Poll: Hickenlooper Slips Into Dead Heat With McInnis

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Public Policy Polling is just out with its Colorado gubernatorial match-up, and the results aren’t good for Democrat John Hickenlooper. The Denver mayor led Republican Scott McInnis 50-39 in March, but the two are now tied at 44-44, according to the survey.

Hickenlooper, who has been subjected to heavy advertising labeling him “No Jobs John” without a response, looks to have lost plenty of support among Independent voters. “Most crucially, Hickenlooper has seen a 48-34 lead with independents evaporate to a 42- 46 deficit,” PPP says in its analysis of the poll. (Full results in PDF here.)

Still, Hickenlooper remains the most popular politician in the state with 47% viewing him favorably and 33% unfavorably, but that’s a significant drop from 51-27 measured by PPP in March. “The entire drop has come among Republicans (30-41 to 21-57) and independents (49-28 to 44-34),” PPP notes.

McInnis favorability is mostly unchanged. Can it be that all the buzz about the elk he shot and tax returns he won’t release haven’t moved public opinion much, but the Republican Governors Association ads have?

From the PPP release on its CO-GOV poll:

“John Hickenlooper has an unusual level of personal popularity with independents and Republicans for a Democrat,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But it’s not translating into a willingness by them to vote for him. Between this race and the Senate contest Colorado will be one of the most hard fought states in the country this year.”


56 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. StrykerK2 says:

    Hickenlooper needs to give them a reason to vote for him.  People like him sure, but he hasn’t really hinted at much of a campaign message.

    • SSG_Dan says:

      …and they already like Hick. He’s content to let the other party flop around like clueless idiots until he needs to close the deal.

      F’r instance, he’s already co-opted the dumbass “Stripes” ad:

      “Hickenlooper for Governor!  IN THE LOOP EVENT: Meet Mayor Hickenlooper, May 28th 5:00-6:30 at MiniBAR in Cherry Creek. Wear your stripes.”

      Polls don’t mean shit yet – when Hick starts dropping money on campaign ads and hits the airwaves in serious amounts, then let’s worry about numbers.

      • RedGreenRedGreen says:

        Hickenlooper’s response to the Stripes ad is clever, and it reminds everyone why everyone likes him, but this event at MiniBAR in Cherry Creek is going to reach how many dozens of people who already plan to vote for him? Compare that to the hundreds of thousands of folks throughout the state who see the ad and start to wonder whether being a nice guy on a scooter is really what the state needs in this economy.

        You’re right, Hickenlooper has plenty of time to close the deal, and he’ll have the money to do it. But the preliminary lesson here is, massive TV advertising trumps insider conversations on Colorado Pols (and in the Denver Post editorial page) when it comes to moving public opinion. Hickenlooper should be careful about letting the RGA define him throughout the state while he’s meeting Denver voters at trendy Cherry Creek bars.

        And, oh yeah, there are parallels with other campaigns too: Likability and preaching to the choir only goes so far when the other side is up on TV unanswered.

        • OneEyedOwl says:

          If the only people who voted in Colorado were frequenters of the MiniBAR in Cherry Creek, Hick would have the election in the bag.

          Hickenlooper needs to start campaigning before those coveted Independent voters start making up their minds. The mayor counters the “No Jobs John” ad with a chuckle and a MiniBAR event. Not nearly good enough. Hick is letting McInnis define him, even though Hick is the better choice for office. Ask John Kerry how those circumstances work out.

      • StrykerK2 says:

        polls are bound to look erratic at this point.

    • H-man says:

      That seems to be working so well for Jane.

  2. Ralphie says:

    But they work.  No faster way to level a playing field.

  3. Gilpin Guy says:

    is to give a good speech at the Democratic State Assembly.  Shore up his base with a good speech and then go after independents.

    Notice how they didn’t compare Hickenlooper to Maes.  This continues to the real polling story forcing folks to pick between Hickenlooper and McInnis but shutting out Maes.  Is PPP as corrupt as Rasmussen that they didn’t throw Maes into the mix?

  4. roguestaffer says:

    I know that Hick wants to run a positive campaign, and that this is one poll…but I worry that by the time he starts advertising, he’ll already have been defined negatively by the RGA.

    We’ll see, I guess.

    • Middle of the Road says:

      I’ve seen nothing from him at all while the other side continues to define him on a daily basis. Campaigning 101 suggests this is not a good way to win an election.

  5. BlueCat says:

    Can it be that all the buzz about the elk he shot and tax returns he won’t release haven’t moved public opinion much, but the Republican Governors Association ads have?

    Of course. There is no contest between print media, blog blab and TV ads.  Hick needs to get some ads up to counter.  

  6. Say Hey Kid says:

    One thing Democrats have learned the hard way is that any attack must be answered immediately.  By sitting on their hands while the Republican Governor’s Association ran withering attack ads the Mayor may have made a major error.  For Scott McInnis to be in a dead heat according to PPP and six points ahead according to Rasmussen after a month of terrible press is shocking.  

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      “It’s all over now that the mean Republicans have started a negative campaign about Hickenlooper.  He doesn’t stand a chance because he isn’t out there playing defence.  It doesn’t matter what his record or positions are.  All that counts is that the Republicans have won because they have the first negative ads.”

      I doubt the race is already over Sey Hey.  The “Democrats are Doomed because Republicans are too tricky” narrative is already showing a lot of wear and tear like in PA-12.  We’ll see if Hickenlooper has the chops to campaign statewide but there is also the reality that McInnis in spite of all his poll improvements still has to move hard right to dispose of Maes.  We’ll see if nasty ads are enough by themselves.

  7. Danny the Red (hair)Danny the Red (hair) says:

    But earned media needs to be amplified with a few points of TV citing the good press calling bullshit.

    A good ad team could slap McInnis on the front of the ad with a deft riposte to Hick’s positive message on the back half.

  8. Ellie says:

    that some of you are surprised.  

    • Ralphie says:

      Talking about the fact that Scooter hasn’t created a job in his life, except for that one where he allegedly paid his wife with campaign funds.

    • Gilpin Guy says:

      If you looked at the pdf it doesn’t mention Maes and instead asks questions about Ritter.  WTF?  They are asking questions about Ritter?

      Someone into conspiracy theories would consider this poll to be another attempt to portray McInnis as the strongest Republican challenger and the enivitable nominee without ever polling about his primary opponent.  Who knows if Maes would have polled better because the questions were never asked?  What we do know is that McInnis is an enthusiastic racial profiling advocate and has already lost 20% of the voters in Colorado.  That means he will need to get 70% of the remaining 80% to win the General.  It hard to see how an avowed racist is going to win without any Hispanic votes but I figure McInnis will immediately start pandering to them after the primary and do an about face like he did about criminalizing womens health care.  Nothing says two faced like Scott McInnis.

  9. dwyer says:

    boyles/caplis have been after hickenlooper relentlessly for about a month…..

    I know, I know, good democrats do NOT listen to talk radio….just put their fingers in their ears and their head in the sand….

    But, 80 hours + of FREE local airtime for repubs begins to have an effect…HIck has been branded to wit:

    HIckenritter –

    1) was politically correct and wouldn’t tell the public about the racially motivated attacks on whites in LoDo…because he didn’t want to cut into bar business

    2) knew Van Jones, the self acclaimed commie, REAL well and lied about it.

    3) would not release his charitable contributions because he was contributing to charities which do “bad things.”….to paraphrase a local talk show host…

    • allyncooper says:

      Some of it’s hard to stomach, but you’ve gotta know where the other side is coming from to be able to counter.

      I already know what’s being said on AM 760.

      • dwyer says:

        I listen too, although less and less.  My concern is not that I can’t get the other side, but that the public airwaves are full of republican propaganda and the democrats do not answer the lies.   So, a lot of people get their information from the radio and are being indoctrinated by the republicans.  The dems are silent and so people conclude that what they are hearing on the radio is correct.  

        I agree you have to know where the other side is coming from to be able to counter.  The problem is no one is countering.  You don’t hear progressives talk back because they are ridiculed, bullied, and hung up on….and the official democratic party and elected officials do not show up.  And, on the rare occasions on which they do, they are not prepared and are just run over.

        I think the falling polls for the dems are a reflection of that….

      • bjwilson83 says:

        And usually I agree with the underlying sentiment, but their approach to fixing things is completely incompetent. Randi Rhodes has a big heart, but if she were actually in charge of anything it would fail on day one. And Alan Colmes, well he just likes to hack people off.

  10. peacemonger says:

    Really I do.. but, he is a lot like Romanoff. They both wreak “urban” too much to seriously appeal to voters outside of Denver. The ’70s greasey schoolboy haircut with wisps that won’t stay in place, the “I like snobby beers” image, and the urban-Euro bike thing is only cool in the city. Rural independent voters in CO do not trust city snobs.

    As an organizer whose been getting out the vote in the ‘burbs and rural places for 30 years, I fear for his election. These people want a father-figure for Governor (Ritter, Romer and Owens all had it until Owens got too skinny), not an older brother. I hope his campaign is reading this. He has some serious image problems. Take a lesson from Udall who successfully went from Boulder-liberal to macho outdoor-enthusiast. (Better yet, call his ad people.) Outdoorsy-environmentalist is cool to liberals and conservatives. Looking metrosexual, even if it isn’t remotely true, is not. Sorry for my bluntness.

    These are not my personal opinions, but I have talked to thousands of voters out here in my day, and I know what they are looking for. City-sissies are not it. I hope he gets his game down. He is a great guy for Colorado.  

    • He doesn’t have serious image problems! The pollster cites that he is UNUSUALLY well liked across the spectrum! He hasn’t been up on TV yet, so there really is no campaign image to criticize! I got an email about his new website today!

      Your blather about being “metrosexual” or “macho outdoorsmen” is completely irrelevant to any serious strategy discussion that should take place about the direction of his campaign. I sincerely hope that his campaign doesn’t read your post.

      Going up on TV soon, responding to attack ads and campaigning outside of Hick’s comfort zone are legitimate suggestions.

    • Danny the Red (hair)Danny the Red (hair) says:

      John is far from metrosexual–more hipster geek.

      However, your broader points have some truth, although I am not worried.

      This election is about the suburbs (Jeffco if I had to put a name on it) and GOTV in Denver and if he isn’t playing well in JeffCo he has a problem.

      • peacemonger says:

        I am translating what my suburban independent neighbors think of all skinny guys who live in Denver. I hate it too, but I’ve stood around a few neighborhood pool barbecues and I am telling you this is how they talk. Skinny? Urban? They call them “coastal” which is an insult (it means someone who is from California or New York and thinks they are better than everyone else — an elitist, if you will).

        Hickenlooper and Romanoff need to shed the skinny urban guy who rides a bike and drinks fancy beers image. I shit you not. (Wait, I am a Bennet supporter — never mind.)

        Get a fishing pole and some waders, guys.  Gain ten pounds. Get caught drinking cheap beer at some kids baseball game. Go to the state fair and look like you really like and feel comfortable petting a cow. Barbecue in a dirty apron. Seriously.  

    • Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

      Peacemonger makes some good points and Hickenlooper should pay attention to them.

      Hickenlooper has solid, working-class, Colorado bona fides: a working geologist, not some city-slicker lawyer-lobbyist who hunts for elk in TENNIS SHOES. Hickenlooper should definitely pull a Udall.

      And no more photo ops in bike helmets. No politician ever looked good in a bike helmet. It’s the next worst thing to a Dukakis tank helmet.

      Hick’s supporters should run lots of ads showing McInnis with his porn star mustache and bleached hair compared to his ridiculously Reagan-black locks and shaved face now.

    • parsingreality says:

      If Hickenlooper were to pick up all the front range cities and counties – where he is pretty well known – all of the plains and Western slope votes wouldn’t matter anyway.  

      • peacemonger says:

        Dems maybe, but there aren’t enough of them motivated to get to the polls in an off-year to make it work. We need to do some SERIOUS gotv!

        • parsingreality says:

          …are the urban parts.  

          Not saying Hick can just sit around like that woman did in MA, but demographics, i.e., voters, are in his favor.

          We don’t have a Gubernatorial Electoral College, so some votes can be acknowledged as lost anyway and still get the majority.  

    • WashParkPoet says:

      You guys are actually arguing about about the fashion and lifestyle of these politicians?  That’s sad! I feel like we’re on The Hills, or in high school!  By placing some unreal image on these candidates, you guys are no better than these fictitious characters you have created in your head.  

      Both of these candidates have raised a family and have probably had their own share of ballpark beer, family bike trips, and state fair fun (from comments below…).  The beer they “ought” to drink, etc. is a very poor argument against the ethos of these candidates.

      Although, I do enjoy the new spot from the RGA:


    • The realistThe realist says:

      Hick’s personna clearly works in Denver and maybe some of the suburbs – I really don’t know.  But in the larger world of Colorado, for example, south of Arapahoe and Douglas counties – probably not.  I know many readers here view voters on the West Slope, on the South Slope and elsewhere, as insignificant due to relative numbers.  But to use Romanoff as a comparison – okay, maybe he physically and sartorially resembles Hick, but for years Romanoff has traveled the state getting to know the people, the cultures, the issues and the geography of every one of our 64 counties.  Where is Hick?  My county is 60 minutes from downtown Denver – I have not yet seen him here.  Has he been getting around yet to meet people, meet local newspaper editors, meet local elected officials?  My impression is that he’s not done much of that yet.  

      It’s almost unbelievable that McInnis could be in a dead heat with Hick at this point – but the reality side of politics says believe it, and do something about it.

  11. Half Glass FullHalf Glass Full says:

    1. He needs to get on the air more now. He needs to start MOVING. If he waits too long, the airwaves will get totally cluttered with ads from others.

    2. Democratic independent groups – not Hickenlooper, but all those independents the Supreme Court has now decided can obliterate us with ads – need to come up with negative ads of their own against McInnis. So far, the only people aware of McInnis’ ethical lapses are a few inside-the-Beltway types.

    3. You’re right about Caplis and his so-called Democratic stooge Silverman sliming Hickenlooper nonstop while basically giving McInnis a free pass on his “I shot an elk for charity” nonsense. Caplis is such an unethical weasel.

  12. peacemonger says:

    Over here.

    You need to photoshop the Dennis-the-menace runaway strand of hair. On Ritter, it looked windblown. On Hick, it looks like he just rolled out of bed. Seriously.  

  13. COSkier07 says:

    how within the last week these polls could have changed so much.  The Rasmussen poll from last week showed Scott up 6 percent?  There is not enough time for that poll to have reached a tie in this short amount of time.  Could it be the certain bias of Public Policy Polling?  


    • Ralphie says:

      was run soon after Hick announced.  He got a huge bounce from just not being Ritter.  I think this particular poll is probably closer to reality.  It you take out the Rasmussen bullshit “house effect” then it’s fairly consistent with PPP.

      • bjwilson83 says:

        That’s why it’s always more accurate.

        • Danny the Red (hair)Danny the Red (hair) says:

          Very inaccurate.

        • sxp151 says:

          Hey, how did Rasmussen do predicting all the elections that just happened on Tuesday?


          Rasmussen didn’t do a single poll within the previous two weeks of any election contest.

          That’s fucking weird, isn’t it?

          It’s almost as if Scott Rasmussen doesn’t actually want to be judged on his accuracy, by not risking an actual prediction!

          I guess that makes his predictions “accurate,” in the same mathematical way that any false statement will imply any true statement. If pigs fly, then I’m omniscient!

        • They all switch as the election cycle progresses.

          538 did an excellent analysis on this statement and concluded that even Ras’s likely voter screen doesn’t account for their discrepancies.  (If you don’t know 538, it’s run by a guy named Nate Silver who makes his fortune in sports stats – very very respected in his field, and has been very good in the political arena, too.)

      • WashParkPoet says:

        that he got a bounce from Not being Ritter?  I think that’s debatable and it’s going to be a hard task for Hickenlooper to try and differentiate himself and his policies from Ritter.

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