Poll: Maes fading fast; Hickenlooper maintains strong lead

Is GOP candidate for governor Dan Maes a closet Hickenlooper supporter? As he continues to struggle, his Democratic rival, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper continues to make gains in a race that also features the insurgent run being made by former GOP Congressman Tom Tancredo.

Maes can’t raise money and the latest CNN/Time/Opinion Research poll shows him trailing badly. As it stands now, not only would he finish last, but even Tea Party supporters favor American Constitution Party candidate Tancredo 51 percent to 35 percent.

“This poll is enormously encouraging,” Tancredo said in a press release touting the poll.

Overall, of just over 1500 Colorado voters spoken to Sept. 17-21, Democrat John Hickenlooper still has a healthy lead, with 47 percent of the vote, followed by Tancredo at 29 percent and Republican Maes at 21 percent.

It is no surprise that Hickenlooper is leading in Denver, 68 percent to 19 percent for Tancredo. In the suburbs, Hickenlooper leads 50 percent to 31 percent over Tancredo. On the Front Range generally, it tightens to 36 percent for Hickenlooper, 35 percent for Tancredo and 26 percent for Maes.

Support for both Tancredo and Hickenlooper falls off dramatically once you leave the I-25 corridor, where Hickenlooper and Maes tie at 37 percent and Tancredo polls only 22 percent.

Men and women both favor Hickenlooper, but while Hickenlooper leads strongly among women, among men, his lead is only 39 percent to 35 percent for Tancredo. Hickenlooper leads strongly in all age groups. Hickenlooper leads strongly in all income brackets, but Tancredo leads slightly among people who did not attend college.

Ninety-five percent of Democrats say they will vote for Hickenlooper. Of independents, 41 percent favor Tancredo and 40 percent favor Hickenlooper. The margin of error is about 2.5 percent. Republicans still favor Maes, but with less than a majority, 48 to 38 over Tancredo, with Hickenlooper picking up 10 percent of Republican votes. People describing themselves as moderates like Hickenlooper 65 percent to 25 percent for Tancredo, with Maes picking up only 7 percent. Conservatives, meanwhile, support Tancredo 45-40 over Maes, with 12 percent liking Hickenlooper.

Maes and Tancredo did not return phone calls.

Tancredo’s campaign manager said, in a press release, that Tancredo’s campaign “will continue to gain support as more and more Republicans focus on the governor’s race and the ethical plight of Evergreen conman Dan Maes, who has been struggling amid allegations of corruption, campaign finance violations and resume padding.”

Maes’ most recent campaign finance foibles have to do with not filing disclosures in a timely fashion, for which he has been fined at least $3000—and which he has not yet paid. Other problems have to do with the fact that he “returned” $300 to a campaign donor who is not on record as being a campaign donor. The Secretary of State’s office is powerless to investigate that apparent violation unless someone files a complaint.

Sections of state law that would seem to come into play in this case are:

1-45-106 (1)(a)(II) In no event shall contributions to a candidate committee be used for personal purposes not reasonably related to supporting the election of the candidate.

1-45-108 (1)(a)(I) All candidate committees…shall report to the appropriate officer their contributions received…who has contributed twenty dollars or more…

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Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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