— Vic Vela (@VicVela1) September 17, 2014
UPDATE: Or…maybe Hickenlooper is up by 2 points? After a morning of polling flurries, we'd say we're pretty well back to where we ended the day yesterday.
Earlier today, Quinnipiac University released polling results from the Colorado Governor's race that had Republican Bob Beauprez leading Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper by a 10-point margin. We were skeptical of these numbers when we first saw them, and apparently we weren't alone; as James Hohmann wrote in Politico, nobody who is paying close attention to this race actually believes that Beauprez has a 10-point lead.
The Quinnipiac poll results were questionable from the jump because the results are such an extreme outlier compared to all of the other publicly-available polling in this race…including those from yet another new poll. According to Project New America, a progressive research organization with a long history of polling in Colorado, their data shows Hickenlooper with a 7-point lead over Beauprez:
– John HIckenlooper leads by seven points in Colorado (51% to 44%). The gap in strong support is similar (+7), with 49% firmly in the Governor’s camp and 42% solidly behind Beauprez.
– Importantly, in the Governor’s race, while Hickenlooper holds a slight edge among self-identified independents (47 percent for Hickenlooper to 43 percent for Beauprez), Beauprez suffers from double-digit defections among self-identified Republicans (14 for Hickenlooper to 86 percent for Beauprez). Hickenlooper has far fewer defections among self-identified Democrats (he leads among them 91 to 5 percent).
– Notably, among the 94 percent of voters who can identify John Hickenlooper, positive impressions of him remain slightly higher than negative impressions with 44 percent expressing warm, favorable feelings and 39 percent expressing cool, unfavorable feelings. In contrast, among the 79 percent of voters who can identify Bob Beauprez today negative impressions outweigh positive ones by 4-points, with 34 percent expressing cool, negative feelings and 30 percent expressing warm, positive feelings.
You can debate whether you believe the Quinnipiac poll is more accurate than the Project New America poll, but the latter is much more comparable to last week's SurveyUSA/Denver Post poll on the Governor's race.
If this entire story seems somewhat familiar — it should. It was at about this same point in the 2006 Governor's race that Steve Paulson of the Associated Press inexplicably reported that the race between Beauprez and Democrat Bill Ritter was essentially a toss-up. That story was particularly absurd, given that every other known poll had Ritter with a better than double-digit lead over Beauprez (Ritter would win that race by a 17-point margin).