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Republican candidate for governor Walker Stapleton, left, and Democratic candidate for governor Jared Polis, right. (Photos by The Colorado Sun and provide.)

Democrat Jared Polis holds a comfortable seven-point advantage against Republican Walker Stapleton in Colorado’s governor’s race, according to a new bipartisan poll.

The poll is the first public look at the top-of-the-ticket contest and comes days before the first prime-time TV debate, co-hosted by CBS4, CPTV, KOA Radio News and The Colorado Sun.

MORE: Colorado’s governor candidates face their first major debate this week. What do you want to ask them?

The survey of self-described likely voters showed Polis at  47 percent and Stapleton at 40 percent. An additional 11 percent were undecided.

Polis built his lead with significant leads in three key areas:

  • An 18-point advantage among self-described unaffiliated voters, where he stands at 46 percent compared to 28 percent for Stapleton.
  • A 17-point advantage among women, where he showed 52 percent and Stapleton received 35 percent.
  • A 20-point advantage among voters under age 55, where he sits at 53 percent and Stapleton gets 33 percent.

Stapleton leads among voters over age 55 and holds a slight edge among voters who make more than $75,000 a year. For voters with no degree, Polis holds a slight advantage within the margin of error, which is plus-or-minus 4 percentage points, the poll found.

(Scroll to the right on the graphic for more data)

Keating Research, a Democratic firm, and Magellan Strategies, a Republican outfit, jointly conducted the poll Sept. 18-20 on behalf of Healthier Colorado, an advocacy organization that supports tougher regulations on tobacco products and supports expanding government-run Medicaid health coverage.

The poll asked the question about the governor’s race at the start — before introducing other topics. Healthier Colorado conducted the survey to help boost its advocacy agenda.

Republican candidate for governor Walker Stapleton, left, and Democratic candidate for governor Jared Polis, right. (Photos by The Colorado Sun and provided.)

The likely voters who answered the poll also expressed strong support for:

  • A proposal to “allow people with limited or expensive health insurance options to purchase a health insurance plan from the state Medicaid program.”
  • An increase in the age to buy tobacco products to 21 by regulating them “the same way we regulate alcohol and marijuana”
  • A tax hike on e-cigarettes and vaping products
  • Attorney General Cynthia Coffman’s decision to file a lawsuit against prescription opioid companies
  • The idea that “state government play a role in ensuring Coloradans have access to quality and affordable healthcare”
  • A red flag law that “allows a judge to take guns temporarily from someone who is determined to be a significant risk to themselves or others, based on evidence presented to the judge”

The survey questions did not include potential downsides to these proposals nor the cost to implement them.

John Frank is a former Colorado Sun staff writer. He left the publication in January 2021.