Public Policy Polling did a poll in Colorado. Let's take a look at what we can learn.
Colorado is going to be a busy place for 2014 elections. They have a Senate election and a gubernatorial election. The incumbent Senator is Mark Udall (favorability is 50/33). Udall is running against a potentially weak Republican bench. Public Policy Polling did its usual hypothetical matchups with Udall against various Republican candidates. Udall leads in all of them and is at 50% or higher in most of them. I'll highlight the three where he is not at 50%. The closest challenger to him is former Congressman Bob Beauprez (15/34). Udall leads Beauprez 48-41. This doesn't look all too promising for Udall. Look at those favorability numbers and especially the disparity, somehow Beauprez is keeping it somewhat close. Senator Udall has more breathing room against Congressman Cory Gardner (18/29). Senator Udall leads 49-39. Former Lieutenant Governor and failed Senate Republican Jane Norton (20/32). Norton trails Udall by 11 points (49-38). While Senator Udall currently has a fairly commanding lead in the head to head matchups, I would hesitate to call him a heavy favorite for re-election. The favorability numbers for the other candidates are very low and quite volatile with a plurality of voters not sure how they feel about each of these candidates. If the right candidate gets nominated, Udall could be in some trouble. But I think Udall is the favorite for now because of the lead he is holding now.
Governor John Hickenlooper (53/44) is also up for re-election in 2014. Public Policy Polling notes in their blog that his unfavorability numbers have spiked recently, going from 26 in November to 44 now. Despite this, Governor Hickenlooper hits the 50% mark in all but two of his match-ups. In the matchup against State Treasurer Walker Stapleton (10/24), Hickenlooper leads 49-38. Governor Hickenlooper has a similar lead against Attorney General John Suthers (15/21) at 49-39. While Hickenlooper has a commanding lead right now, the fact that his unfavorability numbers are spiking doesn't look too good for him. With an unpopular and largely unknown people facing a well-known politician like Hickenlooper, you would want to see slightly higher numbers in the match-ups. Governor Hickenlooper is probably fine as long as his favorability numbers stay above 50%. I think that Governor Hickenlooper ultimately wins re-election but the right candidate and the right approach could upset the incumbent. A situation worth monitoring but Hickenlooper is still the favorite at this point.
Also on the ballot will be a choice for the Secretary of State, where Republican incumbent Scott Gessler leads a hypothetical matchup against Democrat Ken Gordon 42-38 with 19% not sure. That could be an interesting race. Sadly, I don't think many people even care about it, though.
Senator Michael Bennet who got elected in 2010 is up for re-election in 2016. It could be another close race for the Senator as his favorability is 34/35 with 31% not sure.
Colorado is going to be a swing state in 2016. Even with the immense national popularity of Hillary Clinton, she only leads potential Republicans Rand Paul (48-45) and Marco Rubio (48-44) by slim margins. 65% of Coloradians do not think Governor John Hickenlooper should run for President in 2016. Public Policy Polling likes to do this with popular statewide politicians. Potentially, though, they could find someone who wasn't on anyone's radar, as the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee is fairly wide open.
Colorado has tried to pass several gun control laws after the Sandy Hook shooting and the Aurora massacre. Some indicate that this is why Hickenlooper is losing popularity in Colorado. 49% of Coloradoites support banning assault weapons while 45% oppose it. You find basically the same when the question was asked if they would support/oppose passing stricter gun laws (49/44). There is a tiniest of percentages that seem to indicate that there are other gun control laws that they might support. This might include background checks or what have you. There's boring cross tabs on this one. Sorry. As you expect Democrats overwhelmingly support an assault weapons ban and stricter gun laws while Republicans oppose them by the same numbers, basically. Independents somewhat oppose the assault weapons ban (51%) and oppose stricter gun laws (49%).
In 1992, Colorado passed Amendment 2 which prohibited laws from protecting gays from discrimination. The Supreme Court overruled this Amendment in 1996 with Anthony Kennedy writing the majority opinion. This year, Colorado approved civil unions for same sex couples. 50% of Coloradians support the bill with 38% opposing it. 45% of people in Colorado say that gay couples should be allowed to marry, 31% say gay couples should be allowed to form civil unions but not marry, 23% say there should be no legal recognition of gay couples relationships. 51% think that same sex marriage should be allowed while 43% say it should not. Public Policy Polling has found that people who say not sure or don't answer this question overwhelmingly oppose it. So the split isn't too large, but that 51% is important. So, there's that.
Since everyone is obsessed with how Hispanics will vote in the future, let's look at what they think in Colorado. 52% of Hispanics support an assault weapons ban. 59% of Hispanics support stricter gun laws passed by Congress. 58% of Hispanics support the Civil Unions bill. 68% of Hispanics support same sex marriage. When broken down even further, 49% of Hispanics say gay couples should be allowed to marry and 32% of Hispanics say they should be allowed to form civil unions but not allowed to marry and only 19% say there should be no legal recognition of a gay couples relationship. I think it's a faulty heuristic that immigration reform is going to get the Hispanic vote for Republicans. There are bigger issues.
Note: I hate titling pieces