AURORA | A new poll shows Democrat Jared Polis almost certainly becoming the next Colorado governor, and Arapahoe County could be part of the reason why.
The poll, from Keating Research and OnSight Public Affairs, shows Polis with an eight point lead. Polis holds 50 percent of the vote while his Republican challenger Walker Stapleton carries 42 percent, according to pollsters. Three other candidates share about 9 percent of the vote.
“In 23 years of polling in Colorado, a statewide candidate with this type of consistent 7-to-8-point lead in the polls has never lost the election,” said pollster Chris Keating in a statement. “Our statistical model gives Jared Polis a 98 percent chance of winning.”
Among factors contributing to Polis’s expected victory is his nearly 2-to-1 lead in Arapahoe and Jefferson counties — Keating points out they “tend to determine the outcome of Colorado elections.”
Polis is polling at 61 percent in the suburban Denver counties and Stapleton has 33 percent.
Keating said Republican turnout has been “surprisingly weak” this election, while unaffiliated voter turnout has been “robust.” According to the poll, approximately 53 percent of unaffiliated voters are expected to be voting for Polis and 32 percent for Stapleton.
Polis is also favored among women. 56 percent compared to the 36 percent for Stapleton. Polis also reportedly leads by 18 points with voters aged 18 to 49.
Another factor in the Democratic lead: President Donald Trump and the voters who are trending away from his administration and policies.
“In an election seen as a referendum on the Trump Presidency, a majority (59 percent) of Colorado voters have an unfavorable view of Donald Trump, compared to 39 percent favorable,” the poll says.
Trump is even more unfavorable in Arapahoe and Jefferson counties, 67 percent compared to 31 percent who said they have a favorable view of the president.
Trump’s unfavorable rating is seven points deeper than that of Barack Obama’s in 2014.
Gov. John Hickenlooper, who hinted again this week he’ll run for president, still ranks high for Colorado voters, with 59 percent saying the have a favorable view of him.
“Hickenlooper has an 8-year track record of bringing Coloradans together,” said OnSight Public Affairs partner Curtis Hubbard, who also worked on the polling data. “And his favorability is a nod to his thoughtful approach to promoting jobs and the economy across the state, protecting Colorado’s air and water, and tackling some of the trickiest issues facing our state, be they health care or gun violence.”
The polling data is based on 517 telephone interviews conducted Oct. 25-30 among likely Colorado voters.
— KARA MASON, Staff Writer