Colorado Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez sprang into a double-digit lead over his opponent, incumbent Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, in a new poll from Quinnipiac University released Wednesday.
Beauprez is up 50-40 percent over Hickenlooper, with the candidates trailed distantly by a pair of Libertarians who each garnered 3 percent of likely voters.
Colorado’s critical unaffiliated voters — who make up about a third of the electorate — are breaking hard for Beauprez by 50-37 percent, according to the poll.
Hickenlooper also trails the former Republican congressman in voters’ opinion of his character. Fifty-two percent of those surveyed see Beauprez as honest, with only 28 percent saying he’s dishonest. For Hickenlooper, the break is 48-44 percent.
Voters also told pollsters that Beauprez has better leadership qualities and cares more about their problems than the quirky Democrat. Voters view Beauprez favorably by 49-31 percent, while Hickenlooper is upside down — only 43 percent view him favorably, compared to 51 percent of those with an unfavorable opinion
“Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is behind the challenger on the key qualities voters want in a leader: honesty, caring and leadership,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll, in a press release announcing the findings.
“Pundits were predicting that Gov. Hickenlooper faced a close race for reelection,” he said. “Instead, he’s got a mad dash to make up a double-digit deficit. The Democrat does not get the traditional strong support from women to offset Bob Beauprez’s army of support from men.”
Indeed, female voters are evenly divided between the candidates, while Beauprez leads among men 54-34 percent.
The poll is the first to show such a significant lead for Beauprez; most others have the race within polls’ margins of error.
Voting in Colorado begins in mid-October by mail ballot.
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