In Day 2 of the Quinnipiac poll of Colorado politics, Democrats get hammered again. Obama is way upside down — 59-36. Obamacare is is not much better — down 56-40. Mark Udall is not as bad, but if you ask Coloradans whether he deserves to be re-elected, the answer is a fairly harsh no, by a 47-41 margin. That’s a pretty similar answer to what Hickenlooper got in the poll released Tuesday (see below).
The bad news is seeping into presidential politics – – many years away, but never far enough away apparently — in which Hillary Clinton is losing to Chris Christie 46-38 and is basically tied with the other leading contenders.
There is one bright spot for the Democrats. It’s the same one that Hickenlooper saw. When Mark Udall is matched up against a real live Colorado Republican, he still comes out ahead. The numbers (cue the drumroll).
— Ken Buck 45-42.
— Randy Baumgardner 44-39.
— Owen Hill 45-39.
— Amy Stephens 45-38.
— Jaime McMillan 43-40.
— Mark Aspiri 45-36.
To understand what’s going on, just look at the McMillan number. He’s trailing Udall by 3 points and no one has ever heard of him. It’s telling, though, because it means that Udall would struggle today against anyone, and that no one, including Ken Buck, has separated from the Republican field.
John Hickenlooper may have had a terrible year, but he’s got at least one thing going for him: When he runs for re-election next November, he gets to run against someone in the Republican field.
In the latest Quinnipiac poll, Hickenlooper’s numbers are not good. Actually, they’re terrible. And no wonder. He got clobbered on Amendment 66. He signed gun laws that turned into recalls of two Democratic senators. He botched the Nathan Dunlap reprieve, giving Republicans something to run on: The promise to sign Dunlap’s death sentence the day they get into office.
So when Coloradans are asked whether Hickenlooper deserves another term, they say no by a 49-42 percent margin. That’s not exactly Golden Boy territory.
But when you put him up against a specific candidate, something magical happens. He beats each one of them, if not by margins he’d find too comfortable. The numbers:
— 46-41 percent over Tom Tancredo;
— 45-40 over Scott Gessler;
— 44-38 over Greg Brophy;
— 44-40 over Mike Kopp.
What’s interesting is that each of the Republicans polls basically the same, meaning, probably, that the numbers are a reflection of how a generic, but real-life, Republican would do against Hick. That’s before, say, Tancredo flips off any more potential voters. Or before Republican voters learn Brophy drives a Prius.
There was some other interesting stuff in the poll. Coloradans say they oppose the Democrats’ gun control package by a 55-40 margin. And yet. And yet. If you take the centerpieces of the legislation, you see an entirely different story. Background checks win in an 85-14 landslide. And even magazine limits – the most controversial part of the law – win a split response, with 49 percent favoring and 48 percent against.
So, how are both things possible? Are we that cognitively dissonant?
Quinnipiac University Polling Institute assistant director Tim Malloy has an idea what’s going on: “Voters don’t like gun control,” he says, “or maybe they just don’t like the words, ‘gun control.'”
Maybe if the polling question were about “gun reform.” Or maybe about “George Zimmerman.”
However you word it, Coloradans don’t seem to like recalls either. Voters statewide oppose recalls for legislators they disagree with by 57-36. And they opposing recalling Sen. Evie Hudak 49-38. Of course, that’s not a measure of the vote in Hudak’s district, but it does give some idea that a third recall may be a case of overreach.
Of course, looking at the potential gubernatorial matchups, you could comfortably say it’s an overreach to pay much attention to a poll about a race that’s still a year away.