Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning polling firm, just released a poll that shows Hickenlooper’s lead over Tom Tancredo trimmed to only three points in the volatile Colorado governor’s race, 47-44. Dan Maes proved my colleague Don Johnson’s awesome predictive powers by scraping only 5% . PPP surveyed 818 likely Colorado voters from October 21st to 23rd. The margin of error for the survey is +/- 3.4%.
The PPP survey backs up the latest Magellan poll that put Hickenlooper and Tancredo in a statistical tie at 44-43, and casts even more doubt on the recent Denver Post/Survey USA poll, which put Hickenlooper on top by six. Ben DeGrow has an excellent analysis here.
Given the Magellan survey may have understated Tancredo’s likely performance given that it relied on 2008 and earlier voter turnout patterns instead of the likely more conservative turnout advantage this election, there’s a good shot Tancredo is really in the lead. PPP, which often works to spin the results favorably for the Democrat, had this encouraging outlook for Tancredo supporters:
Hickenlooper’s been unable to rise above the 47-48% mark in PPP’s polls over the last three months. When Tancredo and Maes were splitting the vote relatively evenly it looked like that would be enough to win but now Hickenlooper really appears to be at risk of losing. Given the trajectory of the race it is not inconceivable that Tancredo could pick up a good chunk of even the small amount of support Maes has remaining and 38% of the undecideds are Republicans to only 23% who are Democrats. Those two data points suggest that Tancredo still has more room to grow.
A few months ago, I and several other conservative bloggers thought Business Word’s Don Johnson had truly lost it in predicting Maes would only garner five percent. I thought the “R” after the name Maes would in and of itself guarantee him a much higher split. Not only is my being so badly wrong encouraging for this election, but I think it speaks to the potential strength of conservative and libertarian third-party candidates generally over party label. I think we are seeing the same phenomenon with Lisa Murkowski in Alaska.
Then again, Maes is a unique case. PPP’s survey revealed Maes has the lowest favorability ratings of any candidate in the country.
Maes is in a class of his own as the most unpopular candidate running for office anywhere in the country this year. A remarkable 75% of voters have an unfavorable opinion of him to only 8% who see him in a positive light. He’s pretty universally reviled by Democrats, Republicans, and independents alike.
Let’s hope Tancredo keeps growing into his growing room and that Colorado is spared the train wreck that would define a Hickenlooper reign.