Poll: Support for Hickenlooper split among voters

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Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper spoke to CNN Sunday about the slaying of DOC director Tom Clements.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, vetoed two bills Friday, the first time he's used the veto pen since 2012.

DENVER — Opposition to new gun control laws passed by the state legislature earlier this year has made an impact on Gov. John Hickenlooper’s support among voters, according to a new poll.

The Quinnipiac University Poll released Friday found Hickenlooper has an overall job approval rating of 48 percent with 44 percent disapproval rate.

But on gun control issues, voters disapprove by a margin of 52 to 35 percent of the way he is handling gun policy, the poll found.

Additional polling by Quinnipiac, released Thursday, showed that Coloradans oppose the state’s gun control laws as a whole, but actually overwhelmingly support one of them, expanded background checks, and are evenly divided on the most controversial measure, a ban on magazines of 15 rounds or more.

Voters also disapprove by a margin of 48 to 27 percent of the way Hickenlooper is handling the death penalty.

“This poll shows what Republicans have been saying for a long time: Coloradans want and deserve a leader in the governor’s office, not a hand-wringing politician who only listens to radical special interests,” said Colorado Republican Party Chairman Ryan Call in a statement Friday responding to the poll.

“The Colorado GOP is ready to elect a nominee who will demonstrate the kind of courage and leadership Coloradans expect from our elected officials.”

The news isn’t all bad for Hickenlooper, who still enjoys strong approval from voters for his leadership qualities (57 percent support) views that he is honest and trustworthy (56 percent support) and that he cares of about voters needs and problems (50 percent).

On almost every question, women side with the governor more than men, giving him a 54 – 37 percent approval rating, while men disapprove 51 – 43 percent.

The poll found the mixed bag of support/disapproval on issues may complicate Hickenlooper’s reelection chances.

Only 45 percent of voters said Hickenlooper deserves to be reelected next year, while 48 percent said he does not.

“The key for Gov. John Hickenlooper, as it is for many issues in America today, is the attitude of independent voters. These voters go against the governor on his handling of gun control and the death penalty, but split 46 – 46 percent on his overall job approval,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

The Quinnipiac poll also asked voters about how they feel about potential Republican opponents to Hickenlooper.

In each matchup, Hickenlooper had the majority of support, except against former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo.

Forty-six percent of voters said they would vote for Hickenlooper, while 45 percent said they would vote for Tancredo. Among independent voters the margin was split 46-46.

Facing Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler, Hickenlooper leads 47 – 42 percent.

“Gov. Hickenlooper has gone against popular opinion on the death penalty and gun control, but he is doing better on that bread and butter issue – the economy. Let’s see how that plays out in the next 14 months,” Malloy said.

Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler and former Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp are also considering entering the crowded field of GOP gubernatorial hopefuls.

While Hickenlooper will continue to define himself as a moderate — he still boasts strong support from the business community, especially from oil and gas companies — Republicans all point to this year’s legislative session as evidence that the state’s chief executive is anything but.

“These polling results underscore the leadership void in the governor’s office,” said Kelly Maher, Compass Colorado Executive Director.
“Governor Hickenlooper has consistently refused to stand up for the people of Colorado while his legislature pushed through a radical far left-wing agenda. Coloradans were promised a moderate, business-oriented governor, and, instead, received an empty suit with a rubber stamp for special interests. It’s clear the citizens of Colorado are recognizing the bait and switch.”
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