New Republican poll: It’s still Stapleton’s world, but Mitchell is gaining

Stapleton is still leading the Republican field, according to a new poll.
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Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton. The 2018 Republican State Assembly on the campus of the University of Colorado Boulder, April 14, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite) copolitics; boulder; colorado; election; politics; kevinjbeaty; denverite;

Colorado State Treasurer Walker Stapleton. The 2018 Republican State Assembly on the campus of the University of Colorado Boulder, April 14, 2018. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

It looks like we're inching closer to the Stapleton-Polis governor's race.

State Treasurer Walker Stapleton is still the Republican party’s most popular gubernatorial candidate, as a new poll released by the right-leaning firm Magellan Strategies on Monday shows he will be the man to beat just two weeks before the June 26 primary election. The results were released a week after the polling firm showed U.S. Rep. Jared Polis has widening his lead in the Democratic race.

Since the spring, Stapleton has been the apparent frontrunner in the race. The poll conducted by Magellan Strategies shows that hasn't really changed, with Stapleton getting 36 percent support (a 13-point lead) among the 593 likely Republican primary voters — both Republicans and unaffiliated voters — surveyed. Voters were polled by an automated voice recorded and cell phone survey conducted June 6 and June 7. The poll has a 4 percent margin of error.

No one has gained more ground than businessman Victor Mitchell, who earned 23 percent support among respondents. After that, it gets pretty dire: Former Parker Mayor Greg Lopez -- who won a straw poll this weekend at the Western Conservative Summit -- got support from 10 percent of those surveyed, while businessman Doug Robinson has 4 percent.

About a quarterof respondents (27 percent) are still undecided. As the survey summary notes, people have already started returning their ballots after they started arriving last week.

“This contest is far from over, with Victor Mitchell finally being able to build some momentum after spending more than a million dollars introducing himself to voters,” Magellan-Strategies wrote in the survey summary. “A major factor that will decide this race is if Victor Mitchell’s attack ads are effective moving voters away from Walker Stapleton. The truth is, nobody really knows the answer to that question just yet.”

The survey notes that Stapleton's campaign and the independent expenditure groups supporting him could start attacking Mitchell, who has spent some of his personal money airing ads attacking Stapleton.

Colorado gubernatorial candidate Victor Mitchell speaks at the Western Conservative Summit, July 21, 2017. (Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite)

Stapleton is very popular among Republican men, with 44 percent support, compared to 21 percent support for Mitchell. The poll shows Stapleton is also holding a 7-point lead over Mitchell among unaffiliated voters.

No matter where you look, it seems like Stapleton is still a popular guy. His smallest lead in any category is 3 points among women, where he leads Mitchell 29 to 26 percent. Among the MAGA crowd, Walker, who has publicly touted his support for President Trump’s tax plan, received 39 percent support from Trump Republicans. Mitchell, who didn’t vote for Trump, received 29 percent support in this same subgroup. Stapleton also boasts large support form Evangelical Republicans, with 44 percent support giving him a 26-point lead over Mitchell.

Unsurprisingly, only 14 percent of respondents had never heard of Stapleton. He holds a 51 percent overall favorable rating, compared to 15 percent who said they had an unfavorable rating of the state treasurer.

Mitchell has a 39 percent overall favorable rating and a 15 percent unfavorable opinion rating.

The young voters surveyed largely have no idea who these guys are.

The four candidates have some work to do to get younger voters' attention. Respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 (which, to be fair, made up only 7 percent of the people surveyed) had almost completely opposite image rating results compared to the other end of the spectrum in the 65 and older category.

The results showed 47 percent of respondents between the ages of 18 and 34 had never heard of Stapleton (26 percent said they had a favorable rating of him) and 56 percent said they have never heard of Mitchell (18 percent said they had a favorable rating). Nearly 60 percent of respondents in this age category said they had never heard of Lopez or Robinson.

This age group also had the largest percentage of undecided voters, with 57 percent of respondents saying they were undecided. For comparison, only 18 percent of people 65 and older said they were undecided, while 26 percent of respondents aged 55 to 64 responded similarly.

Young voters make up about 1 in 3 eligible voters  in Colorado. They could be a factor in deciding the fall election in the state, which traditionally boasts some of the best voter turnout in the country.

Correction: An earlier version said Stapleton's smallest lead was 7 points, it was actually 3.  

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