Welcome news for Democrats today in Quinnipiac University's latest polling of the Colorado gubernatorial race:
Colorado voters approve 52 – 39 percent of the job Gov. John Hickenlooper is doing and give him comfortable leads over possible Republican challengers, but are divided 45 – 45 percent on whether he deserves reelection this November, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
This is the first registered voter survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University in which Gov. Hickenlooper's approval rating tops 50 percent. There is a wide gender gap as women approve 60 – 29 percent while among men 44 percent approve and 48 percent disapprove. Approval is 84 – 6 percent among Democrats, but Republicans disapprove 63 – 28 percent. Independent voters are divided as 45 percent approve and 46 percent disapprove…
"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 Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
"Voters are divided on whether they want to give Gov. Hickenlooper four more years, but they aren't rallying around any potential challengers. They give the gov a 47 – 37 percent favorability while former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo gets a negative 25 – 31 percent favorability."
Gov. John Hickenlooper's re-elect number in this latest poll, split 45% each way, shows there is still lots of work to be done between now and the next election shoring up his standing among the full electorate. With that said, Hickenlooper's overall approval back over 50%, combined with the lack of a credible opponent, is an encouraging development for his campaign. In November, a plurality said Hickenlooper did not deserve re-election by 49-42%, so clearly his approval is on the rebound. And crucially, Hickenlooper beats every potential Republican opponent by at least 6 points in a poll with a margin of plus or minus 2.9%–meaning he is outside the margin of error against them all.
Looking deeper, poll respondents appear upset with Hickenlooper's handling of "gun policy," but only 10% of residents polled felt guns with the most important issue in the upcoming gubernatorial election. In line with previous polls, 52% of voters oppose "stricter gun control laws in Colorado"–but again displaying what can best be described as misinformation-induced cognitive dissonance, an overwhelming 86% of those same voters support the new universal background check law for gun purchases. Respondents support the limit of magazine capacity by a smaller margin, 50% to 47%–though that margin has actually grown over the previous poll.
Bottom line: Hickenlooper's trajectory in this poll compared to Quinnipiac's previous polling is looking good–and at the same time, the weakness of the entire field his potential challengers is becoming glaringly evident.