Polis maintains lead over Stapleton in new poll, with more unaffiliated voters leaning toward Dems

Many unaffiliated voters still undecided, however
Polis maintains lead over Stapleton in new poll, with more unaffiliated voters leaning toward Dems
Posted at 11:34 AM, Oct 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-17 14:01:50-04

DENVER – The second poll of the Colorado governor’s race released this month shows Democrat Jared Polis with a 7-point lead over Republican Walker Stapleton with three weeks before Election Day, and that Democratic voters say they are more interested in November’s election than Republicans.

The poll from Louisville-based polling firm Magellan Strategies shows Polis leading Stapleton 47 to 40 percent, with 9 percent undecided and 4 percent supporting Libertarian candidate Scott Helker.

Another poll done mid-September by Magellan Strategies and Colorado-based Keating Research, which was commissioned by Healthier Colorado and released earlier this month, found similar responses, with Polis leading 47 to 40 percent, though 11 percent of respondents in that poll were undecided.

The new poll was conducted Oct. 8-10 and surveyed 500 likely voters weighted to prior midterm turnout figures. Half of the polling was done on cell phones and half was done on landlines. The margin of error was ±4.4 percent.

The poll suggests that Democratic voter enthusiasm is building three weeks before Election Day. Those polled were asked to rate their interest in the Nov. 6 election on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the most-interested.

  • Fifty-nine percent of Democrats answered with a 10, while 47 percent of Republicans did the same.

The poll also suggests that unaffiliated voters – the largest bloc of voters in Colorado – are leaning toward Democrats in November.

  • Unaffiliated voters said they preferred Democrats take hold of Congress 36 to 23 percent, with 41 percent undecided.
  • Among unaffiliated voters, Polis leads Stapleton 46 to 20 percent, though 26 percent were undecided. Helker got 8 percent support among that group, with a 7.8 percent margin of error.
  • Polis leads Stapleton by 13 points among women voters, but the two are tied among male voters.
  • “It remains to be seen if Walker Stapleton can improve his support among those voters in the remaining three weeks before Election Day,” pollster David Flaherty said.

The poll also shows a wide gender gap between who men and women support.

  • Men surveyed were slightly more likely to want Republicans to stay in control of Congress, 44 to 41 percent.
  • But women said they wanted Democrats in control by a 13-point factor, 50 to 37 percent.

Forty-one percent of those surveyed were suburban voters – some of whom will decide key races in the state legislature and in Colorado’s congressional districts, especially the sixth.

  • Suburban voters supported Democrats retaking control of Congress 51 to 38 percent.
  • Among suburban men, 47 percent said they preferred Democrats take control, while 45 percent said Republicans should keep hold.
  • But among suburban women, that gap widens from 2 points to 25 points, the survey showed.

The poll also found that despite the gap between the candidates, Polis and Stapleton have similar image ratings.

  • Forty-five percent of people have a favorable opinion of Polis, while 36 percent had an unfavorable opinion.
  • Forty-two percent have a favorable opinion of Stapleton, while 36 percent have an unfavorable opinion of him.
  • Fourteen percent of respondents said they had heard of both candidates but had no opinion on them.
  • Just 5 percent of those polled had never heard of Polis, while 8 percent hadn’t heard of Stapleton.

The poll also suggests that image ratings for the respective parties are similar. Forty-eight percent of those surveyed had a favorable opinion of the Democratic Party, while 42 percent had an unfavorable opinion. Forty-six percent said they had a favorable opinion of the Republican Party, compared to 45 percent with an unfavorable opinion.

Flaherty said it is possible that could be good news for the GOP among talks of a blue wave in November.

“We suggest the Republican Party’s brand and image is not as terrible as some political observers would believe,” he wrote. “Therefore, the likelihood of a ‘mixed-bag’ election where neither political party dominates is more possible than the conventional wisdom would think.”

More from the poll:

  • Colorado voters are split on their opinion of Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court. Among all respondents, 43 percent approved and 43 percent disapproved. But the party splits showed up as well: 83 percent of Democrats disapproved, while 83 percent of Republicans approved. Among unaffiliated voters, 37 percent disapproved of his confirmation while 31 percent approved. But 32 percent of unaffiliated voters had no opinion on his confirmation.
  • Those polled are also generally more opposed to raising taxes to pay for transportation projects. Fifty-two percent said they supported Proposition 109, which would use existing dollars to pay for road projects, while 23 percent were opposed. For Proposition 110, which would raise taxes slightly to pay for a larger bond project, 35 percent supported the measure while 34 percent were opposed. Thirty-one percent were undecided.
  • Flaherty said that it would be “premature” to say that either measure would be approved or rejected because of the large percentages of those who were undecided.
  • President Trump’s approval rating was also the subject of a question. His support remains underwater in Colorado, with 44 percent of respondents approving of the job he’s doing as president, 50 percent disapproving and 6 percent who were undecided.
  • The gender gap also shows up in the question about Trump’s approval rating. Forty-nine percent of men approve of the job he’s doing, compared to 44 percent who disapprove. But among women, just 41 percent approve, compared to 55 percent who disapprove.

The pollster said his firm is not working for any gubernatorial candidates or independent expenditure committees and that the survey was “fielded and paid for by several clients of Magellan Strategies.” The sample was taken at random from a September voter file with households that had at least one voter.