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Poll: Colorado Governor's race in dead heat, but voters saying economy improving

Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper of Colorado signed the legalization of recreational marijuana into law in the state, and in spite of this, Quinnipiac University released a new poll yesterday showing that Hickenlooper and his Republican challenger, former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, in a dead heat. The same poll also showed that Coloradans believe the economy is strong.

National Governors Association vice chairman Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-CO) speaks at the National Press Club January 15, 2014 in Washington, DC. Gov. Hickenlooper delivered the annual 'State of the States' address prior to taking questions.
Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

Voters were asked an open-ended question that allowed for any answer: What is the most important issue to you in deciding how to vote for Governor this year?

20 percent of Colorado voters say the economy/jobs is the most important issue in deciding their vote for governor, with 9 percent listing gun issues and 6 percent listing education or education funding.

Asked another question about the economy, voters gave an upbeat answer. The question asked: Would you describe the state of Colorado's economy these days as excellent, good, not so good, or poor?

A total of 64 percent of voters say the state’s economy is "excellent" or "good," while 35 percent say "not so good" or "poor." The state’s economy is getting better, 49 percent of voters say, while 12 percent say it’s getting worse and 38 percent say it’s the same.

Colorado’s economy is better than it was four years ago, 58 percent of voters say, while 17 percent say it’s worse and 23 percent say it’s about the same. Looking at their own and their family’s finances, 30 percent of voters say they are better off than they were four years ago, with 25 percent saying worse off and 44 percent saying about the same.

On these economic questions, Colorado voters are more positive than voters in most other states surveyed by Quinnipiac University. Only the state of Iowa was more upbeat about the economy.

In the race for governor, the race is essentially a dead heat. That is in spite of the strong outlook on the economy. 43 percent are for Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper and 44 percent for former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, the Republican challenger, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. An earlier poll, the Rasmussen Reports polling data, showed the same result.

Voters give are split on the job approval rating, with 48 percent approving and 46 percent disapproving, compared to a 52 – 39 percent approval rating in an April 23 survey Quinnipiac survey.

Hickenlooper does not deserve reelection, voters say 48 – 42 percent, reversing a positive 47 – 43 percent support in April.

"Coloradans seem generally optimistic about the future and confidant in the state’s economy. But that is certainly not enough to open the way for a smooth ride to reelection for Gov. John Hickenlooper," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.

However, Colorado voters give Hickenlooper good grades for character:

• Voters say 54 – 37 percent that he is honest and trustworthy, compared to 40 – 26 percent for Beauprez;

• Hickenlooper cares about their needs and problems, voters say 51 – 41 percent, compared to 41 – 29 percent for Beauprez;

• The governor has strong leadership qualities, voters say 56 – 38 percent, compared to 43 – 25 percent for Beauprez.

The poll was taken July 10 – 14 and surveyed 1,147 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points, reported Quinnipiac.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, directed by Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D., conducts public opinion surveys in Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, Iowa, Colorado and the nation as a public service and for research.