National media types have gone into overdrive to focus on the Kansas governor’s race where GOP incumbent Sam Brownback is struggling to win re-election after enacting a conservative agenda. But Brownback is within the margin of error in recent polls. That might not be the case about another governor in a larger state who is trouble for enacting a liberal agenda. The latest Quinnipiac University Poll finds Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper trailing his opponent, former GOP congressman Bob Beauprez, by 10 points.
“Pundits were predicting that Gov. Hickenlooper faced a close race for re-election,” said Tim Malloy, an assistant poll director. “Instead, he’s got a mad dash to make up a double-digit deficit.” To be fair, other polls have shown the race closer, including an NBC News/Marist poll that found Beauprez with a four-point lead.
Hickenlooper’s troubles include his signing a controversial package of gun-control measures that led to the recall of two Democratic state senators and a general sense that, as a former mayor of Denver, he has ignored or downplayed the concerns of more rural voters.
Democrats have fought back by highlighting Beauprez’s “radical record” which they claim includes a 2010 speech in which he anticipated a comment by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. Beauprez claimed that “47 percent of all Americans pay no federal income tax. I submit to you that there is a political strategy to get slightly over half and have a permanent ruling majority by keeping over half of the population dependent on the largesse of government that somebody else is paying for.”
But liberal attempts to make Beauprez’s views toxic haven’t worked. A July Quinnipiac poll found that 52 percent of Coloradans agreed with his remarks versus only 40 percent who disagreed. The poll also found that 52 percent of those surveyed agreed poor people have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything in return while only 37 percent felt poor people have it hard because government benefits don’t go far enough to help them live decently.
Colorado voted for Barack Obama over Mitt Romney by five points in 2012. There may be a sea change going on in the state this year.