Jared Polis holds a 13-point lead over Cary Kennedy in the four-candidate Democratic gubernatorial primary, according to a new survey released Thursday by Magellan Strategies, though nearly one in four voters remain undecided with just weeks to go before ballots are counted.
The survey of more than 500 likely voters in the Democratic primary shows Polis, a five-term congressman from Boulder, atop the field with 31 percent. Kennedy, a former state treasurer, is polling at 18 percent, followed by former state Sen. Mike Johnston at 9 percent. Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne has 3 percent.
That leaves 39 percent of those polled undecided.
The firm surveyed Democratic and unaffiliated voters considered likely to vote in the June 26 primary. It was conducted on May 30 and 31 by live interviewers using landlines and cellphones and has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4.38 percent.
Compared to a survey the Louisville-based polling firm took in late March, Polis has gained 4 points and Kennedy’s support has dropped by 5 points, while support for the other candidates and the share of undecided voters has stayed about the same.
“With Jared Polis’ financial resources, and his solid standing among likely Democratic primary voters, the primary was for him to lose,” said pollster David Flaherty in a memo accompanying the survey. “Based on the findings of this survey, and if Cary Kennedy and the other candidates adhere to the Colorado Democratic Party’s ‘Clean Campaign Pledge Program,’ a Jared Polis victory is more likely to happen. We shall see.”
The survey also found Joe Salazar holding a 19-point lead over Phil Weiser in the Democratic primary for attorney general with what Flaherty described as a “whopping” 65 percent of voters undecided in that race.
Salazar, a state representative from Thornton who has been endorsed by Bernie Sanders, had the support of 27 percent of respondents, while Weiser, a former Obama administration official and dean of the University of Colorado Law School, had 8 percent support.
Noting that Weiser’s $1.4 million in campaign contributions dwarfs the roughly $100,000 raised by Salazar, Flaherty added, “It will be fascinating to see if Joe Salazar’s populist appeal will be able to overcome Phil Weiser’s overwhelming financial resources.”
Flaherty said the most striking finding in the gubernatorial primary poll was how well-liked the candidates were, with none scoring “unfavorable” ratings above 5 percent.
“That’s unheard-of,” Flaherty told Colorado Politics. “No one dislikes any of these candidates.”
The survey was conducted just as a controversy erupted over a TV ad run by Kennedy supporters attacking Polis and Johnston for their education policies.
Polis and Johnston have swung back hard, criticizing Kennedy for refusing to disavow the ad — paid for by Teachers for Kennedy, a super PAC-style independent expenditure committee — while at the same time disputing its charges.
“Cary said she would run a clean campaign,” says a Polis ad that began running Wednesday. “But she broke her word.”
Magellan, a Republican firm, isn’t working for any of the gubernatorial campaigns this cycle. The client that commissioned this survey isn’t associated with any of the campaigns or independent expenditure committees with an interest in the race, Flaherty said.