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Poll shows dead heat in Colo. governor race

Democrats question poll's validity

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - According to a Rasmussen poll, Colorado's governor race is a dead heat between incumbent Democrat John Hickenlooper and Republican nominee Bob Beauprez.

Just one week since the GOP gubernatorial primary, the poll shows each man draws 44 percent support, while 4 percent of those polled support another candidate and 8 percent are undecided. The survey was conducted by phone of 750 likely voters in Colorado on June 25-26 by Rasmussen Reports.

Christy Le Lait, the executive director of the El Paso County Democratic Party, said she doesn't believe the poll means anything four months from election day.

"It's early," she said.  "For us, we're in the thick of it, but most people aren't thinking about politics yet. I think the polls are going to change as we go on."

But the Republican Party disagrees, saying the poll reflects what they believe is voter dissatisfaction with Hickenlooper.

"The governor has had his chance to lead and he's failed to do that," said Larry Liston, co-chair for Bob Beauprez in El Paso County.  "He's waffled on the death penalty. He's waffled on gun legislation. He's waffled on alternative energy -- a whole host of issues that people all across the state of Colorado are unhappy with."

Rick Palacio, the chair of the Colorado Democratic Party told KRDO NewsChannel 13 that while he considers Rasmussen a valid pollster, he questions the accuracy of its results, saying Rasmussen is regarded as a conservative polling firm.

"Rasmussen actually favors Republicans by over four points," Palacio said. Because of that, Palacio said the Democratic Party believes Hickenlooper is still preferred by the Colorado electorate.

Le Lait also pointed out that polling was done using landlines which may skew the results.

"It's 750 Coloradans," she said.  "Polling gets harder and harder these days because polling is done with landlines. If you're looking at younger demographics, you don't have landlines. So who are you actually talking to with those 750 people?"

Beauprez argued that most pollsters use landlines and that the Rasmussen poll results are encouraging.

"Rasmussen gets cited frequently in all sides of politics as a credible pollster, so I think it's a valid measure," Beauprez told KRDO NewsChannel 13.

Beauprez said he believes voters are noticing inconsistencies in Hickenlooper.  He pointed out that several weeks ago, Hickenlooper apologized to Colorado sheriffs for the legislative process in passing stricter gun laws in the state.

"By his own admission he said we didn't do our homework on these bills," Beauprez said. "Why in the world would you sign them then, governor?"

Beauprez said he also thinks the governor's stance on the death penalty weighs heavy with voters.  The governor granted an indefinite reprieve to Nathan Dunlap, the man convicted of killing four people at an Aurora Chuck E. Cheese more than two decades ago.  Beauprez said if he was governor he would see that Dunlap was executed.  He also said he would try to repeal the new gun laws.

Le Lait and Palacio both said they don't think the governor is losing support because of the gun laws.

"Governor Hickenlooper has done an amazing job with Colorado and I think the vast majority of Colorado is going to want to see him re-elected to continue the job that he's doing," Le Lait said.

Palacio said he thinks voters care more about the economy.

"We've moved from 40th to 4th in job creation and we've lowered the unemployment rate from 9.2 percent to 5.8 percent and that's very tangible in peoples' lives," Palacio said.

Both sides agreed that since Colorado has a divided electorate, the race will be tight and the only poll that counts happens on election day in November.

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