New Denver Post poll shows Beauprez, Hickenlooper nearly tied

Jon Murray --- The Denver Post 

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper's race against Republican Bob Beauprez was too close to call in a new Denver Post poll in which voters nonetheless indicated they were still getting familiar with the challenger.

Five weeks before the start of the mail-in election, 45 percent supported Hickenlooper among likely voters polled by SurveyUSA, and 43 percent supported Beauprez. The result is within the margin of error of plus or minus 3.9 percentage points.

The poll makes clear that the Democratic governor — who has faced controversy over gun control, the death penalty and his unconventional leadership style — is mostly a known quantity, and a polarizing figure. Forty-six percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of him, while 47 percent had an unfavorable opinion, a one-point deficit.

"It's a first-of-a-kind for John Hickenlooper, in that his charmed political life" has stalled out, said Eric Sondermann, a Denver-based independent political analyst. "Now all of the sudden, he has a real race on his hands."

The poll's Senate race results placed Democratic Sen. Mark Udall ahead of Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, 46 percent to 42 percent.

In the governor's race, Beauprez's favorability rating was 38 percent positive and 34 percent unfavorable.

But 28 percent said they needed to know more about Beauprez, a former congressman who ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006, to form an opinion. Only 7 percent had no opinion about Hickenlooper.

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