Rasmussen poll shows Hickenlooper up on Beauprez, 50-46

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Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, and GOP challenger Bob Beauprez took part in their second debate Tuesday night at the Denver Post auditorium downtown.

DENVER –Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper leads GOP challenger Bob Beauprez by a 50-46 percent margin, according to a new survey from Rasmussen Reports.

That’s just outside the survey’s three-point margin of error and it’s the best polling news the Democratic incumbent has seen in some time after a string of polls showing the race trending toward Beauprez.

If there’s a shift back toward the incumbent — and, given the difficulty in accurately predicting what turnout will look like, every poll is at best a guess — it’s likely the result of Hickenlooper’s campaign finally going up on television with its first ads of the cycle.

For much of the summer, Hickenlooper’s campaign bragged about using its sizeable fundraising advantage to reserve TV time for the fall, seemingly ignoring the attack ads from the Republican Governors Association that were already blanketing the airwaves and drilling the governor over a lack of leadership.

Hickenlooper, who is well known for disavowing negative ads (his campaign doesn’t run them, but the Democratic Governors Association is on the air now attacking Beauprez), only went up on TV with his first spot on Sept. 9.

A USA Today/Suffolk poll two weeks ago showed Hickenlooper leading Beauprez by a 43-41 percent margin.

A Quinnipiac University poll a week before showed Beauprez with a 10-point advantage.

Hickenlooper’s campaign was noticeably quiet as the governor struggled through a difficult summer: first in June after he expressed ambivalence about signing the state’s new gun laws in a meeting with a group of sheriffs that was recorded, and then in August after leaked audio of an interview with CNN in which Hickenlooper answered a hypothetical question that he could potentially grant full clemency to death row inmate Nathan Dunlap, to whom he granted a controversial reprieve last May, should he lose the election.

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