Democrats appear to have a lot of work ahead going into the elections this November.

Senator Michael Bennet, who fought off fellow Democrat Andrew Romanoff, apparently faces a tough battle in attempting to win an election for the first time in his career.

The senator, who was appointed by Governor Bill Ritter last year, is trailing Tea Party darling/Republican Ken Buck in a first-of-the-cycle Reuters/Ipsos poll: Bennet takes 40 percent to Buck’s 49 (via Talking Points Memo).

Moreover, TPM’s poll average shows Buck leading Bennet 46.4 to 42.4, and a trend line on the new poll shows Buck has momentum.

Bennet might try to slow that drive with a new report from The Denver Post revealing that “Buck has requested at least $5 million in earmarks and grants for Weld County projects, despite signing a national ‘no earmarks’ pledge and repeatedly railing against the pork-barrel practices while campaigning.”

The Reuters/Ipsos poll also shows strong support for Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes, who has twice the support of fellow conservative Tom Tancredo, the former GOP congressman running under the banner of the American Constitution Party (via The Huffington Post).

Maes has 33 percent to Tancredo’s 16 percent. Moreover, the poll finds that if Tancredo wasn’t in the race, Maes and Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, the Democrat, would be tied at 45 percent.

As ColoradoPols notes, “Democrats would be fools to ignore the trajectory. A long campaign season lies ahead.”