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Gazette Premium Content POLITICAL NOTEBOOK: Springs voters back a Democrat? Poll says yes

TOM ROEDER Updated: September 7, 2010 at 12:00 am

While Colorado Springs is known as the state’s GOP bastion, voters in the Pikes Peak region are backing Democrat John Hickenlooper in the governor’s race, according to a recently released poll.

The poll by research firms Public Opinion Strategies and FM3 shows support for Hickenlooper is deeper in Colorado Springs and Pueblo than it is in rural parts of the state. The Denver mayor and frontrunner in the race is besting Republican Dan Maes with 48 percent of the vote statewide and 52 percent of voters here, the poll of 473 voters shows.

That's a shocker because Democrats consider pulling 40 percent of the vote in Colorado Springs a landslide victory.

(Click here for The Gazette's online voter guide.)

Maes is carrying 25 percent statewide, and third-party contender Tom Tancredo is carrying 15 percent. Locally, Maes has 34 percent of those polled while Tancredo is struggling to win GOP stalwarts with just 3 percent in the poll.

The poll shows growing support for Hickenlooper even among voters who have a history of backing Republicans.

It’s an outcome the GOP earned. The poll was conducted Aug. 28 through Sept. 1, while party leaders were increasing pressure on Maes to drop out of the race by arguing that he couldn’t win. Maes stayed in, and the results show that the GOP could pay mightily at the polls for bashing its nominee.

The Democratic shift in the governor’s race in the Pikes Peak region doesn’t carry to the Senate fight between incumbent Democrat Michael Bennet and Republican nominee Ken Buck.

Buck has won over 56 percent of voters in Colorado Springs and Pueblo against 30 percent for Bennet, the poll showed. Statewide, the poll showed Bennet with 43 percent to Buck’s 40 percent.

The poll is good news for Bennet, who has trailed Buck in other surveys.

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