surveys are of likely voters and the margin of error for all three states is 3.5 points.
Republican Ken Buck, who rode Tea Party fervor to the GOP nomination, leads Democratic incumbent Michael Bennet by 50 percent to 42 percent.
Not surprisingly, two out of three Tea Party supporters back Buck enthusiastically. Fifty-six percent of conservatives are very enthusiastic about voting compared to 36 percent of liberals and 35 percent of moderates.
Voters think the worst is yet to come for the economy by a 49 percent to 41 percent margin.
In the governor's race, the throed-party candidacy of former Republican Rep. Tom Tancredo is giving Democrat John Hickenlooper an easy ride, with Hickenlooper leading with 48 percent followed by Tancredo at 29 percent and Republican Dan Maes at 19 percent.
Republican Pat Toomey leads Democrat Joe Sestak by 51 percent to 42 percent.
Forty-nine percent of conservatives describe themselves as very enthusiastic about voting, 14 points more than liberals and 16 points more than moderates. One measure of the enthusiasm gap can be seen by contrasting Toomey's 9 point advantage among likely voters to the smaller 2 point edge he has when all registered voters are asked their preference.
McClatchy says this is a state where Obama's fallen approval rating has had a marked impact on the Democrats' chances.
In the governor's race, Republican Tom Corbett leads Democrat Dan Onorato 53 percent to 41 percent.
Republican newcomer Ron Johnson leads three-term Democratic incumbent Russ Feingold by 52 percent to 45 percent.
The enthusiasm gap here is again evident in the contrast between the surveys of likely voters and all registered voters. Johnson leads by only 2 points among all registered voters but gets his 7 point margin when only likely voters are counted.
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