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Who is Michael Bennet?
Current job: US Senator from Colorado.
Family: Bennet is married to Susan Diane Daggett, an attorney. Together they have three daughters.
Hometown: New Delhi, India. (Raised in Washington, DC)
Political party: Democratic.
Previous jobs: Chairman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee; Superintendent of Denver Public Schools in Colorado.
Who is Michael Bennet’s direct competition for the nomination?
Based on a recurring series of national surveys we conduct, we can figure out who the other candidates competing in Michael Bennet’s lane are, and who the broader opponents are within the party.
- Business Insider
INSIDER has been conducting a recurring poll through SurveyMonkey Audience on a national sample to find out how different candidate’s constituencies overlap. We ask people whether they are familiar with a candidate, whether they would be satisfied or unsatisfied with that candidate as the nominee, and sometimes we also ask whether they think that person would win or lose in a general election against President Donald Trump.
What are Michael Bennet’s political positions?
- On healthcare:
- Bennet voted for the Affordable Care Act.
- He does not support Medicare for All, but introduced a proposal called “Medicare X” alongside 2016 Democratic vice presidential nominee and Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine.
- Medicare X would create a public option program, allowing individuals to keep private health insurance plans or enroll in Medicare.
- At the second Democratic debates in July, Bennet sparred with progressives over healthcare. He said, “I believe we should finish the job we started with the Affordable Care Act with a public option that gives everybody in this audience the chance to pick for their family whether they want private insurance or public insurance.”
- On immigration:
- Bennet was a cosponsor of the original DREAM Act, which would grant legal status to immigrants who serve in the military or pursue higher education like college degrees.
- He was a member of the Gang of Eight in 2013, a bipartisan group of senators who attempted to push through comprehensive immigration reforms that included a pathway to citizenship for illegal immigrants.
- Bennet is one of the few candidates in the field who does not support decriminalizing authorized border crossings, which would make improper entry a civil infraction instead of a criminal misdemeanor.
- On climate change:
- Bennet is not a cosponsor of the Green New Deal and has not endorsed a specific comprehensive plan.
- During his time in the Senate, Bennet has advocated for tax credits for individuals and families who invest in solar and wind energy.
- On campaign finance:
- Bennet strongly opposes the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
- He is a cosponsor of the DISCLOSE Act, which would require certain political advocacy groups to be transparent about donors.
- On abortion:
- Bennet voted against a Senate bill that would have banned abortions beyond 20 weeks.
- On LGBTQ rights:
- Bennet is an original cosponsor of the Equality Act, which would amend the Civil Rights Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity.
- He has been a longtime supporter of marriage equality and praised the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage.
- He has opposed the Trump administration’s ban on transgenders serving in the military.
- On education:
- Bennet was the superintendent of Denver Public Schools in Colorado.
- He believes in expanding year-round Pell grants.
- He has pushed for broadening technology for schools.
- At the Democratic debates in July, Bennet drew applause for giving a passionate monologue about the current inequities in the US immigration system, saying, “Our schools are as segregated today as they were 50 years ago. We need a conversation about what’s happening now. When there’s a group of kids that don’t get preschool because of no fault of their own, and another does, equal is not equal.”
- On Supreme Court and congressional issues:
- Bennet voted against both of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominees.
- He opposed the decision by Republicans to remove the filibuster for the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch.
- On guns:
- Bennet wants background checks on all secondary firearm sales.
- In 2013, he voted against an amendment that would have reinstated the “assault weapons” ban.
- On criminal-justice reform:
- Bennet’s home state of Colorado fully legalized marijuana for recreational use.
- He supports allowing states to legalize marijuana.
- He is the cosponsor of legislation that would let marijuana companies use banking services.
- On trade:
- Bennet opposes the Trump administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs as a bargaining tactic.
- He has been skeptical of the USMCA trade agreement.
- He also opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
- On foreign policy:
- Bennet voted for a resolution that would have forced the Trump administration to withdraw
- He has supported Juan Guaidó, the Venezuelan opposition leader who is recognized by the United States as Venezuela’s president.
- On taxes:
- Bennet voted against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
- He wants to expand the Child Tax Credit and introduced legislation that would have tripled it.
- He is a member of the Senate Finance Committee, as well as the subcommittee on IRS oversight.
What are Michael Bennet’s political successes?
- Bennet’s legislation to train veterans in energy and cybersecurity fields passed the Senate.
- He holds the record for most viewed floor speech on C-SPAN’s Twitter feed when he railed against Texas Sen. Ted Cruz during the 2019 government shutdown.
- He helped craft the Farm Bills in 2014 and 2018.
- Bennet helped overhaul the No Child Left Behind law.
How is Michael Bennet viewed by voters compared to the competition?
INSIDER has conducted a number of other polls to check in on how these candidates are perceived in comparison to one another. When we asked respondents to one poll to rank how far to the left or to the right they considered the candidates, Bennet was considered to be one of the most centrist or right-leaning candidates in the field. Bennet was in the middle of the field when we asked respondents to rank the candidates based on how prepared they are for the rigors of the presidency given what they knew about their history of public service and experience with government. And when asked how likable or personable respondents perceived the candidates to be, Bennet emerged towards the bottom of the pack, possibly due to his low profile.
Where does Michael Bennet poll best?
Based on the 12 polls conducted by Insider since late August, we can gather a sense of the geographic regions where candidates are overperforming when it comes to how satisfied voters would be if they were chosen as the presidential nominee. Though the first four primaries are in the Western Midwest, New England, the South Atlantic and Mountain regions, the four regions that allocate the bulk of the delegates to the Democratic National Convention are the South Atlantic (16%), Pacific (16%), Mid-Atlantic (16%) and Eastern Midwest (15%).
Voters in New England were most satisfied with Bennet as a candidate at a rate of 6.6 percentage points over other regions. He also does well in the Mountain region (+5.5 percentage points) and Mid-Atlantic (+2.9 percentage points). He polls worst in the Western South region (-6.0 percentage points) and Eastern Midwest (-2.5 percentage points).
Can Michael Bennet beat President Trump?
According to INSIDER’s polling, Bennet is considered by both Democrats and other respondents as a weaker than typical candidate against President Trump, however this is largely owing to his low name recognition and could change with additional campaigning.
How much money has Michael Bennet raised?
Bennet reported raising $2.8 million in the second quarter of 2019 and transferred an additional $700,000 from his Senate campaign fund.
How do Democratic voters feel about Michael Bennet’s qualifications?
INSIDER has conducted polling about how voters feel about candidate attributes or qualifications. We asked respondents about a list of possible qualifications and if they made them more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate for president.
For example, among respondents who said they’d vote in the Democratic primary, 19% said a candidate being a college professor made them likelier to support them, while 4% said it made them less likely to, for a +15% net favorability. We can then see how different candidates’ resumes stack up compared to those preferences.
Attributes perceived as most valuable include his position in the Senate (+40%), that he is a child of immigrants (+21%), has an Ivy league education (+7%) and is a lawyer (+3%).
An attribute considered to be a liability based on the preferences of self-reported Democratic voters is that he grew up wealthy (-42%).