CO-GOV: Hickenlooper picked a lousy time for a campaign party

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Published on June 14, 2013

coIs “Blue Colorado” in danger of flipping back to Red?

Until recently, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, D, was quite a popular figure in his state. No longer. Quinnipiac now has his approvals below 50 percent, and he’s slightly underwater with independents. Voters also disapprove of the Democratic state legislature, which recently enacted strict gun control laws (and whose Senate leader is now subject to a recall effort) 49 percent to 36 percent approving.  

Far more alarmingly, this poll has Hickenlooper leading former Rep. Tom Tancredo, R — best known for his outspoken anti-immigration advocacy when in Congress and by no means one of the state’s most popular figures – by just one point:

At this point, the 2014 Colorado governor’s race is too close to call, with 42 percent for Democratic Gov. Hickenlooper and 41 percent for former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, a possible Republican challenger.

In other possible matchups, Hickenlooper gets 42 percent to 40 percent for Secretary of State Scott Gessler, and gets 43 percent to 37 percent for State Sen. Greg Brophy.

The poll also shows that Brophy and Gessler, despite being within the margin of error against Hickenlooper, are nearly unknown in the state, which is really bad for a sitting governor. Hickenlooper’s re-elect numbers are basically split down the middle:

By a slim 47 – 43 percent margin (sic), Colorado voters approve of the job Hickenlooper is doing. Voters are divided 45 – 44 percent on whether he deserves reelection.

So what happened to the man they call “Hick,” the former bar owner who became mayor of Denver and then governor? Quinnipiac cites one very unpopular decision — the commutation of the sentence of convicted murderer Nathan Dunlap, of voters disapprove, 67 – 27 percent. But incredibly, the polling firm failed to ask about the overreaching gun control laws passed by the state legislature and signed by Hickenlooper. They have already spurred a major backlash against a handful of state legislators.  

And here’s something that probably wasn’t known when the poll was taken. I’m sure it wasn’t planned this way, but Hickenlooper spent Wednesday night partying to kick off his re-election campaign, which does not provide for good optics. From Colorado Peak Politics:

Last night, as evacuees were gathering their most beloved possessions and looking for somewhere to stay due to forest fires, Hick was kicking off his campaign at History Colorado, Denver’s newest museum. Last night’s soiree, a kick-off for his 2014 Finance Committee, asked guests to donate $10,000 to be on his finance committee, $2,200 to be a host for the event, $1,100 to co-host, and $550 to simply attend.  Per the pictures on Facebook, it looks as though he had about 50 to 75 in attendance.  So, again, while Hick was rubbing elbows with high dollar donors, Colorado Springs residents were fleeing this enormous fire.  Surely, he realizes that the optics of this are terrible.

Update: Aron Goldman of Argo Journal points out to me that the 2016 presidential numbers are out as well. Both Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden trail both Chris Christie and Marco Rubio in the state. Either this poll is an outlier, or there’s been a sea change in the state’s politics:

Chris Christie (R) 44% 
Hillary Clinton (D) 41%

Marco Rubio (R) 46%
Hillary Clinton (D) 45%

Chris Christie (R) 48%
Joe Biden (D) 32%

Marco Rubio (R) 48%
Joe Biden (D) 35%

Meanwhile, remember that Obama won this state by an unspectacular but convincing five points in 2012:

Voters disapprove 54 – 43 percent of the job President Barack Obama is doing…U.S. Sen. Mark Udall gets a 45 – 31 percent approval rating…Voters say 40 – 33 percent that Sen. Udall deserves reelection next year.