DENVER — After a difficult year, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is still favored to win a second term in 2014 according to a poll released Tuesday by Quinnipiac University.
The poll shows Hickenlooper’s approval rating at 48 percent and his disapproval rating at 46 percent, showing the impact of a rough political ride since the start of 2013, a year in which the governor didn’t veto a single bill coming out of an ambitiously progressive legislature and, just weeks ago, watched voters reject a tax hike for education he supported by a two-to-one margin.
That said, Hickenlooper is still polling ahead of his four potential GOP challengers.
“Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper does not have much room to breathe the Rocky Mountain air, and certainly no clear sailing back to the statehouse. With the election a year away, he has slight leads over his Republican challengers and a mixed approval rating, but 9 in 10 voters list jobs as a top priority and the new gun control laws sit very badly with Colorado gun owners,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.
“Almost half of Colorado voters don’t want to give Gov. Hickenlooper four more years, but they seem to like the other guys a little less.”
Former Senate Minority Leader Mike Kopp is the most competitive against Hickenlooper, trailing by a four-point margin, 44-40.
Hickenlooper polls ahead of former Congressman Tom Tancredo by 46-41 percent; ahead of Secretary of State Scott Gessler 45-40 percent; and he leads state Sen. Greg Brophy of Wray by a 44-38 percent margin.
Another good sign for Hickenlooper, a former business owner who’s recruited several big companies to Colorado: 89 percent say the economy is “very important”, making it the most important issue, ahead of education, gun laws, taxes, fracking and the death penalty.
In one question Colorado voters oppose “the stricter new gun control laws” 55 – 40 percent. But voters support 85-14 percent requiring background checks for all gun-buyers.
And 49 percent of voters support a statewide ban on the sale of ammunition magazines holding more than 15 rounds, while 48 percent are opposed.
Voters statewide oppose 49-38 percent the recall of state Sen. Evie Hudak for supporting stricter new gun control laws.