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Gov. Jared Polis gave his State of State address in Colorado Springs at the Boot Barn Hall at Bourbon Brothers on Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2022. About 500 people packed the hall. (Photo by Jerilee Bennett, The Gazette)

Gov. Jared Polis's electoral fortunes fare much better compared to other Colorado Democrats facing reelection this year, including U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, according to a poll of voters commissioned by a pro-school choice group that supports conservative candidates.

The group, Ready Colorado, attributed Polis's solid showing to, among other factors, his support for school choice policies.   

Polis beats a generic Republican challenger by five points, 48.6% to 43.6%, which lies just outside of the poll's margin of error. Nearly 8% of respondents are undecided in his race, Republican polling firm Cygnal found.

The governor's numbers hold despite the overwhelming majority of respondents — 66.9% to 24.2% — concluding that the country is headed on the wrong track. Coloradans are evenly split when it comes to their state, with 44.5% saying Colorado is on the wrong track and 44.6% saying it's in the right direction.

Bennet, on the other hand, faces a statistical dead heat with a generic Republican candidate, 44.8% to 45.9%. State treasurer Dave Young is in the same boat, lagging by about a point behind a generic Republican challenger, although the number of undecided voters is considerably higher at 17.2% in his race. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 3.85 percentage points, which means if the error were factored in, both Bennet and Young could be ahead.

That the governor holds better numbers than his party mates wasn't lost on Tyler Sandberg, vice president of Ready Colorado, which supported a slew of contenders that ran opposite union-backed school board candidates in the last round of school board elections

Sandberg attributed Polis's numbers to his "independence" from his party's orthodox positions on education.

"Polis is gaining a lot of value for being independent," Sandberg told Colorado Politics. "The pressure is on for Democrats to be able to buck the special interests in their party." 

In particular, Sandberg noted the overwhelming support for parents having more say in their children's education. The poll also shows a majority — 59% — of Coloradans oppose shifting to remote learning in the face of the Omicron variant. Among parents, the opposition to remote learning rises to 67%.

The majority of respondents — 25.3% were Republicans, 34.6% were Democrats and 36.8 were unaffiliated — also support mask mandates for K-12 students, 52% to 42%, but requiring a COVID-19 vaccine is more contested at 49% support and 45% opposition.

The statewide poll of 630 "likely" general election voters — which the pollster defined as having voted in at least one of the last four general elections — was conducted via a mixture of live caller, text and email on Jan. 12 and 13. The respondents also include newly-registered voters. The pollster said respondents were screened for self-reporting their likelihood to vote, and the sample was weighted to reflect demographics in the last midterm elections and then adjusted for "shifts in the political environment."

Cygnal was among the most accurate pollsters during the 2017-2019 cycle, according to fivethirtyeight.com

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