DENVER—Voters are split on whether to reelect Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper but they’re warming up to Secretary of State Scott Gessler, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday.
The poll again shows Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper leading all Republican candidates, but for the first time his closest competitor is the Republican Gessler. The governor runs ahead of Gessler in a hypothetical match-up by a margin of 46 to 40 percentage points.
Previously, Hickenlooper’s closest Republican foe was former Rep. Tom Tancredo, but Tuesday’s poll showed him trailing the governor in head-to-head polling by 48 to 39 percentage points. In August, Hickenlooper and Tancredo were virtually tied at 46 to 45 percent.
The governor leads state Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray) by 47 to 37 percent and former state Sen. Mike Kopp (R-Golden) by 47 to 38 percent.
“We have communicated a clear vision and a common sense conservative message,” said Gessler in a statement. “Voters value the leadership, share the vision and understand that we have what it takes to defeat an incumbent governor.”
Voters were divided 45 to 45 percent on whether Hickenlooper deserves a second term, although that was an improvement over the last Quinnipiac poll in November, which showed only 42 percent of voters saying he should be reelected and 49 percent saying he shouldn’t.
“These numbers shouldn’t give anyone in the governor’s camp cause for celebration,” said Colorado Republican Committee Chairman Ryan Call in a statement. “It’s an underwhelming performance that continues to reflect voters’ disapproval of the governor’s divisive agenda and lack of leadership.”
Hickenlooper’s approval rating took a beating during and after last year’s contentious legislative session when he signed a slate of controversial bills on gun control, green energy and elections, but the poll showed he’s since regained some ground.
Coloradans say they approve of the job he’s doing by a margin of 52 to 39 percent, up from 48 to 46 percent in November.
Assistant poll director Tim Malloy said this is the first time the governor’s job performance rating has topped 50 percent.
“His team may have tanked in the Super Bowl, but Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper gets a bit of good news in improving approval job numbers as no serious challenge to his reelection has been mounted yet,” said Malloy in a statement.
His favorability rating was somewhat lower: 47 percent of Colorado voters polled said they view the governor favorably, while 37 percent view him unfavorably. That’s an improvement over November, when the favorable/unfavorable margin was 48 to 46 percent.
The poll of 1,139 registered Colorado voters was conducted between Jan. 29 and Feb. 2.