Public Policy Polling (pdf) (8/7-8, Colorado voters):
John Hickenlooper (D): 50
Dan Maes (R): 38
John Hickenlooper (D): 48
Dan Maes (R): 23
Tom Tancredo (C): 22
PPP’s newest look at the Colorado gubernatorial race finds Denver mayor and Dem nominee John Hickenlooper in pole position, regardless of whether ex-Rep. Tom Tancredo follows through on his kamikaze mission to run on the Constitution Party line. With the GOP having chosen paranoid bike-hating very-very-small-businessman Dan Maes as their standard bearer, there’s really no path to victory for them. (Not that Scott McInnis, mortally wounded by plagiarism scandal, would likely have fared any better. Although that’s purely conjecture… I assume that PPP polled Hickenlooper/McInnis when they took this sample last week, since McInnis still had a decent shot of winning the primary, but they don’t release those numbers today.) (Also, note that there are no trendlines from their May poll, as the idea that they’d have to be polling based on Maes, let alone Maes and Tancredo justifiably didn’t occur to them.)
The favorable numbers tell most of the story: Hickenlooper is at 50/33 (including 47/30 among indies), extremely strong for any Dem gubernatorial candidate anywhere, while Maes and Tancredo are pretty widely reviled, at 23/38 and 27/50 respectively… and bear in mind that there’s probably a lot of overlap in that one-quarter of the electorate, meaning that Maes and Tancredo are going to be competing over the few crazies who can tolerate them.
OK, OK, there is one way the Republicans can salvage this race, although that got a lot slimmer with Maes having won the primary rather than McInnis (who was a loyal enough solider that he might have dropped out). They can: 1) convince Maes, who’s vowed to stay in, to drop out for someone more electable, 2) get someone like Jane Norton or Josh Penry (UPDATE: or self-funding ReMax founder Dave Liniger?) to take over, and 3) hope that the presence of a more electable Republican drives the rather, um, mercurial Tom Tancredo out of the race. It’s at least imaginable, and I’m sure state party chair Dick Wadhams is already working the phone lines, but it’s something of a triple bank shot for the GOP to hang their hopes on. As a result, Swing State Project is moving this race from Tossup to Lean Democratic.
UPDATE: PPP’s Tom Jensen kindly shared with us the Scott McInnis numbers that they tested. Hickenlooper would have beaten McInnis 52-38 in a two-way, and 48-24-22 in a three-way, barely budging the numbers.
STILL ANOTHER UPDATE: A new Politico piece from Dave Catanese — mostly focusing on McInnis having conceded to Maes and offering his support — quotes Maes as saying that Wadhams “pledged to back whoever wins the primary and I believe him.” Maes was also later quoted as saying “that rattlesnake pledged not to bite me, and I believe him.”