5 Weeks Until Voting Begins, Democrats Ahead By A Handful of Votes in Colorado Contests for Governor and US Senator
7 weeks to Election Day, and 5 weeks until voting begins, incumbent Democrat Mark Udall is narrowly atop Republican challenger Cory Gardner in the contest for US Senate, and incumbent Democrat John Hickenlooper is even more narrowly ahead of Republican challenger Bob Beauprez in the contest for Governor, according to an exclusive Denver Post News Poll conducted by SurveyUSA. Both contests at this hour could go either way.
In the US Senate race, which has national implications in terms of which party will have control of the Senate in the next Congress, Udall today defeats Gardner 46% to 42%. Udall’s entire lead comes from Independents, where he leads by 10 percentage points. Udall’s support also comes entirely from voters under age 50: the contest is tied among voters age 50+; Udall leads by 9 points among voters under age 50. There is a 18-point Gender Gap: Gardner leads by 5 points among male likely voters; Udall leads by 13 points among female likely voters. The more male the electorate, the better Gardner will do.
Udall leads by 19 points in greater Denver. Gardner leads elsewhere — by 11 points in greater Colorado Springs and by 16 points in the rest of Colorado. Udall leads by 3 points among whites and by 2 points among Colorado Hispanics. Udall leads among those with a 4-year college degree; Gardner leads among those with lesser education.
Gardner, a member of the US House of Representatives from CO’s 4th Congressional District, has a Net Zero favorability rating: 36% of likely voters have a favorable opinion of him, 36% have an unfavorable opinion of him. 28% say they need to know more about him before forming an opinion. Udall, by comparison, has a Minus 7 Net Favorability rating: 40% of likely voters have a favorable opinion of Udall, 47% have an unfavorable opinion. 13% need to know more. The numbers are almost identical when SurveyUSA asks about job approval: 36% approve of the job that Gardner is doing as Congressman, 36% disapprove. 40% approve of the job Udall is doing as Senator, 46% disapprove.
Asked which candidate is more trustworthy, voters split: 40% say Udall, 38% say Gardner. Asked which candidate would make better decisions in office, voters split: 42% say Udall, 41% say Gardner.
In an election for Governor of Colorado today, Hickenlooper by the narrowest of margins, and well within the survey’s theoretical margin of sampling error, leads challenger Beauprez, 45% to 43%. In a contest this close, every vote that goes to a 3rd-party candidate is critically significant: Libertarian Matthew Hess today gets 4% of the vote, unaffiliated candidate Mike Dunafon gets 2% today, and Green Party candidate Harry Hempy gets 1%. Whites split, 44% to 44%. What little margin Hickenlooper has comes from Colorado’s minority communities. Every Hispanic, black and Asian-American vote is critical to the Democrat’s chances. Hickenlooper holds 83% of the Democratic base, Beauprez holds 81% of the Republican base. Independents narrowly break for the Democrat, 42% to 38%, with a non-trivial 14% of independents voting for one of the minor-party candidates. Where these disaffected Independents go on Election Day may well determine the outcome. 80% of conservatives vote Republican. 81% of Liberals vote Democratic. Moderates break by 19 points for Hickenlooper.
In Colorado, voters support the death penalty 2:1. Those who say the death penalty is a major factor in their vote for Governor back Beauprez 3:1. Those who say that the death penalty is not a factor in their vote for Governor back Hickenlooper by nearly 2:1. Those who say the death penalty is somewhat of a factor in their vote for Governor, split. Greater Denver backs the Governor’s re-election by 17 points. Elsewhere in Colorado, voters are ready for a change.
Hickenlooper’s favorability is Minus 1. Beauprez favorability is Plus 4. 46% approve of the job Hickenlooper is doing, 45% disapprove. Voters by 4 points say Hickenlooper is more trustworthy. Voters split on which candidate for Governor would make the better decisions while in office.
Cell-phone respondents and home-phone respondents included in this research: SurveyUSA interviewed 850 state of Colorado adults 09/08/14 through 09/10/14. Of the adults, 772 were registered to vote. Of the registered votes, 664 were determined by SurveyUSA to be likely to vote in the 11/04/14 general election. This research was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on a home telephone ( 75% of likely voters) were interviewed on their home telephone in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone (25% of likely voters) were shown a questionnaire on their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device. Ballots will be mailed to voters on 10/14/14. Early voting begins on 10/20/14.