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Poll Analysis
November 14, 2003

Campbell Starts Senate Campaign with Positive Rating
Gov. Owens Maintains High Job Approval

Analysis by Floyd Ciruli

Colorado voters gave U.S. Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell a high favorability rating as he begins his re-election campaign. In the latest Ciruli Associates statewide voter poll, Campbell received a 68% favorability rating (26% very favorable and 44% somewhat favorable).

The survey of 400 frequent voters conducted Oct. 26 to 27, 2003, also shows Gov. Bill Owens with a 66% favorability rating (31% very favorable and 35% somewhat favorable). Attorney General Ken Salazar received a 54% favorability rating (19% very favorable and 35% somewhat favorable). Thirty-six percent of voters could not rate him.

Question: Let me ask you about some statewide elected offices holders. As I read the following list of political leaders, please tell me your impression of each one as either very favorable, somewhat favorable, somewhat unfavorable of very unfavorable. If you aren’t familiar with a name, or don’t have and opinion, just say so.

The telephone survey was conducted October 27-28, 2003, with 400 frequent Colorado voters (statistical range of accuracy ±4.9 percentage points). The ratings of leading Colorado elected officials are part of regular Ciruli Associates reports on Colorado politics and voter views on major public policy topics.

Favorability Rating
The ratio of positive-to-negative favorability rating is an indicator of the popularity of a politician among informed voters (it excludes undecided or uninformed voters). It also shows the level of polarization officeholders and candidates engender from voters. Salazar has the highest positive-to-negative ratio. He has a lower unfavorable rating than most politicians who have been in partisan office for a number of years. This is a political asset likely to diminish as Salazar attempts to capture a higher office.

Favorable to Unfavorable Ratio
Positive to Negative Ratio
Campbell 3.0
Owens 2.5
Salazar 4.9
Ciruli Associates, 2003

Campbell also generates a somewhat higher ratio due to his history of positive interaction with constituencies in both parties and his middle-of-the-road voting record on some key issues.

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Owens Job Performance
Gov. Owens begins his final two years in office with a positive job approval from 64% of Colorado voters. The approval rating is high for a governor in his second term. However, it is below the 79% he received before his re-election in November 2002 when he won a resounding 63% of the vote.

Question: Do you approve or disapprove of the way Governor Bill Owens is doing his job as governor?

The governor’s job performance rating has been effected by the recent election battle over water. The governor supported Referendum A, which was soundly defeated at the polls. Western Slope opinion leaders and voters strongly opposed it. The latest poll shows the governor’s lowest marks for job performance coming from the Western Slope 3rd Congressional District (47% approve and 40% disapprove).

Owens Job Performance
Comparing Party and Region
Approval Disapproval
Total 64% 24%
Republican 82% 11%
Unaffiliated 52% 27%
Democrat 44% 43%
Metro 68% 22%
North Front Range 67% 21%
South Front Range 61% 28%
Eastern Slope 57% 29%
Western Slope 56% 30%
Congressional District*
1 DeGette 59% 31%
2 Udall 26% 26%
3 McInnis 47% 40%
4 Musgrave 66% 20%
5 Hefley 63% 25%
6 Tancredo 69% 16%
7 Beauprez 80% 12%
Ciruli Associates, N400, Oct. 27-28, 2003
*Congressional District boundaries used in 2002 election

The governor receives high scores along the Front Range and Denver suburbs, which is partially a by-product of Front Range residents who believe Owens’ water policy could increase supply. Not surprisingly, Democrats give him a weak 44% approval (43% disapproval). Eighty-two percent of Republicans give him a positive rating.

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Ciruli Associates is a non-partisan research, communication and public policy firm providing consulting for Colorado and national organizations since 1976.

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