DENVER – Two-thirds of Coloradans oppose Governor John Hickenlooper’s decision to block the execution of convicted murderer Nathan Dunlap, and the Democrat is now polling more-or-less even with his potential Republican challengers, according to the results of a new Quinnipiac survey.
Former U.S. Representative and 2010 independent candidate for governor Tom Tancredo was closest to Hickenlooper, trailing the Democrat by a razor-thin 1-point margin (42 percent to 41).
Tancredo led Hickenlooper among men by a wide 13-point margin (48 percent to 35), and had a comfortable 7-point lead over Hickenlooper with white voters (47 percent to 40). By contrast, Hickenlooper led Tancredo among women (49 percent to 35), and received higher marks from Hispanic voters, leading Tancredo among the group by more than 30 points (55 percent to 19).
Hickenlooper enjoyed a similarly slim 2-point lead over the other announced Republican candidate for governor, incumbent Secretary of State Scott Gessler, 42 percent to 40.
Like Tancredo, Gessler led Hickenlooper with men (47 to 34 percent), and with white voters (45 percent to 38); while Hickenlooper led with women (50 percent to 34), and Hispanics (59 percent to 19).
A third potential GOP challenger, State Senator Greg Brophy of Wray, who has not yet announced his candidacy but is widely expected to do so later this year, trailed Hickenlooper by 6 points (43 percent to 37).
Like Tancredo and Gessler, Brophy led Hickenlooper among men (42 percent to 36) and white voters (42 percent to 40); while Hickenlooper outpolled the eastern plains lawmaker among women (50 percent to 32) and Hispanic respondents (58 percent to 21).
The poll did not test another rumored Republican candidate for governor, 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler. The 18th Judicial District includes Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln Counties.
Hickenlooper’s controversial decision to prevent the scheduled execution of convicted murderer Nathan Dunlap appears to have been highly unpopular, and could be contributing to Hickenlooper’s weakening support.
When asked if they approved or disapproved of Hickenlooper’s decision to spare Dunlap, 67 percent of respondents said they disapproved, compared to just 27 percent who said they approved — and 74 percent of those polled said that the death penalty would be either “very important” or “somewhat important” in deciding which candidate to support for governor.
More than two-thirds of those polled, 69 percent, said that they did not support abolishing capital punishment – showing little change from a survey on the topic conducted late last year.
The Quinnipiac University poll of 1,065 registered voters was conducted between June 5 and June 10, and has a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.