Tipton struggles to win voter approval, but leads in early poll

Public Policy Polling this week released survey results from Colorado’s Third Congressional District, where first-term GOP Congressman Scott Tipton is being challenged by Democratic state Rep. Sal Pace. Although Tipton is leading among district voters, his job approval numbers come in under 40 percent.

Of 569 individuals polled, 39 percent say incumbent Tipton deserves to be re-elected but only 36 percent approve of the job he is doing. Tipton’s job approval is 12 points lower than the 48 percent job approval then-Rep. John Salazar notched in a similar poll conducted in 2010. Tipton ended up beating Salazar, whose popularity was tested by votes in favor of the Affordable Care Act.

“People are upset with the way Washington is conducting business– and it shows,” Pace said in a press release. “I decided to run to make sure that the priorities of Colorado– our agriculture, our recreation-based economy, and our entrepreneurial spirit– are the priorities in Washington. It is time we stop playing politics and start putting people back to work with practical and commonsense solutions.”

Tom Jensen, Director of Public Policy Polling, said the results of the survey suggest that, as Pace’s name recognition improves, the race will tighten up significantly.

“In Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, 39% of voters support freshman Scott Tipton for reelection, while 54% think he should be replaced. House Republicans have a 37/49 favorability rating in the district and Tipton’s approval rating is 36%, with 40% of voters giving him low marks. Tipton starts out ahead only 46-39 against challenger Sal Pace, a lead that is likely to shrink as Pace’s name recognition increases.”

Tipton, known for his anti-environmental stands, has also drawn competition from the right. Candidate Tisha Casida is running against him in the GOP primary.

Results of the poll were first reported by Politico.

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.