A new poll from Quinnipiac University of Colorado issues and our gubernatorial race contains new and old lessons:
Colorado voters give Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper a split approval rating and more voters say he does not deserve to be reelected, but he has small leads against possible Republican challengers in an early look at the 2014 governor's race, according to a Quinnipiac University poll completed last night and released today.
Gov. Hickenlooper gets a 48 percent approval rating, while 46 percent disapprove, almost identical to his 48 – 44 percent approval rating in an August 23 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University. Voters say 49 – 42 percent today that the governor does not deserve reelection, also little changed from August.
But Hickenlooper edges four possible GOP challengers:
46 – 41 percent over former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo;
45 – 40 percent over Secretary of State Scott Gessler;
44 – 38 percent over State Sen. Greg Brophy;
44 – 40 percent over former State Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp.
In other questions, once again voters express overwhelming support for Colorado's new universal background check law for gun purchases. The poll splits support for the new law limiting magazine capacity (49-48%). And again, despite these indicators of support for the legislation actually passed by the Colorado General Assembly, 55% of respondents oppose the amorphous concept of "gun control." As we've said before, this disconnect is evidence of how Democrats lost, at least for the time being, the messaging battle over gun safety legislation. If the public had an accurate understanding of what was passed, they'd be in much better shape politically.
In this statewide poll, 51% of voters support the practice of "fracking" for oil and gas development. They also oppose the pending recall attempt against Sen. Evie Hudak by a 49-38% margin. Both of these questions are less relevant with action on the issues happening at the local level–but certainly message fodder for each.
Gov. John Hickenlooper's polling weakness evidenced by Quinnipiac is offset by the weak field of potential Republican challengers–also a dynamic we've been watching develop over the past few months. That's not the most comfortable position to be in, of course, with a year for impressions to change in either direction. But we do believe that Hickenlooper's advantage over his weak challengers will grow, not shrink, as voters get to know them.
All the details for today's poll here.