Independent Colo. women like Cory Gardner, not sold on Hillary Clinton: poll

By Valerie Richardson - The Washington Times - Thursday, December 11, 2014

DENVER — Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton may want to study some film on Republican Cory Gardner before wooing independent women voters in swing-state Colorado.

A survey released Wednesday by the conservative Colorado Women’s Alliance found that Mrs. Clinton received only lukewarm support among unaffiliated Colorado women, with 27 percent saying they were “extremely” or “very” likely to support her, while 37 percent said they were “not likely” to back her in 2016.

“Looking forward to 2016, our research into the preferences of largely Democrat-leaning unaffiliated women in Colorado reveals that these women are not sold yet on Hillary Clinton. In fact, only 14 percent responded as extremely likely to support her candidacy,” said CWA president Debbie Brown in an email.

Just 21 percent of those surveyed by Colorado-based Magellan Strategies in Louisville said they would support Mrs. Clinton for president “regardless of whom the Republican nominee is.”

One possible explanation: The poll also found that “likeability” was the most important factor for unaffiliated Colorado women voters in determining which candidate to support in the 2014 Senate and governor’s contests.

That “likeability” factor was the main reason that Mr. Gardner was able to pull even with Democratic Sen. Mark Udall among unaffiliated women voters. The poll found 39 percent of unaffiliated women backed Mr. Udall and 38 percent supported Mr. Gardner.

The Republican congressman defeated Mr. Udall by 48 to 46 percentage points in the Nov. 4 election.

Cory Gardner’s likeability among these unaffiliated women voters was a large factor in determining how he was able to match Mark Udall’s support,” said Magellan pollsters David Flaherty and Courtney Gibbon in their analysis. “The survey collected verbatim responses asking each respondent what she liked or disliked about Cory Gardner. The majority of the responses showed that these women voters liked his positive personality and felt he was more likely to represent the people of Colorado.”

The poll’s results also bore out what many analysts had previously concluded: Mr. Udall’s relentless “war on women” strategy emphasizing issues such as abortion and birth control ultimately repelled some women voters.

Mark Udall’s liberal views and the fact that he was not Cory Gardner were also decision makers for these women,” the analysis said. “It should be stated that a majority of these women also mentioned [Mr. Udall‘s] single focus on women’s issues as a reason they disliked him.”

In the governor’s race, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper trounced Republican Bob Beauprez among unaffiliated women by 50 to 32 percentage points, the poll found. Again, Mr. Hickenlooper’s likeability was cited as a key factor.

“These women liked and connected with John Hickenlooper, more than with Mark Udall, who was more closely associated with an unpopular President and focused too much on women’s issues,” the analysis said. “John Hickenlooper also got several mentions about him running a positive campaign, where Mark Udall did not.”

The survey found that 19 percent of unaffiliated women split their tickets, voting for both the Republican Gardner and the Democrat Hickenlooper, who won re-election by 49 to 46 percentage points over Mr. Beauprez.

The poll of 500 unaffiliated women voters in Colorado who cast ballots in the November election was conducted Nov. 17-18, with a margin of error of plus/minus 4.38 percent. Unaffiliated women accounted for 14 percent of the total votes cast in Colorado, according to Magellan Strategies.