NEW POLL: Gardner Trailing Hickenlooper Among Unaffiliated Voters by 29%, Even Behind Trump

NEW POLL: Gardner Trailing Hickenlooper Among Unaffiliated Voters by 29%, Even Behind Trump

GOP strategist says “unaffiliated voters are all that matter,” but Gardner “flatly outnumbered” by independent voters

Denver, CO – Morning Consult released a new poll today that shows Senator Cory Gardner trailing 29 points to former Governor Hickenlooper with unaffiliated voters, who make up more than 40% of the state’s electorate. Gardner, whose support is at a failing 39 percent with Colorado voters, is winning even fewer votes than President Trump — who lost Colorado in 2016 by five points and has essentially written off Colorado as a winnable state.

Gardner has consistently been underwater in this election, and his support among key unaffiliated voters is 10 points lower than his favorability with the same group last month. Republican strategists know that “unaffiliated voters are all that matter,” but see the writing on the wall and admit that it could be “impossible for Cory to win.

The fact that Gardner trails Trump shows that his weaknesses go beyond his tight-knit relationship with the president. Today the Colorado Democratic Party launched a new website to show Coloradans how Gardner has failed them, from trying to rip their health care away to selling out our public lands:

Read highlights of the poll below or the full article HERE.

Morning Consult: Gardner ‘Flatly Outnumbered’ by Independents as He Seeks Re-Election in Colorado Senate Race
Hickenlooper holds 29-point lead over GOP incumbent with unaffiliated voters, who make up more than 40% of the state’s electorate
By Eli Yokley | September 3, 2020

Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner has a math problem. 

The most vulnerable Republican up for re-election this fall boasts stronger support among the party’s base than most of the other GOP Senate contenders this year, but he is being lapped by Democratic rival and former Gov. John Hickenlooper among independents, who make up the lion’s share of the state’s active voter rolls. 

“The unaffiliated voters are all that matter, especially in a hyperpolarized environment where you can count on your base to show up,” said Ryan Winger, director of data analysis and research projects at Magellan Strategies, a Republican polling firm. 

August data compiled by Colorado’s secretary of state shows roughly 42 percent of the state’s electorate does not identify with either of the two major political parties. Morning Consult’s daily tracking among likely voters from Aug. 21-30 shows Hickenlooper leading Gardner by 29 percentage points, 54 percent to 25 percent, among independents — roughly in line with his average standing with the sizable group since the tracking began more than two months ago. 

Overall, the polling of 638 likely voters found Gardner trailing Hickenlooper in the Centennial State by 9 points, 39 percent to 48 percent, which tracks with his average deficit over the past month and mirrors the top-of-the-ticket contest between President Donald Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

Laura Chapin, a Colorado-based Democratic strategist, said that despite Gardner’s strength among Republicans, the composition of the state’s electorate makes him “flatly outnumbered.”

“Cory Gardner sealed his fate when he endorsed Trump, and there’s not going to be a whole lot else beyond that,” she said. “His only hope is holding onto his base and picking up unaffiliated voters magically. It’d take a lot of split tickets, and that ain’t happening.” 

Gardner, who was one of many elected Republicans to call for Trump to drop his presidential bid in October 2016 following the Access Hollywood tape release, has since aligned himself with the president, endorsing his re-election bid in January and appearing with him at a February campaign rally in Colorado Springs.

But his message on television for the general election has been largely devoid of the president and partisan politics, a sign of the president’s toxicity with the state’s overall electorate.

Like many other Democratic candidates for Senate this cycle, Hickenlooper has largely focused on health care — specifically, Gardner’s votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act and its protections for pre-existing conditions. A Democratic-aligned Senate Majority PAC ad currently running in the state refutes Gardner’s bipartisan bonafides: “They say actions speak louder than words, and when it comes to Cory Gardner, they’re right.” (In an apparent effort to mitigate the line of attacks, Gardner filed a bill before the Senate left town for its August recess entitled the “Pre-Existing Conditions Protection Act of 2020.”