A new Public Policy Polling poll shows Democratic challenger Jason Crow with a five-point lead on Republican incumbent Mike Coffman in Colorado's 6th District, previewing what's likely to be a competitive election once again this fall.
"It's clear that folks of the 6th District are tired of career politicians like Mike Coffman who say one thing at home and then go to Washington to do the bidding of their donors and vote with Donald Trump 95 percent of the time," Crow said in a statement to Westword. "From day one, this campaign has been about servant leadership and putting Coloradans first. We won't solve the same problems by electing the same people who got us here. Colorado is ready for a change this November, and I’m fighting to bring a new generation of leadership to Washington to get results.”
Meanwhile, Coffman spokesman Tyler Sandberg didn't appear impressed with the poll's findings, tweeting on Monday: "Dems have used this same tired playbook for the last three cycles — and where has that gotten them?"
History would agree with Sandberg. In 2014, polls showed Coffman and then-challenger Andrew Romanoff in a neck-and-neck race before Coffman pulled away in the final two months of the campaign, leading the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee to pull money for ads supporting Romanoff in the final weeks before that election.
In 2016, Democrat Morgan Carroll appeared to be in a close race with Coffman through much of the campaign before the Aurora Republican clinched his fourth straight victory by a relatively comfortable eight-point margin.
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But there are subtle signs of worry for Coffman, whose appeal to moderates on both sides of the aisle has helped him win three straight elections since the 6th was redistricted to his disadvantage in 2011. Coffman's 39 percent number in the poll is identical to Donald Trump's approval figure, perhaps an indication that some Democrats who may have voted for Hillary Clinton and Coffman aren't as willing to cross party lines. In a district that voted for Clinton by nine points, Coffman will likely need to woo at least some Clinton voters to his camp.
After pollsters told respondents about Crow's pledge to not accept corporate dollars, Crow's advantage in the poll jumped to ten points — potentially a sign that focused messaging could tap into some moderate voters. Sixty-one percent of poll respondents said they found special-interest money to be a major problem in politics.
Crow will have to be especially wary of the relatively high number of undecideds (16 percent), a figure that could favor an entrenched incumbent with higher name recognition, like Coffman. The survey's demographics, political party split (a one-point Democratic edge) and 2016 presidential vote figures closely mirror the district as a whole. The mid-February survey polled 751 voters with a margin of error of 3.6 percent.