More Colorado voters oppose recalling Gov. Jared Polis than favor such a move, even though the same voters by a narrow margin think Polis and the Democratic-controlled legislature went too far in this year's session, a new survey conducted by a Republican polling firm shows.
The poll, conducted by Louisville-based Magellan Strategies and made available before its release to Colorado Politics, found that 47% of likely Colorado voters oppose efforts to recall the Democratic governor, while 38% say they support recalling him from office and 15% are unsure or don't have an opinion.
That's despite 45% of likely voters who agree that the Democrats — who control all levers of state government after last year's elections — over-reached at the Capitol this year, passing bills that "went too far and were out of touch with everyday Coloradans," compared to 40% who disagree and 15% who were unsure or had no opinion.
The poll found that nearly 30% of those who believe the Democrats went too far aren't on board with recalling Polis, the former five-term congressman who took office in January.
Polis has drawn fire from conservatives for signing several hot-button measures into law, including a new system for regulating oil and gas, a "red flag" law allowing guns to be seized from people deemed a threat, and a bill supporting a national popular vote for president.
Although several groups that want to recall Polis have become embroiled in disagreements over strategy and timing, one faction began circulating petitions earlier this month and has until Sept. 6 to gather 631,266 valid signatures from registered voters — a Herculean task unlike anything ever before attempted in Colorado — in order to put the question before voters.
Pollster David Flaherty said he conducted the survey to understand voter sentiment in the wake of the contentious 2019 legislative session and as the 2020 general election approaches.
Nearly 15 months before ballots go out, Flaherty said, voter intensity in Colorado appears to be through the roof, with Democrats showing slightly higher interest than Republicans and unaffiliated voters. Excitement is nonetheless spread across the board, the poll found, with 62% of all voters saying they're as interested as possible in next year's election.
Flaherty said he expects unaffiliated voters will make up the lion's share of Colorado's electorate in 2020, based on interest measured in the poll and those voters' performance in the 2018 midterm election, when they turned out in historic numbers.
The poll found that President Donald Trump is deeply underwater with state voters, with 57% disapproving of the job he's doing, 39% approving and 3% unsure.
Polis, on the other hand, is relatively popular with state voters, with 49% approving of the job he's doing and 37% disapproving and 14% unsure.
Asked to pick between Trump and a generic Democratic presidential nominee, 44% of Colorado voters say they'd vote for the Democrat, compared to 32% who say they'd pick Trump. Another 15% say they prefer another candidate and 8% are undecided.
"Needless to say there is not a lot of good news here for President Trump’s prospects in Colorado," said Flaherty.
Trump trails an unnamed Democrat in nearly every demographic group and geographic classification in the state, prevailing only among voters age 45-64 — by 8 percentage points. Voters 44 and younger, however, tilt toward any Democrat by a whopping 34 percentage points, and the battleground state's all-important suburban voters prefer a Democrat over Trump by 30 percentage points. Even rural and small town voters give the edge to the Democrat by 2 percentage points.
By a 10-percentage point margin, voters say they want Congress to be controlled by Democrats rather than Republicans, with 47% preferring the Democrats and 37% opting for the GOP.
Women prefer Democrats control Congress by a wide margin, the poll found, with 50% compared to 32% who want the Republicans to wield the gavels. Democratic control leads among the state's crucial unaffiliated voters 42% to 24%, and by an even wider margin — 59% to 28% — among suburban voters. Rural and small town voters are evenly split, with 44% on each side.
As far as general mood, the poll shows voters are nearly evenly split as far as the state's direction — 44% think Colorado is headed in the right direction, 41% think it's going the wrong way, and 15% aren't sure or don't have an opinion.
Unsurprisingly, Democrats tend to think the state is moving the right direction, while Republicans have the opposite opinion, though the sentiment isn't uniform among the partisans. Roughly one-quarter of Democrats think the state is headed on the wrong track, while almost the same share of Republicans are optimistic about the state's path.
There's a significant generation gap on the question. A full 50% of votes age 18-44 think the state is on track, while 50% of voters age 45-64 take the opposite view. Among voters 65 and older, 43% have a grim outlook and 38% like the way things are moving.
The survey of 500 likely 2020 general election voters was conducted July 15-17 with telephone interviews and online surveys. Its margin of error is 4.38%.
CORRECTION: The Magellan Strategies poll showed that Colorado suburban voters prefer a generic Democrat over Trump by 30 percentage points in the 2020 election. An earlier version of this story incorrectly said otherwise.