DENVER — A Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday shows Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper trailing for the first time in his bid for reelection as his job approval and favorability ratings decline.
Republican Bob Beauprez leads Hickenlooper by 44 to 43 percent, a virtual tie that’s within the survey’s margin of error, but an indicator that the governor may be in for the political fight of his life.
“Coloradans seem generally optimistic about the future and confidant in the state’s economy. But that is certainly not enough to open the way for a smooth ride to reelection for Gov. John Hickenlooper,” said Tim Malloy, the poll’s assistant director, in a statement.
Hickenlooper also saw his job approval rating drop from 52 to 48 percent since Quinnipiac’s April 23 survey. The Wednesday poll found that 48 percent approve and 46 percent disapprove of his job performance.
Hickenlooper’s favorability rating was also split, with 43 percent of Colorado voters surveyed viewing him favorably and 42 percent unfavorably. Those numbers were also down from the April split of 51 percent favorable and 37 percent unfavorable.
Malloy suggested that Beauprez, the former congressman, may be “enjoying a bounce after his Republican primary win,” but two other polls taken after the June 24 primary found Beauprez either tied with or trailing Hickenlooper.
Only 42 percent of those polled said Hickenlooper deserves to be reelected, while 48 percent said he didn’t deserve reelection. That’s a significant drop from April, when 47 percent said he deserved reelection and 43 percent said he didn’t.
Hickenlooper hasn’t had a great summer, struggling without success to pull together a special session on oil and gas development. Meanwhile, a video that went viral last month shows him apologizing to Colorado sheriffs for failing to meet with them before he signed gun-control legislation in 2013, then blaming his decision on a staffer.
A large numbers of voters still don’t know enough about Beauprez to form an opinion, but most of those who do know him like him.
Beauprez’s favorability rating was 31 percent favorable to 25 percent unfavorable, with 43 percent saying they didn’t know enough about him to form an opinion. In April, 52 percent said they didn’t know enough about him.
Hickenlooper’s slide came even though Coloradans said they’re generally positive about the state’s economy. The poll found 64 percent describing the state’s economy as “excellent” or “good,” while 35 percent say “not so good” or “poor.”
“The state’s economy is getting better, 49 percent of voters say, while 12 percent say it’s getting worse and 38 percent say it’s the same,” said the poll, which noted that only Iowa voters were more optimistic about the economy.
The poll surveyed 1,147 registered voters from June 10-14 with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points, using live interviewers calling land lines and cell phones.