The latest Colorado polls are out (more to come Thursday), and they look a lot like the last round of polls: John Hickenlooper has opened a safe lead over the four-headed Republican challenge, while Mark Udall and Cory Gardner are in a virtual tie.
Don’t be surprised if that’s how it looks for a while, despite all the TV ads that are already up. There’s a huge argument in the political-money world about how effective campaign advertising really is (see: Adelson, Sheldon; Bloomberg, Michael), but now at least we have a baseline.
In any case, the meaning is pretty clear. Last year’s commie/pinko/radical/most-liberal-in-history legislative session doesn’t seem to be in play. Hickenlooper, the Democrat who signed all the bills, has the safe lead. Udall, the U.S. Senate Democrat who had nothing to do with all the bills, is tied with Cory Gardner, the U.S. House Republican who had nothing to do with all the bills.
The Quinnipiac poll has Hickenlooper leading Tom Tancredo 47-40, Scott Gessler 48-38, Mike Kopp 47-38, Bob Beauprez 48-39. Public Policy Polling (PPP) has Hickenlooper leading Tancredo 50-41, Gessler 48-41, Beauprez 48-41. It didn’t poll on Kopp.
So, that’s a 7-to-10 point lead for Hickenlooper despite guns, despite secession, despite Nathan Dunlap.
The Senate race, though, reflects the national divide and particularly the argument over Obamacare. (PPP has Udall leading 47-45, which is a virtual tie. The Q poll has Udall leading by a point. Still a virtual tie.) The early ads show how the campaign is going to play out, with, sadly, no surprises, unless you count the serious gaffe in the latest Americans for Prosperity anti-Udall, anti-Obamacare ad, in which they show Udall and Obama together, looking sad. The reason they look sad is that AFP chose photos of them at a hospital, together, visiting Aurora theater shooting victims.
Now, it turns out, AFP is sad. They have apologized and, they say, taken the offending part of the ad down. That will cost some money, but apparently the Koch brothers can afford it.
Democrats are going after Gardner on personhood, birth control and abortion – tying him to his early support of personhood and hammering home that Gardner’s conversion (because, he claims, he didn’t understand about contraception) doesn’t pass the laugh test. And as for Gardner’s allies in PAC-land, it’s all about Obamacare and cancellations. You have to hope that something dramatic happens besides a gaffe, so, at minimum, we can get a different kind of TV ad.
Meanwhile, we can draw two conclusions: Udall-Gardner reflects our purplish swing-state status; Hick-4 Heads reflects Hickenlooper’s popularity (51 percent is good for an incumbent these days) and the poor Republican field.
UPDATE: Rand Paul leads in the 2016 Colorado preview. He’s ahead of Hillary Clinton 48-43. Of course, that was pre-Bundygate.
Clinton and Chris Christie are tied at 42-42. And Clinton has slight leads over Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee.