A new poll shows incumbent GOP Representative Mike Coffman and Democratic challenger Jason Crow in a statistical dead heat in the 6th Congressional District race.
The poll, released by the Crow campaign on July 24, shows Crow narrowly ahead by a margin of 47 to 45 percent, well within the poll's 4.4 percent margin of error.
The poll was conducted for Crow's campaign by Global Strategy Group (GSG) and, according to data website FiveThirtyEight's pollster ratings, GSG has a C+ rating and a Democratic lean of 2 percent. With that lean in mind, the poll's findings shift to an even split in what's expected to be one of the country's most competitive house races this fall, one that could determine whether Democrats or Republicans control the House of Representatives next year.
Crow celebrated the results, saying that this poll, combined with another one showing the former Army Ranger and attorney ahead by five points earlier this year, indicates that the momentum is swinging in his favor.
“This polling data confirms what I hear on the campaign trail every day: Coloradans are ready to usher in a new generation of servant leadership,” Crow said in an announcement of the results. “The time has come for representation that’s willing to stand up to Donald Trump and special interests. [Coffman] taking corporate campaign cash and voting with Trump 95 percent of the time just won’t cut it anymore.”
Coffman's campaign manager, Tyler Sandberg, wasn't nearly as impressed, and referenced other previous tight campaigns where the five-term congressman and Iraq War veteran also faced difficult campaigns and prevailed.
"The [Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee] campaign is like a bad rerun of Full House," Sandberg said in an e-mail to Westword. "We’ve all seen this episode, like many many times before."
One key statistic that could indicate future and potentially significant movement in this race: Only a quarter of the poll's respondents said that they had heard of Crow, a first-time candidate for elected office. With several months of ads and campaign appearances before the November 6 general election, that number will inevitably climb.
Even with Crow posting an impressively massive, million-dollar-plus second-quarter fundraising haul, a hard-fought Democratic primary means that the 39-year-old was still trailing Coffman in cash on hand at the end of June by about $317,000. That could give Coffman a narrow upper hand in dictating the early terms of the debate, at least on the airwaves. So prepare yourselves: The avalanche of ads is coming.
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In the meantime, enthusiasm appears to be on the Democrats' side, thanks largely to a strong distaste for President Donald Trump in this mainly suburban and immigrant-rich district that covers Aurora and other parts of Adams County, along with portions of Arapahoe and Douglas counties. More than 75,000 ballots were cast in the CO-6 Democratic primary, compared to only 56,000 votes for Coffman on the GOP side. Additionally, only 38 percent of voters in the poll said that they approved of Trump's performance as president, a number that could seriously weigh down Coffman this fall (and boost Democratic turnout).
And there's one more finding in the poll that no doubt brightened Crow's campaign staff: Unaffiliated voters prefer Crow by a 49-to-35 margin.
Midterm elections are often seen as a referendum on the party and president in power, and Coffman's arm's-length relationship with the commander-in-chief — at least in terms of rhetoric, since Crow's campaign frequently points to Coffman's 95 percent voting record with Trump — is testament to Trump's unpopularity in the 6th.
Ultimately, this poll supports what non-partisan election websites have said heading into the crux of the general election campaign: With around 100 days to go until November 6, the outcome of this fall's CO-6 race is probably a straight 50-50 toss-up.