John Hickenlooper continues to hold a large lead in his quest to be Colorado's next Governor, polling at 47% to 33% for Tom Tancredo and 13% for Dan Maes. But there are at least a few small rays of hope for Tancredo in the poll.
First the argument for why Hickenlooper continues to be an overwhelming favorite. Even though his driver's seat status in this race is generally attributed to the split in the Republican ranks the truth remains that he's one of the most popular candidates running for Governor anywhere in the country this year. He has a 51/37 favorability rating in a time when very few politicians are cracking that 50% mark and that includes a 56/29 spread with the independent voters who are down on most every other politician in the state.
That popularity is translating into a 50-35 advantage with independents for Hickenlooper and he does continue to benefit from the division among Republican voters- 56% of them are now planning to vote for Tancredo while 24% are sticking with Maes. Hickenlooper meanwhile has his party pretty much locked up, taking 84% of the Democratic vote.
Now the faint ray of hope for Tancredo. Our polling suggests that Hickenlooper is stuck- his 47% share of the vote now is down slightly from right before the primary when it was 48%. And Tancredo is starting to consolidate the Republican vote a little more in his column- compared to our last poll he's gained 11 points and Maes has dropped 10. The total vote for Tancredo and Maes adds up to 46%, so if the trend continues of Maes voters defecting to Tancredo over the next four weeks this has the potential to get a whole lot tighter. And although there are not a lot of undecideds left in the race they lean strongly Republican- they report having voted for John McCain by a 66-22 margin in 2008.
I'd put the chances of a Tancredo victory somewhere around 10%. Very low but up from zero which is where I would have put them a couple months ago. Even though some factors in the race are moving in his favor the truth remains that he's not a popular figure in the state, with 45% of voters viewing him unfavorably to only 35% with a positive opinion.
Those favorability numbers do though put him in a lot better position than Maes who has to be the worst candidate for Senate or Governor in the country this side of Alvin Greene. Just 12% of voters see Maes favorably to 58% with an unfavorable view. It's a feat to make yourself that unpopular.
Hickenlooper continues to be a strong favorite but this race is worth keeping an eye on in the final month- it could end up being more interesting than people are expecting.
Full results here