PPP Poll: Colorado GOP Chair Wadhams right to flee

PPP Poll: Colorado GOP Chair Wadhams right to flee

On Monday, Colorado Republican Party Chair Dick Wadhams announced he was ending his bid for reelection. He said he didn’t want to lead a party dominated by inflexible Tea Party “nuts” who know little about how politics works. If new survey results are any measure, this may be Wadhams’ best political move in a long time. Tom Jensen at Public Policy Polling reports Wednesday that the GOP civil war against “rinos” will kill the elephant in the Centennial state.

Dick Wadhams

Wadhams believes that the state’s fired-up Tea Party amateurs don’t seem to realize that large numbers of Republicans in that state aren’t as conservative as they are and that in a state where independent voters make up nearly a third of the electorate, ultra-conservative candidates won’t win elections. Tea party candidate Ken Buck lost his U.S. Senate race and Tea Party candidate Dan Maes flailed badly in his doomed bid for governor.

The Public Policy polling data (pdf) suggests more of the same punishment is coming in 2012.

Asked to choose between a moderate Republican and Democratic President Barack Obama, vilified as a big-government liberal and a socialist by Tea Partiers almost since his inauguration, Obama wins by 6 points in Colorado. Against a conservative Tea Party candidate, however, Obama’s spread doubles to 12 points.

As Jensen puts it, the difference is particularly dramatic among independent voters, where Obama leads against a moderate Republican by 10 points but sails ahead of a Tea Party conservative by a whopping 24 points.

Jensen explains that those numbers demonstrate that “a lot of independents in the state are open to voting Republican next year but they’re not going to if there’s an ultra conservative nominee.”

Problem in Colorado is that Republican voters here don’t want moderate candidates. Jensen reports that 66 percent want to nominate a conservative candidate and only 25 percent want to nominate a moderate.

That 66 percent of Republicans working to nominate a strong conservative candidate will be alone in voting for that man or woman.

Independent voters here told Jensen they’d find a moderate candidate more appealing: 48 percent would like to see a moderate GOP candidate make the ballot compared to 33 percent who would like to see a conservative candidate make the ballot.


Jensen’s polling on the more general political views of Coloradans might come as an even greater shock to the Tea Party.

Voters [in Colorado] see Barack Obama as being more within the ideological mainstream than the Republican Party. 44 percent think that Obama’s “about right” on that front, while just 27 percent say the same for Republicans.

The percentage of voters who think the GOP is too conservative is higher at 47 percent than those who think Obama is too liberal, which is 43 percent. Another 18 percent of voters think that the Republican Party is too liberal while only 9 percent think Obama is too conservative, so that shows a considerably greater amount of ideological division within the GOP ranks than Democrats are having to deal with…

Finally, Jensen’s survey might give pause to Colorado Republican congressional freshmen Cory Gardner and Scott Tipton, who have generally joined Republicans Mike Coffman and Doug Lamborn and the new GOP House majority in pushing health care and Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeals and warring against abortion coverage.

[Colorado] voters don’t like the new Republican majority in the US House, saying by a 44/41 margin that they have an unfavorable opinion of it. And by a 51/43 spread they have more faith in Obama than those Congressional Republicans to run the country.

Here’s how the numbers broke down in two specific related questions included in the survey:

Q4 Do you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of the new Republican majority in the US House?

Favorable ……………………………………………….. 41%
Unfavorable ……………………………………………. 44%
Not sure …………………………………………………. 14%

Q5 Who do you trust more to run the country: President Obama or Congressional Republicans?

President Obama……………………………………..51%
Congressional Republicans ………………………. 43%
Notsure…………………………………………………. 6%

PPP reports surveying 517 Colorado voters last weekend. The survey’s margin of error is +/-4.3 percent.

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About the Author

John Tomasic

Writer, editor, web wrangler. He has worked for art, business, culture, politics publications and for a UN war crimes commission. @johntomasic
jtomasic@coloradoindependent.com | 720-432-2128 |

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