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Keating poll shows Democrat Cary Kennedy leading Republican Tom Tancredo in Colorado governor’s race

Author: Ernest Luning - November 16, 2017 - Updated: November 18, 2017

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Former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy stands outside the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017. (Photo by Ernest LUning/Colorado Politics)Former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy stands outside the Denver Museum of Nature and Science on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2017. (Photo by Ernest Luning/Colorado Politics)

A new statewide poll of likely Colorado voters shows Democrat Cary Kennedy ahead of Republican Tom Tancredo by 16 points in a general election match-up between the leading gubernatorial candidates.

According to the survey, conducted over the past week by Colorado-based Democratic polling firm Keating Research and obtained exclusively by Colorado Politics, Kennedy, a former state treasurer, leads Tancredo, a former congressman, 50-34 percent, with 13 percent undecided and 3 percent saying they’d vote for another candidate even when pressed to choose between the two. No other candidates were listed in the poll.

Kennedy prevails in the hypothetical match-up with Tancredo due to her strength with women, unaffiliated voters and Hispanics, pollster Chris Keating said, winning each category by wide margins. She’s ahead 55-28 percent among women, 54-23 percent among unaffiliated voters, and 61-28 percent among Hispanic voters, according to cross-tabs and an analysis provided to Colorado Politics.

The results of the Keating poll are based on live calls to 500 randomly selected registered voters who cast ballots in at least one of the last two general elections, the pollster said. It was conducted Nov. 9-13, with half the respondents reached by cell phone and half reached by landline phones. The poll’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percent.

Though partisan pollsters, Keating Research and the North Carolina-based Democratic firm Public Policy Polling were the most accurate pollsters in Colorado for last year’s presidential election, predicting Democrat Hillary Clinton would win the state by 5 points — almost precisely her margin on Election Day — according to Real Clear Politics.

Kennedy is one of five Democrats and Tancredo is one of eight Republicans running in next year’s election for the office held by term-limited Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat.

Another poll obtained by Colorado Politics in late October — about a week before Tancredo officially entered the race — showed Tancredo in a statistical tie with U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Democrat, in a hypothetical general election contest. That survey was conducted in September by Republican pollster Matt Braynard of the Washington, D.C.-based Braynard Group, who set up the polling and data operations for Donald Trump’s  presidential campaign.

The Braynard poll showed Polis leading Tancredo 25.3-24.7 percent with 47.2 percent saying they were unsure. Polis’ margin over Tancredo is within the survey’s 3.16 margin of error.

In the new poll, Tancredo, who is mounting his third campaign for governor, does best among older male voters, winning men over age 50 with 51 percent support to Kennedy’s 37 percent. Kennedy wins older women 55-31 percent.

Kennedy performs somewhat better with Democrats than Tancredo does with Republicans. She wins Democrats by 82-9 percent, while Tancredo wins among GOP voters 71-14 percent.

The sample was made up of 33 percent Republicans, 32 percent Democrats and 35 percent either unaffiliated or belonging to other parties. White voters made up 72 percent of the sample and Hispanic voters were 15 percent.

Serena Woods, Kennedy spokeswoman, said the campaign was “thrilled that people across the state are responding to Cary’s leadership and vision — prioritizing education, making health care affordable and accessible and protecting the Colorado we all love.” She added that the survey results reviewed by the campaign at the request of Colorado Politics were evidence of the support Kennedy has been finding as she travels the state.

A Tancredo campaign spokesman declined to comment on the poll.

Keating said the Kennedy-Tancredo question was part of a statewide voter survey his firm conducts twice a year, gauging whether the state and country are headed in the right or wrong direction, how favorably Colorado voters view major politicians, how well they think some officials are doing their jobs, as well as other questions about political issues. Keating said he plans to release the entire poll later this week. While his firm does polling for Kennedy’s campaign, this survey wasn’t commissioned by her campaign, Keating said.

In addition to Kennedy and Polis, the other Democrats in the race are Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, former state Treasurer Mike Johnston and businessman Noel Ginsburg.

There’s been some shuffling in the GOP primary field in recent weeks, with Tancredo officially entering the race on the day before Halloween, and Attorney General Cynthia Coffman switched from a bid for reelection to the governor’s race a week later. On Monday, district attorney George Brauchler ended his gubernatorial campaign and said he was running for attorney general.

Other Republicans in the race include State Treasurer Walker Stapleton, businessman and former state lawmaker Victor Mitchell, investment banker Doug Robinson, Larimer County Commissioner Lew Gaiter III, former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez, Denver Trump campaign co-chair Steve Barlock.

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning

Ernest Luning is a political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has covered politics and government for newspapers and online news sites in Colorado for more than 25 years, including at the Highlands Ranch Herald, the Jefferson Sentinels chain of community newspapers and the Aurora Sentinel, where he was the city hall and cops reporter. After editing the Aurora Daily Sun, he was a political reporter and blogger for The Colorado Independent site. Since 2009, he has been the senior political reporter and occasional editor for The Colorado Statesman.