Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Hickenlooper the top choice in Colorado

John Hickenlooper 23
John Salazar 15
Andrew Romanoff 12
Federico Pena 11
Diana Degette 8
Ed Perlmutter 6
Cary Kennedy 2

When it comes to the question of who should replace Ken Salazar in the US Senate there isn't much consensus among Colorado voters, with support divided relatively evenly among the candidates being most commonly mentioned.

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper leads the way at 23%. One thing that's interesting about his support is that he gets the most support among Democratic, Republican, and independent voters at a steady 23-24%. That's different from, for example, New York where our polling finds that Democrats prefer Caroline Kennedy but other polling shows Republicans prefer Andrew Cuomo. Hickenlooper's support is steady across party lines.

Hickenlooper is the favorite in the Denver metro area at 26%, followed by Andrew Romanoff at 13%. In the rest of the state John Salazar is the top candidate at 25% with Hickenlooper receiving 19% support.

One thing to note about the results is that while Hickenlooper leads overall, the number of voters saying they would like to see John Salazar or Federico Pena appointed exceeds his level of support. That could be an indication that a plurality of voters would like to see a Hispanic candidate appointed.

That's certainly the case within the Hispanic community, where 32% say their top choice is Pena with 18% saying it's Salazar. Romanoff gets 16% with Hispanics and Hickenlooper falls further back at 11%. The divide among Hispanic voters about whether they'd rather see Pena or Salazar appointed falls largely along regional lines. Denver area folks prefer Pena while out state ones want Salazar.

Of course this decision is ultimately up not to the voters, but to Governor Bill Ritter. We tested Ritter's approval and found that he gets relatively good marks. 49% of Colorado voters like the job he's doing compared to just 36% who disapprove. He predictably does well with Democrats and poorly with Republicans, but has a solid 50-34 spread with independents.

Full results here

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