Immigrant hating, gun loving, Republican ex-Congressman Tom Tancredo has enlisted the help of washed up rocker, turned raging gun nut Ted Nugent, in his bid to become Governor of Colorado. However, a new poll released by Public Policy Polling (PPP) reveals that Tancredo is slipping in the GOP primary field. More importantly, the poll also finds that Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper is crushing Tancredo by a 50-36 margin.
Colorado voters apparently are not embracing Tancredo’s right-wing crusade as his numbers appear to be tanking. In December, Tancredo led the GOP field by 19 points. That lead has dwindled to a 4 point margin. The entry of Bob Beauprez into the race has given Republicans an alternative to Tancredo. However, neither Republican is well-liked. Less than a third of Colorado voters have a favorable opinion of either of the two leading GOP contenders for Governor.
By contrast, Democratic Governor Hickenlooper has a modestly positive 48/41 approval rating, putting him in a relatively strong position to win re-election. In a head to head match-up, Tancredo trails Hickenlooper by 20 points with women voters and by 22 points with Hispanic voters. Tancredo’s weakness with women and Hispanic voters underscores the GOP’s ongoing challenges with non-white and non-male voters as they attempt to cobble together a winning coalition in the face of party leaders who continue to make racist and misogynistic remarks.
Tancredo, like Texas candidate Greg Abbott, decided that campaigning with Ted Nugent would be a good way to shore up his base. However, like Abbott, the toxic embrace with the outspoken musician is a double-edged sword. Tancredo has been unable to close the gap, as he still trails Hickenlooper by double digits. Greg Abbott still leads Wendy Davis but his lead has shrunk to single digits, and more Texas voters think his support from Ted Nugent hurts him more than it helps him. Republican candidates trying to appeal to their base in order to win GOP primaries do so at their own peril. By attracting extremists into their camps, they may indeed win the Republican primary, but at the cost of losing ground in the general election. Tom Tancredo appears to be headed straight down that path of making himself un-electable.
Keith Brekhus is a progressive American who currently resides in Red Lodge, Montana. He is co-host for the Liberal Fix radio show. He holds a Master’s Degree in Sociology from the University of Missouri. In 2002, he ran for Congress as a Green Party candidate in the state of Missouri. In 2014, he worked as a field organizer for Democrat Ann Kirkpatrick’s successful re-election bid in Arizona’s 1st Congressional District. He can be followed on Twitter @keithbrekhus or on Facebook.