DENVER – Governor John Hickenlooper remains deadlocked with his Republican challengers, and is trailing with independent voters when matched against his chief 2010 rival, former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, according to a new poll.
The survey, conducted by Quinnipiac University, tested the Democrat against several of the GOP candidates seeking to oust him next year.
In each matchup, the poll showed Hickenlooper clinging to a tenuous single digit lead.
Hickenlooper led Tancredo by a slim 46 percent to 41 percent margin, and Secretary of State Scott Gessler by a similar tally, 45 percent to 40 percent. Former Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp was slightly closer, trailing Hickenlooper 44 percent to 40 percent, and Hickenlooper posted a 44 percent to 38 percent edge over state Sen. Greg Brophy of Wray.
State Republican Party officials were buoyed by the poll, which they say suggests how vulnerable Hickenlooper is going into next year’s election.
“Over the past three years, Gov. Hickenlooper has ignored the people of Colorado and forced through a virulent agenda that is hurting working families, job creators and senior citizens,” Colorado Republican Committee Executive Director Shana Kohn said in a statement. “Today’s poll shows that Coloradans have had enough of Gov. Hickenlooper’s arrogance, and are ready to turn the page on his feckless and divisive legacy.”
Critics have said that Hickenlooper’s sub-50 percent polling numbers are a result of the governor’s focus on divisive social issues, his pursuit of an ideologically liberal agenda on items like gun control, and his widely unpopular decision to block the execution of convicted multiple murderer Nathan Dunlap.
The statement from the state GOP echoed those criticisms, noting that the survey “comes shortly after Hickenlooper’s signature $1 billion tax on working families was trounced in the polls. And after a contentious legislative session where he caved to radical special interests on everything from new regulations on job creators to raising energy rates on rural Coloradans.”
Among independent voters, Hickenlooper trailed Tancredo (43 percent to 41), while splitting even with Gessler (39 percent to 39). Hickenlooper led Brophy (39 percent to 37) and Kopp (40 percent to 38) with the group.
The GOP field all enjoyed a significant lead over Hickenlooper among men, while the Democrat led among women.
Nearly half of those surveyed – 49 percent – said Hickenlooper did not deserve to be re-elected.
“Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper does not have much room to breathe the Rocky Mountain air, and certainly no clear sailing back to the statehouse,” said Quinnipiac’s Tim Malloy in a statement.
One bright spot for Hickenlooper was his edge with Hispanic voters against each of his rivals. Among the group, the governor led Tancredo (60 percent to 20), Gessler (56 percent to 23), Brophy (55 percent to 23) and Kopp (59 percent to 19) by similarly large margins.
The survey polled 1,206 registered voters between November 15 and 18, and has a margin of + / – 2.8 percentage points.