DENVER – An early poll of likely Democratic voters in the 2020 U.S. Senate Democratic primary in Colorado shows the candidates with the highest name recognition – including one person who has not declared their candidacy – currently lead the pack.
According to the poll, former House Speaker and Mental Health Colorado President Andrew Romanoff led a hypothetical primary matchup with Secretary of State Jena Griswold – who has not declared in the race but whose name has been brought up for months as a possibility – former state Sen. Mike Johnston, former House Majority Leader Alice Madden, former U.S. Attorney John Walsh and former ambassador Dan Baer.
But 42% of those polled said they were undecided for whom they might vote in the theoretical primary.
The poll was conducted by Keating Research and OnSight Public Affairs between July 1-3. It surveyed 500 likely voters in next year’s Democratic primary on cellphones and land lines, including 70% registered Democrats and 30% unaffiliated voters. The margin of error is ±4.4%.
The poll was commissioned by Next Senate PAC, according to the pollsters.
In the theoretical primary matchup, 42% of people polled said they were undecided, 23% said they would vote for Romanoff; 15% said they would vote for Griswold; 12% said they would vote for Johnston; and 2% said they would vote for Madden, Walsh, or Baer, respectively. Two percent of respondents said they would vote for a theoretical “other candidate.”
Voters over age 50 were more likely to support Romanoff, while voters aged 18-49 were more likely to pick Griswold or Johnston in the poll.
Griswold also has the highest favorability rating among those polled, with 30% viewing her favorably and 4% viewing her unfavorably. Sixty-six percent said they weren’t sure or were unfamiliar with her.
Romanoff saw the highest percentage of people say they viewed him favorably. He has a +23 favorability rating in the poll – 34%-11% favorable-unfavorable – and 55% of respondents said they weren’t sure or were unfamiliar with him. He had the highest name recognition among the Democratic candidates those surveyed were asked about.
Twenty-nine percent of respondents said they view Johnston favorably, compared to 9% who view him unfavorably. Sixty-two percent of respondents said they weren’t sure.
Walsh has a +4 favorability rating; Madden has a +6 favorability rating and Baer has a +4 favorability rating, according to the poll, but more than 85% of respondents said they were unfamiliar with each candidate.
President Trump’s lack of favorability among Democrats and unaffiliated voters mirrored a poll released by the same pollsters last week. In the latest poll, just 5% of those polled said they view Trump favorably.
Twenty percent of respondents said they view Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., favorably compared to 70% who said they view him unfavorably. The winner of the Democratic primary will face Gardner, whose seat is viewed as among the most vulnerable in the country, in November 2020.
Pollster Chris Keating and OnSight’s Curtis Hubbard said the number of likely voters who say they are undecided and the fact that the undeclared Griswold garnered so much support leaves the race “wide open” with many months before the primary.
"We were curious to see where Secretary of State Griswold would stack up in this survey," said Keating. "The fact that an undeclared entrant could garner second reaffirms the fact that this race is wide open."
"As the lone person in the poll to have run and won a statewide contest, it's easy to see why Griswold's name continues to be floated as a potential candidate," Hubbard said.
“This confirms what we’ve heard all across the state: that a grassroots progressive champion is best positioned to win the nomination and defeat Cory Gardner,” said Romanoff Campaign Chair Tara Trujillo in a statement Tuesday.
A dozen candidates are now vying for the Democratic nomination after state Sen. Angela Williams, D-Denver, announced her candidacy Monday.