Following an historic victory for Colorado progressives in the 2018 midterm elections, a new poll of Colorado voters from Change Research indicates that Sen. Cory Gardner is in serious jeopardy as a candidate for re-election in 2020. The poll was conducted between December 2nd and 4th online, had 540 responses, and has a margin of error of +/-4.2 points.
A majority of voters polled disapprove of Gardner’s job performance, reject Gardner’s excuses on a wide range of policy issues, and support a Democratic challenger over Gardner by a 47-41% margin. Colorado voters also strongly support reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which Gardner claims to support. Voters are are prepared to punish Gardner if his fellow Republicans aren’t persuaded.
“After the 2018 landslide election for Democrats in Colorado, Cory Gardner is in politically toxic territory,” said Ian Silverii, executive director of ProgressNow Colorado. “Colorado didn’t vote for Donald Trump in 2016, and in 2018 Colorado voters punished Republicans at every level of government as a rebuke to Trump. The damage done to Cory Gardner’s own career in politics after publicly aligning himself with Trump to save the U.S. Senate is clearly indicated in this new polling, which shows that if the election were held today Gardner would lose handily to virtually any Democratic opponent.”
“Coloradans have had four years of experience with Cory Gardner as their Senator, and they don’t like what they see,” said Silverii. “Fully 50% of Colorado voters have an unfavorable opinion of Senator Gardner, with 29% viewing him as very unfavorable. Only Donald Trump himself has such negative numbers among Colorado voters. In a match-up between Gardner and a generic Democratic candidate, Gardner loses 47-41%. Only 12% of voters have never heard of Gardner, which means these unfavorable ratings are based on specific factors that will be very hard if not impossible for Gardner to overcome before 2020.”
“The one bright spot in this very bleak outlook for Sen. Gardner is the Land and Water Conservation Fund,” said Silverii. “LWCF has the public support of both of Colorado’s U.S. Senators, but the onus is on Gardner to persuade fellow Republicans to continue this vital investment in our public lands and recreation. 65% of Colorado voters support full mandatory funding for LWCF, and 38% say they would be much more likely to oppose Gardner if he doesn’t keep this promise. That’s support Gardner cannot afford to lose, and Gardner’s next steps to protect Colorado’s natural environment and outdoor economy are critical to his future.”
“Contrary to popular belief, Cory Gardner barely won his seat in 2014 by less than two percentage points, and since that time Colorado has only moved farther away from Gardner’s brand of deceptive politics,” said Silverii. “The results of the 2018 elections and this new poll send a clear message that Cory Gardner’s time is running out.”