Thursday, August 11, 2011

Colorado Miscellaneous

-John Hickenlooper is proving to be one of the most popular Governors in the country. 54% of voters approve of him to only 24% who disapprove. That +30 net approval spread makes him the third most popular sitting Governor out of 42 PPP has polled on, putting him behind only Nebraska's Dave Heineman and Arkansas' Mike Beebe.

Hickenlooper's very popular with Democrats at 73/11, that's a given. And his strong numbers with independents at 49/29 are no surprise either. What sets him apart from most other Governors is that he nearly breaks even across party lines, with 34% of Republicans approving of him and only 37% disapproving. It's very unusual to see that in these highly polarized political times.

If- and it's a big if just 7 months into office- Hickenlooper can keep up these sorts of numbers he seems bound to be in the 2016 discussion either as a Presidential or Vice Presidential candidate. Not a lot of purple state Governors with this kind of popularity.

-Hickenlooper's always been popular. New to the popularity game is Michael Bennet, who 44% of voters now give good marks to compared to 36% who think he's doing a bad job. Bennet's mostly had bad approval numbers since being appointed in 2009. Even right before he got reelected last year we found him with only a 39% approval rating while 47% of voters disapproved of him. But folks seem to have warmed up to him since he won the full term.

One person they haven't warmed up to is his 2010 opponent, Ken Buck. Only 25% of voters now express a favorable opinion of Buck to 46% with an unfavorable one. And in a hypothetical rematch voters say they would pick Bennet by a 55-38 margin over Buck, quite a contrast from his razor thin margin of victory last fall. Those numbers would seem to suggest increasing trepidation from Colorado voters about a Tea Party candidate, speaking of which...

-Only 38% of voters in Colorado now have a favorable opinion of the Tea Party to 49% who see it unfavorably. It's predictable that Republicans (74/10) pretty universally have a positive opinion of it while Democrats (11/79) pretty universally have a negative opinion of it. What tips the scales is that it's quite unpopular with independents, a majority of whom (51%) don't care for the movement to 36% who see it favorably.

Running as a Tea Party candidate isn't going to be a very good idea for Republicans in Colorado next year, at least when it comes to the general election.

-Colorado voters will be deciding in November whether to enact a slight increase in the sales and income taxes to provide more money for education and right now they're very closely divided on the proposal. 45% of voters say they're inclined to support it while 47% are opposed. Independents support it by a 48/44 margin and usually that would make the difference but Republicans (21/73) are more unified in their opposition to the proposal than Democrats are in their support (63/29). Convincing more Democrats to be supportive may be the key to its passage.

-Looking toward 2012 Colorado voters may have the chance to vote on whether to legalize marijuana and for now a majority of voters are in support of that- 51% compared to 38% opposed to legalization. Independents are strongly in favor of this proposal (55/31) and there are actually more Republicans in support of it (31%) than there are Democrats opposed (24%).

These are encouraging numbers for legalization proponents but it's important to remember that California's proposal for legalizing marijuana last year polled pretty well until completely collapsing in the final month before the election. There's a long road ahead.

-Colorado voters are evenly divided on allowed gay couples to marry, but when civil unions are given as an option they're strongly supportive of extending some form of legal recognition to same sex couples. 45% of voters support gay marriage to 45% opposed. Independents are strongly in favor (54/33) but like on the tax issue Republicans are more strongly against it (73%) than Democrats are in support (64%). Still these numbers are indicative of the fast moving shift in public opinion on gay marriage. Just 5 years ago Colorado voters supported a constitutional amendment to define marriage as being between a man and a woman by a 56/44 margin.

With civil unions in the mix 71% of voters support some legal recognition for gay couples to only 27% completely opposed. Of that 71%, 40% say full marriage rights are their first choice with another 31% saying civil unions would be their preference. 76% of independents and even 57% of Republicans support extending more right to same sex couples.

-Quick hits: Mark Udall's approval rating is 45/34, solid numbers. Democrats lead the generic Congressional ballot 45/40, reflecting what we're seeing in our polls nationally. The passage of time is not helping resurrect Scott McInnis' image, with only 14% of voters rating him favorably to 31% with a negative opinion. Tom Tancredo's unpopular as well with a 30% positive rating and 43% of voters rating him unfavorably. Most surprising thing in those numbers is the 26% with no opinion- how can you be ambivalent on Tom Tancredo? And 32% of voters think prostitution should be legal to 56% illegal. We were prompted to ask that question after surprisingly finding that Democrats, Republicans, and independents in Nevada all thought that it should be legal. But we found the opposite in Colorado with voters across party lines all thinking that it should be illegal. Nevada's an island unto itself, at least on that front.

Full results here


Anonymous said...

Find out why more and more cops, judges, and prosecutors who have fought on the front lines of the "war on drugs" are standing up and saying we need to legalize and regulate marijuana to help solve our economic, crime, and public health problems:

Anonymous said...

tom Tancredo has been out of the spotlight for a while. Perhaps, CO voters are trying to forgot him.

Anonymous said...

Lots of interesting results here, especially regarding Hickenlooper, Bennet, gay marriage, and marijuana legalization. Thanks so much for polling those!

Anonymous said...

Where's your integrity? You have totally changed the sampling from a Democratic wave election...what a joke!

Todd Dugdale said...

Anonymous wrote:
"You have totally changed the sampling from a Democratic wave election"

I think you are talking about weighting the sample - or are you trying to say that the exact same people from the 2008 election were sampled? Either way, you're mistaken.

If you would look at the poll release, you will find no mention of partisan weighting of the sample.

That's because there is no partisan weighting of the sample. It's not weighted to a 'wave election'. It's not weighted at all.

IOW, the partisan breakdown shown in the results is what 510 Colorado registered voters self-identified as.

"what a joke!"

The 'joke' is that you seem to think you know all about polling simply because you read the word "sampling" somewhere.

Not every pollster does things exactly the way that Rasmussen does, especially at this stage of the election cycle.

Mark B. said...

Wow! I never would have thought Nevada would be so alone on prostitution. Thanks for asking that question.

I wonder what Washington state thinks of prostitution. I've always thought they were rather leftly-libertarian. After all, marijuanana legalization polls best in the country there, and they have quite an anti-tax attitude for a solid Dem state.

Anyway, thanks again for asking. These unexpected policy questions are what make PPP polls so interesting.

Anonymous said...

What shift in public opinion on same-sex marriage? The proportion of people that opposed the constitutional amendment (44%) & now support same-sex marriage (45%) is the SAME.

All you're seeing is a Bradley effect where the lefty media has scared people out of saying they support traditional marriage for fear of being labeled a "homophobe".

Despite years of promises from lefty activists, there still isn't a hint of the supposed shift in opinion on marriage. EVERY time Americans have voted on the issue, we've voted to retain traditional marriage.

Anonymous said...


The shift is that 56% voted against same-sex marriage, but now only 45% oppose it. That's a big shift.

And frankly to assert that there isn't even a hint that public opinion has changed is just ridiculous. If you look at recent PPP surveys from states like Oregon (vote was 43/57 against gay marriage in 2004, now it's 48/42 in favor), Nevada (33/67 against gay marriage in 2002, now it's 45/44 in favor), Michigan (41/59 against all legal recognition in 2004, now it's 62/29 in favor), the list goes on — it is clear that public opinion has changed drastically recently. You're ignoring facts to claim otherwise.

Anonymous said...

When will you release the Vermont President numbers ?

MidPointMan said...

None of these results are valid because PPP oversampled Liberals (35% of the sample) and undersampled Moderates (27% of the sample). In a typical election, Liberals make up 20-21% of the electorate in Colorado and Moderates make up 39-40%. Moderates tend to split votes more evenly in Colorado than in other states.

The result is that this poll adds about 5-6 points tomthe Democrats, creating a total swing of 10-12 points.

Knock 10 points off of every D-R spread to get a real sense of what Colorado looks like.

jpmassar said...

PPP powers that be might want to check out this diary on Daily Kos

Anonymous said...

A very interesting poll, one which I am sure will be read with interest in CO.

I would note that the poll shows extraordinary change on the issue of civil unions. CUs were the subject of a ballot proposal in 2006, separate from that year's referendum on marriage. Voters rejected CUs 53-47. To go from 47% support to 71% in 5 years is remarkable. Of course, you could argue that a mid-term electorate tends to be older and more Republican, so the 47% support level in 2006 possibly understated actual state-wide support. But whatever the "real" support level in 2006, it is clear that it wasn't anything close to 71%.

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