Colorado Governor: Race for Governor Tightens
Survey of 500 Likely Voters
March 29, 2006
April 5, 2006--In a suddenly tighter race for Colorado governor, the sole remaining contender for the Democratic nomination, Denver District Attorney Bill Ritter, is now neck and neck with the strongest Republican candidate, Representative Bob Beauprez.
Ritter nominally leads Beauprez 41% to 40%, a dead heat. Ritter leads former University of Denver President Marc Holtzman 41% to 36%.
In our February survey of this contest, Ritter was surging against the Republicans. At the time, Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper had finally decided not to pursue the Democratic nomination. Ritter then led Beauprez 40% to 33%, and led Holtzman 41% to 28%.
Democratic State Representative Gary Lindstrom, then neck and neck with the Republicans, left the race in late February.
Both Ritter and Beauprez have collected big-league endorsements since our last poll. Former Colorado Governor Roy Romer has endorsed Ritter, as did many other Democrats, once Lindstrom dropped out; and U.S. Senator Wayne Allard has endorsed Beauprez.
About three fourths of Democrats support Ritter in each match-up. Republicans support Beauprez over Ritter more enthusiastically than they support Holtzman.
The rolling average of the last three Rasmussen Reports polls shows Ritter leading Beauprez by 3 percentage points, 40% to 37%. Ritter leads Holtzman in the three-poll average by five percentage points. These figures confirm the tightness of the race at this time. With seven months to go until Election Day and more roughly 20% of Colorado voters undecided, this looks to be a wide open campaign.
Ritter is viewed favorably by 52% of Colorado voters, unfavorably by 30%. Beauprez is viewed favorably by 52%, unfavorably by 34%. For Holtzman, the numbers are a bit weaker, 40% favorable and 34% unfavorable.
These figures are not directly comparable to our February survey. Prior to this survey, with so many candidates in the race, we asked only whether voters saw each candidate "favorably" or "unfavorably." Now we're asking whether they see candidates "somewhat" or "very" favorably or unfavorably. This change increases the number of voters with an opinion of each candidate. It decreases the number of "not sure" responses as many without a firm opinion are willing to offer a "somewhat" favorable or unfavorable assessment.
When asked about the abortion issue, a bare plurality of Colorado voters, 44%, say abortion is not morally wrong (43% say Yes)—unique among states we've polled on this question. In other states, a plurality or majority say abortion is morally wrong even when there is no majority support for an abortion ban. In Colorado, 54% oppose a ban on abortion similar to the one passed recently in South Dakota.
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Scott Rasmussen, president of Rasmussen Reports, has been an independent pollster for more than a decade.
The telephone survey of 500 Likely Voters was conducted by Rasmussen Reports March 29, 2006. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4.5 percentage points at the midpoint with a 95% level of confidence.