Private poll shows Hickenlooper’s approval rating on the rise

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper celebrates after a ribbon cutting ceremony in November to re-open Highway 7 between Lyons and Allenspark.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper celebrates after a ribbon cutting ceremony in November to re-open Highway 7 between Lyons and Allenspark.

DENVER — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper undoubtedly had a tough political year in 2013, but a new poll indicates that he might be heading into 2014 on an upswing.

The private poll from Hill Research Consultants, obtained by FOX31 Denver Wednesday, shows Hickenlooper with a 54 percent approval rating.

In that survey of 601 active Colorado voters conducted in early December, 35 percent of those polled said they disapprove of Hickenlooper while 11 percent had no opinion.

Hickenlooper, a Democrat facing reelection in November, will give his fourth annual State of the State address at the Capitol on Thursday.

Pollster David Hill, whose firm does private polls mostly for Republican candidates, business organizations and state and local governments across the country, wouldn’t say what organization commissioned the Hickenlooper survey when contacted by FOX31 Denver Wednesday afternoon.

A second survey question asked voters about the direction of things in their part of Colorado.

Fifty percent of the respondents said things are going in the right direction, while 40 percent said the state is on the wrong track.

The Hill survey is a sign that Hickenlooper may have improved his standing with voters by the state’s handling of the recovery and rebuilding effort in the aftermath of last fall’s devastating floods.

In mid-October, just before Hickenlooper announced the reopening of the final of 34 state highways closed due to flood damage, a Quinnipiac University poll showed that 49 percent of Coloradans thought Hickenlooper didn’t deserve a second term, compared to 42 percent that did.

Nevertheless, Hickenlooper still led all four of his potential GOP challengers in prospective head-to-head match-ups in the Quinnipiac survey.

Hickenlooper saw his approval ratings drop below 50 percent for the first time and a spike in his disapproval rating in 2013, as he presided over a Democrat-controlled legislature that pursued a bold, controversial agenda including tougher gun laws, election reform and a increased renewable energy standard for rural electricity providers.