Colorado Pols/RBI Poll: Hickenlooper 48%, Tancredo 34%, Maes 10%

The second in a series of poll results for key Colorado races, released by Colorado Pols and conducted by Denver-based RBI Strategies & Research. Yesterday, we examined the U.S. Senate race in Colorado. Today, the gubernatorial race:

Democrat John Hickenlooper is well positioned to win the race for Governor while Republican Dan Maes hovers at the 10% threshold necessary for the Republican Party to remain a major party in Colorado. Currently, 48% of likely voters in Colorado are supporting or leaning towards supporting John Hickenlooper, while 34% are supporting or leaning towards American Constitution Party candidate Tom Tancredo. Just 10% say they will support the Republican, Dan Maes.

Hickenlooper leads among most major demographics including many demographics leaning away from Democrats this cycle, including men, West Slope voters, and voters without a bachelors degree. Tancredo’s support is strongest in Metro Denver, the South Front Range and the Plains. Tancredo also leads among registered Republicans and seniors. Among those who have already cast a ballot or are certain to vote, Hickenlooper leads Tancredo and Maes, 47% to 36% to 10%. Among those who said it is either very likely or probable they will vote, Hickenlooper leads by a 30 point margin, 51% to 21% to 10%.

RBI Strategies & Research conducted a telephone survey of 501 Colorado voters who indicated it was likely that they would vote in the 2010 General Election. Interviews were conducted October 24 – October 26, 2010 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 voted in the 2008 General Election or registered to vote at any time following the 2008 General Election.

The margin of error for a survey of 500 interviews is +/- 4.4% at the 95% confidence level. The margin of error is higher for subsamples within the full sample. Other sources of error not accounted for by the stated statistical margin of error include, but are not limited to, question wording, question order, refusal to be interviewed, and demographic weighting.

Summary | Crosstabs | Toplines

Kevin Ingham of RBI Strategies will join us today in this thread from 1-3PM to answer your questions about this poll. Tomorrow, we’ll release numbers on major statewide ballot initiatives. Kevin will join us for Q&A each day in the comments below.  

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.

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.

130 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Kevin_Ingham says:

    I enjoyed answering your questions yesterday.  

    Keep ’em coming!

    • ClubTwitty says:

      It’s great you’re doing this.

    • Ellie says:

      Looking forward to today.

    • Kevin_Ingham says:

      I think it was deleted because someone in the Penalty Box had a second account and asked the question.

      The first question was why is it that PPP, Magellan and Rasmussen have a closer Govs race than RBI and CNN.

      Luckily, Nate Silver answered this almost word for word as I would have so you can read his post here:


      I think its pretty much all methodological differences.  PPP, Magellan and Rasmussen are all IVR pollsters while CNN and RBI use live interviewers.  Let me be very clear – I am NOT calling the IVR pollsters wrong.  I am just stating that I think there is a methodological difference that is affecting outcome.  In fact, I think it will be extremely interesting to see who is “right” in this race.

      The one thing I can’t explain is why SurveyUSA, an IVR pollster, is getting results that show a wider spread than the other IVR pollsters.  Can’t explain them all!

      I’ll address the second question in a new post.

      • caroman says:

        I’m highly suspicious of polling outfits like Rasmussen.  I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that they manipulate their “results” to fit a strategic GOP narrative.

        Do pollsters have peer reviews, like CPA firms?

        • Kevin_Ingham says:

          Like the AAPOR which will shame you for bad practices.

          Frankly, I think Nate Silver was the best thing to happen to the industry in a long time because he holds pollsters to account for their results and/or methodology.

  2. Voyageur says:

    It could go either way.  I had an incident the other day that makes me think the Rs will hit 10 pct , thus dooming the draft-dodging liar now mounting a third-party candidacy.

    I was calling for Bennet and talked to an elderly lady.  When I asked if she was supporting Bennet, she said: “Who’s the Democrat.”

      I was taken aback at first, but face it, a lot of people don’t eat, drink, sleep and poop politics 24/7 like posters on this board do.  As soon as I said Bennet was the Democrat, she said she’d vote for him.

      There are a lot of voters, in both parties, like this lady.  If you’ve been voting Republican for 50 years, when you get your ballot, you will look for the Republican line.  Only robocalls–notoriously confusing to elderly voters–have shown maes beneath 10 pct.

    Ingham’s poll seems intuitively right, but it will be a long night for the GOP before they learn if they survive as a major party.  

  3. Aaron says:

    As a pollster, have you found ballot placement to be a significant advantage or roadblock in winning an election?

    With Maes/Hick on top and Tancredo buried deep on the list, what’s the likelihood (based on your past experience) that it will cost him critical votes?

    Also, on a related note, do you think offering Tancredo as one of only three potential candidates has the potential to bias poll results in his favor?

    • Kevin_Ingham says:

      First, there is a good deal of academic study on this.  According to a study conducted by Jonathon Koppell and Jennifer Steen, ballot placement matters, both in polling and in the ballot box.

      According to their research, the last person mentioned in a poll question gets a boost (hence why we rotate the names).  However, in the ballot box, the first name gets a boost.

      I’m not sure that I would call it overwhelming but they definitely found some bias in favor of ballot placement.  Could probably be consequential in close races.

      Or alternatively, it could be consequential in cases where all the candidates have very low name ID.  For example, some people actually speculated that ballot placement was the reason that Alvin Greene won the primary in SC despite never campaigning and spending pretty much nothing.  I think its a very interesting hypothesis but I haven’t looked into it much.

      In my opinion, it is pretty well documented that reading third party candidates as options tends to over estimate their support in polling (see NJ-Govs race).  However, I think the CO Governors race is a special case.  Most third party candidates don’t go on television with ads or have never been Congressmen or a major party Presidential candidates.  Name ID factors into it quite a bit which is what I think matters with Tancredo.

  4. bjwilson83 says:

    Here’s a serious question. Why are the polls all over the place on the governor’s race as opposed to the other races? Is this due to difficulty with likely voter models, a shifting electorate, or what?

    • Kevin_Ingham says:

      As much as you can “address” this, anyway.  The post that asked this question was deleted because it was written by someone in the penalty box using a second handle.

      I’m copying and pasting that answer –

      Luckily, Nate Silver answered this almost word for word as I would have so you can read his post here:


      I think its pretty much all methodological differences.  PPP, Magellan and Rasmussen are all IVR pollsters while CNN and RBI use live interviewers.  Let me be very clear – I am NOT calling the IVR pollsters wrong.  I am just stating that I think there is a methodological difference that is affecting outcome.  In fact, I think it will be extremely interesting to see who is “right” in this race.

      The one thing I can’t explain is why SurveyUSA, an IVR pollster, is getting results that show a wider spread than the other IVR pollsters.  Can’t explain them all!  

      • bjwilson83 says:

        It seems to be that IVR pollsters (I’m assuming that means robo polls) would be more accurate because they are “double blind”, i.e. the live interviewer can’t knowingly or unknowingly bias the result.

        • Kevin_Ingham says:

          But again, like I said yesterday, our phone bank is a Republican owned phone bank.  But you can make your own judgments about that.

          I think what I would say on the other side that the response rates for IVR polling bias in favor of “the furious and the curious” as Pat Waak called it.

        • ardy39 says:

          what Nate Silver’s analyses at 538/NYTimes have detected.

          Automated surveys are associated with lower response rates (indeed, probably very low response rates.) It can feel like a bit of a chore to (literally) push buttons to answer a “robopoll,” particularly in the absence of a live human being to help coax you along.

          The lower the response rate in a survey, the greater the risk that that the people who do complete the poll are not representative of the electorate as a whole – the name given to this is response bias. [emphais in original]

          Or you can cling to your original suppositions.

          I report. You decide.

          (But thanks, Kevin, for trying to clarify this for Davey Chestnutz.)

  5. Ignatius O'Reilly says:

    Whose campaign would you rather be running now — Bennet or Buck? Hick or Tancredo? Why?

    • Kevin_Ingham says:

      Let me put it this way –

      According to our polling, Hick is up so its really hard to say I would like to be Tancredo right now.  Ballots are out and its pretty darn hard to close that gap while people are voting.

      As for the Senate campaign, I think I would rather be in Bennet’s boat.  Might seem counter intuitive but if you read our analysis from yesterday (as well as look at the horserace that CNN released among ALL registered voters, as opposed to likely voters, who had Bennet up 49 – 44 among registereds) you know that Bennet has the votes to win if he turns people out.  And with permanent absentee and three weeks to chase ballots, its possible to bug people enough that they actually vote.  Hell, lots of Dems have ballots right now!  All they have to do is fill it out and send it back or drop it off.  If you are Buck, you are counting on depressed Democratic turnout because you know that the more people that vote, the worse you will do. That’s a situation where I would feel pretty helpless.

      Didn’t see a question like this coming…

  6. reubenesp says:

    Is the preponderance of women voters, so far, a predictor in the senate race?

    • Kevin_Ingham says:

      Can you restate?

      • reubenesp says:

        as per your summary, men favor Buck 45/41 while women favor Bennet 44/39.

        If this pattern continues, does this make Bennet the more likely winner?

        • Kevin_Ingham says:

          I think it just reflects the fact that more partisans are voting right now.  Unaffiliateds are more likely to be male while Democrats are much more likely to be women.  Republicans are split pretty evenly.  So when more Democrats vote, I think it tips the scale.  Plus, women just turnout more than men in elections.  I think by the time election day rolls around, more unaffiliates will vote and things will level out to about 47-53 or 48-52.

          I could be way off in this, however.  It’s just my instinct.

  7. Kevin_Ingham says:

    I had written out an answer to this which was deleted because it was a response to a post which was deleted.

    The Governor and US Senate race questions were paid for by RBI Strategies.  The Colorado ballot initiative questions, which will be released tomorrow, were paid for by clients which will be disclosed with the release.  The clients have all agreed to release full numbers including crosstabs so you can pick them apart as you see fit.

    As for why we are doing this, there are a few reasons.  First of all, I believe we are one of only a handful of RBS live interviewer pollsters that are releasing numbers publicly (FM3 and POS, who are very good pollsters, released some a few weeks ago).  I believe it is important to have methodological diversity in the polling released publicly because polling undoubtedly drives the “narrative” and how people talk about certain races.  We want to make sure that the data that drives that narrative and discussion is as diverse as possible.  We had no idea how the results of this poll would come out when we decided to team up with Colorado Pols to do this (could have very well had Buck up and Hick down) but we knew we wanted to have diversity in the discussion.

    Secondly, Colorado Pols agreed to release these numbers in the most open and transparent way possible.  We released our toplines, our crosstabs, our sample vendor, our interviewers, our weighting and Pols even agreed to let us hijack their comment thread to allow the public to address us and ask questions of the pollster releasing the numbers.  This dedication to transparency and openness is something our firm is dedicated to encouraging in our industry.  If that came at some cost to us, we were willing to accept it.

  8. Ellie says:

    Kevin, will RBI perform a comparison of election results to polling results for publication?

    • Kevin_Ingham says:

      We always do post-election analyzes but usually just distribute to clients as a courtesy.  We might distribute publicly this year for all to look over.  Probably won’t be until closer to January though.  It takes time to read the data and write a cohesive analysis.

  9. reubenesp says:

    what do you think of the fact that R’s have cast 40,000 more early votes than Dems statewide, yet the race is still tied?

  10. Half Glass Full says:

    Thank you, Mr. Ingham, and thank you ColoradoPols, for doing and running these polls, and for being willing to discuss the polls online to provide context.

    With the exception of one childish troll who has chosen to question your integrity (“You’re trying to give the [Democratic] base hope”), I think all of us – Republican, Democrat and Independent alike – appreciate your contribution.

    I’ll be very interested to see the results of the ballot initiatives. I hope you’ll be asking about Amendment 63: the anti-“Obamacare” initiative. I’m concerned that one may pass under the radar screen, since most money and attention has been focused on defeating 60, 61, 62 and Prop 101.

  11. B4D says:

    I hope this poll is accurate! I feel like all the R polls try to make it sound like Hick will lose.  

  12. Gray in Mountains says:

    but I am very appreciative of Pols and RBI for providing this educational experience. I did read every post yesterday and today in these subjects.

    • droll says:

      I love that everyone is nerdier than I am and doesn’t mind showing it off.

      This is really interesting.  And I thought that everything would be quiet since yesterday was so good.  Nice surprise.

      (Not that I’m speaking to you, GiM.)

  13. Half Glass Full says:

    It appears that the only REAL effect that Tancredo’s disgusting and wildly-over-the-top ads about Dan Maes mugging a little old lady have had, is to depress Maes’ votes to at or below the magic 10% threshold, while at the same time doing nothing to keep Hickenlooper from winning this race.

    Now that two respected polls are indicating that Tancredo basically has no shot, will the Republican power brokers suddenly realize that they need to prop up Maes enough to avoid the 10% threshold? Will they stop shilling for Tancredo and instead just stay out of the race altogether, so Maes can pull in at least 10% support?

    I am so happy about this and another poll. I am so sick of the incessant braying about Tancredo by Dan Caplis and his sidekick Craig Silverman. (It’s gotten ridiculous over at KHOW: they might as well declare themselves the “Tancredo Network,” they’re so much in bed with Tancredo.)

    While I did a diary recently taking Hick to task for his vanilla campaign, perhaps Hickenlooper’s relentlessly positive campaign is paying dividends after all… Maybe in this race the nicest guy will finish first, a fairly decent but over-his-head guy will finish last, and the real scumsucking dirtbag coward liar will finish right in the middle.

    I would love nothing more if the Colorado Republican Brain Trust, having sold their very soul to try to elect Tancredo, both fail at that mission and cause Maes to fall below 10%. That would be absolutely mind-bogglingly delightful.

    • Voyageur says:

      Maes is an honest man, if a woefully unqualified and unintelligent one.

       Tancredo is a proven liar who cynically pledged to serve no more than 3 terms to win a close and crowded Republican primary in 1998.  Once in, he cynically ran for and was elected to five terms in his overwhelmingly safe district.

        He also dodged the draft, as Maes notes, by claiming mental illness.  Given his “Bomb Mecca” antics, I believe he actually is mentally ill.

       Now, the cynical power brokers may have to crawl back to Maes just to save themselves from minor party status.  And the bjob will have to write in a candidate of his liking, probably Pol Pot.

  14. Middle of the Road says:

    Really, really enjoyed this. Thanks so much for putting it together and for all of your hard work with these.  

    • dwyer says:

      You know I am not sure what the numbers mean….I am just copying what I have seen posted.  So if I have totally misunderstood the number game (no decoder ring, etc)

      I just wanted to echo MtR…Well done and thank you.

  15. Mark G. says:

    RBI is a lobby firm. Is this poll/interview part of a campaign? How can we take this poll seriously?

    “RBI Strategies and Research offers strategic management consulting services. We build winning campaigns through planning, working toward long-term policy and budget goals, and navigating the shoals of the political landscape.

    We offer a unique perspective cultivated from more than twenty years of experience at all levels of politics: local, national, and international. The broad scope of our work and our open-minded approach to each of our clients enables us to develop creative strategies for solving a wide variety of problems.

    RBI staff has been involved in every aspect of our clients’ campaigns, from polling and research to compliance and media development. We have run start-up campaigns, including hiring and training staff, and we have lead clients on a path to victory after their campaigns were up and running. At RBI we combine our expertise, political experience, and innovation to tie the pieces of your campaign or organization together into a seamless whole.”

    • droll says:

      I’m a little unclear on why people would go out of their way to post a poll on a political geek site.  No one here is going to change their behavior based on the poll.

      But whatever random thing you want to complain about today… knock yourself out.

    • Ralphie says:

      You have illustrated the danger of RBI spending time with us:  If you give away that which you sell, people perceive it to have no value.

      I’m not going to try to “out” you, just question you.  You wouldn’t be the same useless piece of shit (in my opinion) named “Mark G” who is running for Secretary of State, would you?

      Myself, I was glad that RBI spent time here.  But since you have no appreciation and nothing useful to say, please don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way to Free Republic.

  16. Ralphie says:

    What has BJWilson83 added to this thread beyond insulting the guest?

    Shouldn’t there be a timeout for insulting guests who aren’t sick enough to monitor this site all day like the rest of us?

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