PPP's new Colorado poll finds voters closely divided in their feelings about both Governor John Hickenlooper and Senator Mark Udall- but also that this could prove to be another place where Republicans waste an opportunity by running the wrong candidate.
In 2010 Hickenlooper defeated Tom Tancredo by 15 points. Yet despite having half a dozen candidates to choose from next year, Republicans are still leaning toward nominating Tancredo again. He gets 34% support among GOP primary voters to 15% for Scott Gessler, 9% for Greg Brophy, 3% each for Mike Kopp and Jim Rundberg, and 2% for Steve House.
Voters are pretty split in their opinions about Hickenlooper with 45% approving of him to 48% who disapprove. But in a head to head match up with Tancredo he still leads by 8 points at 48/40. He has similar margins against Mike Kopp (45/37) and Scott Gessler (47/40). The Republican who comes closest, despite having minimal name recognition, is actually Greg Brophy at 44/43. Tancredo and Gessler are both much better known but with favorability ratings of 31/42 and 15/24 respectively they are not particularly well liked so their being known isn't really a good thing.
We're seeing a similar story in the Colorado Senate race. Ken Buck proved to be a very poor candidate against Michael Bennet in 2010 and lost a contest Republicans were generally expected to win all year long. And now GOP voters are ready to run him again- 45% say he's their choice for Senate candidate to just 8% for Randy Baumgardner, 7% for Amy Stephens, 2% for Owen Hill, 1% for Jaime McMillan, and less than 1% for Mark Aspiri.
As we're finding elsewhere Barack Obama's declining popularity is a big reason things are getting more precarious for Democrats on the ballot next year. His approval rating in the state is just 43%, with 54% of voters disapproving of him, down from a 48/50 spread in April. 70% of voters in the state think the implementation of Obamacare has been unsuccessful to only 26% who think it's going well, and overall just 41% of voters support it to 49% who are opposed.
The rough last couple months for Democrats have certainly put Hickenlooper and Udall in a position where they could be vulnerable next year. It's just not clear whether the GOP is going to put forth candidates who can take advantage of that vulnerability.
Full results here