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Politics and Government

Cory Gardner and Donald Trump remain out of favor with large swath of Colorado voters, new poll shows

The Keating-OnSight-Martin survey also found that the intensity with which they do not favor the Republican lawmaker appears to be increasing

U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, attends a news conference with Olympians and Democratic U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, to announce legislation to create a U.S. Olympic Committee oversight panel. The news conference was held on June 17, 2019, at DeGette's offices in Denver. (Jesse Paul, The Colorado Sun)
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Colorado voters are not enamored with either President Donald Trump or Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner, a new poll shows, and the intensity with which they do not favor Gardner appears to be increasing. 

That’s according to a telephone poll jointly conducted by Keating Research, OnSight Public Affairs and Martin Campaigns between June 24-27 among 500 Colorado voters. The survey had a 4.4% margin of error. 

Specifically, the poll found that 40% of Colorado voters view Gardner favorably while 39% hold an unfavorable view of the first-term senator, who is considered one of the most threatened congressional Republicans up for reelection in 2020. Another 22% said they didn’t know or were unfamiliar with him.

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Chris Keating, who leads the Telluride-based Keating Research, said those numbers for Gardner have been fairly consistent since Trump took office in January 2017. But what’s notable is that voters who reported having a very unfavorable view of Gardner appear to be on the rise.

“The number that I see in this poll that’s the worst for him is this 25% very unfavorable (portion) towards Cory Gardner versus only 11% very favorable,” Keating said. “That’s kind of a bump up from what I’ve seen in terms of voters being very unfavorable towards him.”

When Keating conducted a poll in January, 20 percent of those surveyed had a very unfavorable opinion of Gardner. Back in March of 2017, 15% said they viewed the Republican very unfavorably. 

Keating, whose firm typically conducts polls for Democrats, said he chose his sample of voters based on party turnout during the 2016 and 2018 elections, voter registration numbers and a model of what voter makeup in 2020 will be. 

A spokesman for Gardner declined to comment. 

Gardner’s favorability is not universal among Republicans. About 63% percent of Colorado GOP voters polled said they view him favorably while 13% view him unfavorably and 19% said they didn’t know or were unfamiliar with him. 

MORE: Here’s who’s running to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020 — and who’s thinking about it

By comparison, 90% of Republicans said they view Trump favorably and just 10% view him unfavorably. Gardner has endorsed Trump’s 2020 reelection bid, though he didn’t vote for him in 2016. 

The poll found that Trump’s favorability among Colorado voters overall is at 42% — slightly higher than it has been in previous surveys — and his unfavorability is at 56%. 

“The amazing thing here in this poll is that 96 percent of Democrats are unfavorable (toward Trump) whereas 90 percent of Republicans are favorable towards him,” Keating said. “It’s almost the exact opposite.”

The poll revealed that 40% of Colorado voters would give the president an “A” or “B” grade on his job performance. Another 11% said they would give him a “C” grade while 48% would give him a “D” or “F.” 

The poll also asked about Colorado voters’ opinion on abortion, finding 68% think it should be legal while 28% think it should be illegal. Another 5% said they weren’t sure or didn’t know if it should be legal or illegal.

The poll results come as anti-abortion advocates are trying to put a question on the 2020 ballot banning abotions after 22 weeks of pregnancy in Colorado. Meanwhile, Democrats and abortion-rights groups are eyeing a repeal of a Colorado constitutional amendment prohibiting the use of state dollars to fund most elective abortions.

Colorado voters have rejected anti-abortion measures three times in the past 11 years. 

In addition, the poll found that 50% of Colorado voters have a favorable view of Gov. Jared Polis while 33% have an unfavorable view of the Democrat. Another 15% don’t know or aren’t familiar with him. 

(Polis was unfavorable among 70% of Republican voters in Colorado while Gardner was unfavorable among 55% of Democrats.)

Finally, 55% of Colorado voters said they think the state is heading in the right direction while 37% believe it’s going in the wrong direction.

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