Gardner Government Shutdown

Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., arrives at the Senate Chamber for an abbreviated pro-forma session at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, Dec. 31, 2018, as a partial government shutdown stretched into its second week. A high-stakes move to reopen the government will be the first big battle between Nancy Pelosi and President Donald Trump as Democrats come into control of the House. The new Democratic House majority gaveled into session that week with legislation to end the government shutdown. Pelosi and Trump both thought they had public sentiment on their side in the battle over Trump's promised U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Early Colorado polling data suggests Democrats should feel good about their chances next year, and incumbent Sen. Cory Gardner should be worried.

Gardner is less popular in Colorado than President Trump, who lost the state to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and faces long odds here in 2020, according to the poll released by Keating Research, OnSight Public Affairs and Martin Campaigns on Wednesday morning.

Just 40% of those polled had a favorable view of their senator, while the president got a favorable rating of 43%.

Trump, however, was viewed as "unfavorable" by 56% of those polled, while 39% put that tag on Gardner.

The first-term senator hasn't lost much ground since a Keating-Onsight poll in January, when 39% gave him a favorable rating next to 43% who saw him unfavorably.

Gardner is one of the most endangered Republicans in the U.S. Senate next year, as a slew Democrats have lined up to take him on.

Pollsters pointed to their findings that just 60% of Republicans had a favorable view of Gardner, who has an on-again, off-again working relationship with the president.

The president, however, got a favorable rating of 90% of Republicans, but less support among unaffiliated and Democratic voters.

Gardner endorsed Trump's re-election in January, as the GOP base — at least on talk radio  —  began to question Gardner's loyalty to the president.

OnSight's Curtis Hubbard, who usually works with Democratic candidates and causes, noted that while Gardner's early endorsement did little or nothing to help him with the GOP base, it also didn't have a significant impact on his previous support from unaffiliated and Democratic voters.

In 2014, Gardner, then a U.S. House member, won the office from incumbent Mark Udall of Boulder by less that 2% in the midterm election, in which Republicans had 5% advantage in turnout.

Voters' good feelings about the state's direction could yield glad tidings come election time. Democrats control the governor's office, as well as both chambers of the legislature. More than half of those polled (55%) think the state is headed in the right direction, and exactly half have favorable views of Gov. Jared Polis.

"Republicans are still looking for the right message and messengers for 2020," pollster Chris Keating said in a statement. "Majorities of Democrats and unaffiliated voters continue to believe the state is headed in the right direction, believe abortion should be legal and hold unfavorable views of President Donald Trump."

Polis took office in January had has pushed through an aggressively liberal agenda on health care, climate, and regulation on oil and gas, which has propelled a recall effort against the Democrat from Boulder.

The poll also indicated that more than two-thirds of Colorado voters support abortion rights, as conservative activists consider putting more restrictions on the ballot next year. While 90% of those who identified as Democrats thought abortion should remain legal, 53% of Republicans said it should be illegal.

Pollsters talked to a representative sample of 500 active voters statewide between June 24 and June 27, using cell phones and land lines. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4%.

The pollsters boasted that they were the most accurate in forecasting Colorado's 2018 and 2016 outcomes.

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