Colorado Pols/RBI Poll: Hancock 41%, Romer 37%

UPDATE: Coverage from FOX 31’s Eli Stokols.


This is a poll of the Denver mayoral runoff race between former Colorado Sen. Chris Romer and Denver City Councilman Michael Hancock, released by Colorado Pols and conducted by Denver-based RBI Strategies & Research. The result of this poll shows a small, well within the margin-of-error lead for Hancock, with 41%, followed by Romer with 37%.

Here’s a detailed summary from RBI research director Kevin Ingham:

RBI Survey Shows Close Race with Hancock Leading Romer by 4 Points

A new survey of likely 2011 municipal runoff voters in Denver shows a close race for the next mayor of Denver.  Just one week after Romer taking the top spot in the first round, Hancock now leads the race for the runoff by a 41% to 37% margin.

In the weeks since RBI’s last survey of the mayoral race, Hancock’s name ID has seen a large boost with only 26% identifying an opinion of him in March and 74% able to identify him now.  Further, Hancock’s favorable name ID now out paces Romer’s with 64% saying they have a favorable opinion and 10% having an unfavorable opinion.  For Romer’s part, he has also experienced a boost in name ID with 51% identifying him in March and 79% able to identify him now.  However, negative opinion of Romer outpaces Hancock with 53% having a favorable opinion and 26% having an unfavorable opinion.

Hancock’s narrow lead is based upon a lead among Democrats, progressives, African Americans and North East Denver voters.  Romer leads among Republicans, men and conservatives.  Undecided voters are disproportionately Mejia voters, Central Denver voters, and those skipped the first round election but plan to vote in the runoff.

RBI Strategies & Research conducted a telephone survey of 400 Denver voters who indicated it was likely that they would vote in the June 2011 Municipal Election.  Interviews were conducted May 9 – 11, 2011 by Standage Market Research of Denver, Colorado, a market research firm specializing in telephone survey interviewing.  Respondents were randomly selected from a list of Colorado voters, purchased from Voter Contact Services, who registered after the 2010 General Election or voted in the 2010 General Election and either 1) voted in at least one off-year election dating back to 2003 or 2) registered after 2009 off-year election.

Today, as a favor to our friends at RBI, we’re releasing the details exclusively via RBI Strategies’ Facebook page. Please click through to get the full toplines and crosstabs for the poll–don’t worry, you can still access the results even if you’re one of the few people online anymore who doesn’t have a Facebook account. But don’t forget to give RBI a ‘Like’ if you do!

Mr. Ingham will join our readers at 1PM today for a Q&A session on the results of this poll. In order to keep things as orderly as possible in what is likely to be a popular discussion, we’d appreciate it if our readers held their questions for Mr. Ingham until 1PM when he arrives to answer them. In the meantime, you’re welcome to comment on the poll results themselves.

Please be respectful in your comments and questions for Mr. Ingham. We appreciate the time that he is making for this Q&A session, and whether you agree or disagree with anything he says, there is NO reason you need to voice your opinion in a rude or disrespectful manner. We will not tolerate bad behavior from anyone during this Q&A session, so please be good Polsters.

87 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. redstateblues says:

    Tebow: 33%

    Orton: 25%

    Tebow is outside the MoE!

  2. Nice work, Hancock team. Favorables are higher than I expected for both. I’m starting to like this race a little more now–looks like it’ll be a contest after all.  

  3. Kevin_Ingham says:

    Looking forward to taking your questions at 1pm right here at Colorado Pols.

    There are some interesting numbers here.

    Also, please like our Facebook page when you download the results.  We occasionally post commentary about Colorado, national and international politics and our page will keep you up to date.

  4. The pollsters obviously haven’t been reading the Polsters:

    Romer Nets Mejia Endorsement (+)

    by: c rork

    Mon May 09, 2011 at 09:49:18 AM MDT

    (That sound you hear? It’s the Fat Lady. She’s warming up. – promoted by Colorado Pols)

    James Mejia will be endorsing Chris Romer in the Denver mayoral race. Romer has been considered the clear frontrunner from the beginning of the campaign for Denver’s next mayor, and this endorsement will only further cement that position in the run-off.

    Any hopes of an “anti-Romer” coalition forming have effectively been ruined. As Pols rightly pointed out, the clout of the 29,170 votes Mejia received is undeniable. Considering Romer’s fundraising prowess and ability to hire on additional field staffers, Hancock faces an uphill battle against an opponent who will undoubtedly pick up donations and volunteers from this endorsement. …

    Then again, what the hell is the difference between these two candidates anyway? You got exactly what you wanted, “Pols,” a runoff that guarantees yet another stinking corporate “Democrat” as mayor of Denver. Congratulations, you fascist handmaidens to the corporate plutocracy. How much do you get paid for selling your souls to the highest bidders via ProgressNever?  

  5. MissingPundit says:

    He needed to define this race early and aggressively if his numbers showed anything close to the same results going into the runoff.

  6. John Tzekara says:

    I’m guessing weighting was done more on geographic and demographic criteria?

    If you look at the percentages on who respondents voted for in the first round, the highest percent goes to Hancock, not Romer.  Also, Mejia voters are very low compared to his first round showing.

    More 1st round Hancock than Romer supporters would obviously tip this in Hancock’s favor…

    For what it’s worth, I don’t have a dog in this fight.  I voted for Mejia and am still deciding.

    • redstateblues says:

      But these are all great questions that I hope Kevin has time address.

    • RedGreenRedGreen says:

      It’s somewhat likely that a strong Mejia supporter or strong Linkhart supporter, say, will be less inclined to vote in the runoff. The voter universe from the first round is not exactly the same as the one for the runoff. The poll uses other methods to identify likely voters (like asking them), it doesn’t try to duplicate the May 3 electorate.

      • John Tzekara says:

        so normally (in my layman understanding) polls are weighted so you get an accurate geographic/demographic sample.  In other words, if by bizarre chance they sample 80% female voters, they only consider 55% percent of them (or whatever the female vote is expected to be).

        In this case, if they happened to hit an oversample of Hancock supporters vs. Romer supporters, that would skew the results.

        Interesting point about Mejia and Linkhart supporters — I would imagine a chunk of them do stay out of it.  Regardless, the Hancock/Romer issue is relevant.

  7. Kevin_Ingham says:

    I’ll try to get to everyone.  Feel free to ask about methodology, demographic trends, or anything else you are curious about.

    Looking forward to hearing from you.

  8. raymond1 says:

    I’m sure your poll is more neutrally done, but isn’t the 4-pt Hancock lead (which you find) quite possibly consistent with the 11-pt lead Hancock’s poll shows — in that if both polls have a 4-pt margin, then your finding is a 0-8 Hancock lead, while Hancock’s finding is a 7-15 pt lead?  I.e., don’t your polls overlap in deeming a 7-8 point lead plausible?

    Also, exactly how to internal polls tend to favor their own candidates? That is, what is it that you’d do to yield a neutral poll, while Hancock’s poll inevitably will favor Hancock, and Romer’s will favor Romer?  Does each canpaign just do like 3-4 polls and publicize only the “best” one?

    • redstateblues says:

      but I don’t think Romer’s internals favored Romer. It also depends on what kind of push they did in the Hancock poll, and whether the numbers they released were pre or post-push–although Hancock’s team says they’re running a clean campaign with no oppo, so that would preclude a push poll.

    • Kevin_Ingham says:

      Hancock’s poll actually had a 15-point lead for Hancock, not 11.  But in any event, I’d say it is very plausible that the results could fall somewhere in between the two surveys.  But I’m reporting our numbers exactly as we have them because that’s where we believe the race to be at this point.

      Internal polls are a waste of money if you write them to favor a candidate on the initial horserace question.  Now, these surveys usually do some message testing (very different from “push polling”) which will test messages favorable to them or negative for their opponent but that is usually only tested after the initial horse race.

      So obviously take internal polls with a grain of salt but they are not inherently biased if the pollster and campaign wrote the poll to be useful to the campaign.  I have every reason to believe that Hancock’s survey was conducted according to the highest methodological standards and the questions were not written to be biased.

      And, yes, campaigns will tend to do several surveys over the course of several months.  Hancock’s survey was in the field the same dates that we were so they are releasing their first survey of the runoff race.

  9. John Tzekara says:


    I allude to this above, but I was wondering about how the 1st round preference results affects the overall results.

    More people you sampled said they voted for Hancock then Romer, and the percentage that said Mejia also seems low compared to the May 3rd results.

    Is there data on people who said they weren’t voting who voted for Romer or Mejia 1st round or is there a problem with an oversample of 1st round Hancock voters or…?

    • Kevin_Ingham says:

      Two things.

      First, anytime you ask someone who they voted for in an election in the past, you can get some weird results.  So this wasn’t a warning sign for me because of the margin of error, my past experience with getting funky results on who did you vote for questions, and that 6% refused.  Those refusing could be romer voters.

      Second, note that 19% of our sample did NOT vote in the first round.  We reported those voters in this question so people knew what our sample looked like.  

      If you only narrow down to those who voted in the first round, the results look like this:

      Hancock: 28%

      Romer: 27%

      Mejia: 22%

      Linkhart: 9%

      Other: 4%

      DK/REFUSED/Can’t remember: 9%

      The actual results were:

      Romer: 28%

      Hancock: 27%

      Mejia: 26%

      Linkhart: 10%

      Other: 9%

      It’s not perfect, but its pretty darn close for a survey with a 4.9% margin of error.

  10. redstateblues says:

    How did you come up with the qualifications to get a call for this poll?

    Respondents were randomly selected from a list of Colorado voters, purchased from Voter Contact Services, who registered after the 2010 General Election or voted in the 2010 General Election and either 1) voted in at least one off-year election dating back to 2003 or 2) registered after 2009 off-year election.

    Why not just ask if they voted in the general? Your universe seems pretty broad. I did notice that 92% said they were either very or somewhat likely to vote in the runoff though.

    • Kevin_Ingham says:

      We release our qualifications for our sample universe because they matter.  A lot.

      Tell me if I am misunderstanding but it seems to me that when you say “voted in the general” you are referring to people who voted in the first round mayoral election, right?

      Run-off elections tend to get an influx of people who didn’t vote in the first round.  In the 2003 Denver mayoral run-off, it was at least 17% new voters (that is, people who didn’t vote in the first round).  In the current Colorado Springs mayoral race, 14% of the ballots case so far (election is on tuesday) were by people who didn’t vote in the first round.

      Our sample has 19% who did not vote in the first round.

      That matters.  According to our numbers, Hancock leads among first round voters.  Romer leads among that 19% who didn’t vote in the first round.

      This leads to part of the reason that we have different numbers than Hancock.  His sample was only voters who voted in the first round.  Ours includes influx voters.

      I don’t claim to be absolutely sure that we pulled the right universe but we went with a universe who we thought were likely vote.  If they aren’t going to vote, they will tell us so.  Better to cast a big net and screen people out than go too narrow and miss a big chunk of the electorate.

      • RedGreenRedGreen says:

        Thank you for stating that explicitly. That makes a lot more sense than the theories put out there that Hancock is “cooking the numbers” or hiring fraudulent pollsters.

        • Kevin_Ingham says:

          that doesn’t explain all of the disparity.  but i wanted to give a little context to the numbers.

          Hancock’s pollster is fantastic and it could be that they are right and we made the wrong assumptions.

          Not sure we will ever know because the results are likely to change a lot between now and election day and these two polls are probably too far out to be predictive of election day results.

      • redstateblues says:

        I think that definitely explains the difference, if the 19% who didn’t vote in round 1 were breaking to Romer.

  11. What insights do the differences in the two candidates favorables/unfavorables give you as to how the remainder of this campaign is likely to be pursued?

    • Kevin_Ingham says:

      And that is reflected in these results.

      Hancock’s message is very much based around a personal story and making an emotional connection with voters.  It’s working.  His favorables have jumped 42% in just a few weeks.  We’ve seen much less about his record as a councilman than we have about his personal background and story.

      Romer’s message is much more issue focused and focuses on his record as a legislator.  So while Romer’s negatives are definitely higher than Hancock’s he does still hold an advantage in terms of who people think will be better on the number one issue in this election: jobs.  Voters think Romer will do better on jobs by a 37% to 30% margin.

      Now, you are seeing Romer trying to cut into those high favorables by bringing attention to Hancock’s record (i.e. choice, pay raise, etc.) because he feels that is a dynamic in which he will fare much better than on personal feelings towards the candidates.

      • redstateblues says:

        What do you expect turnout to be in the runoff? And do you think people will be waiting to turn in their ballots like they did in round 1? If turnout comes in quicker, the likelihood of shifting these numbers goes down.

        • Kevin_Ingham says:

          But in Colorado Springs, which is also all mail in and is currently in a runoff, ballots are coming in faster than in the first round.  Probably because it is easier for folks to make a decision between two candidates.

          As far a guessing turnout, I won’t make a guess because I think the tone that the race takes in the next few days will have an affect on turnout.

          Plus, I don’t want my pride hurt again.  Tyler Chafee from my office predicted a turnout of 114k in the first round and I said 110k.  Props to Tyler but I’m not sure I can take that kind of schooling again… 😉

  12. Kevin_Ingham says:

    Not a single question about our starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos question.  🙂

  13. Kevin_Ingham says:

    As always, great questions.  Hope I answered everything.

    Again, please “Like” our Facebook page as we are posting analysis like this on that page.

    You can also ask me questions on twitter: @KevinIngham

    Until next time!

  14. I’m very impressed that Kevin Ingham was here answering questions – that’s politics at its best

    Not crazy about all the Romer love coming from CPols, but outside of that, this thread is an excellent example of great citizenry politics

    Bravo CPols and RBI!!!

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