- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 23, 2014

DENVER (AP) - A new poll suggests that Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper has a comfortable lead over his potential Republican challengers, backed by support from women and unaffiliated voters.

The poll from Quinnipiac (KWIHN’-ih-pee-ak) University released Wednesday said that 52 percent of Colorado voters approve of the job Hickenlooper is doing. Voters also gave him a narrow vote of confidence for another term, with 47 percent saying he deserves re-election and 43 percent against it.

Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,298 registered voters by landlines and cellphones between April 15 and 21. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.

The poll indicates Hickenlooper’s closest Republican rival is former U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, with the Democratic governor leading 47 to 40 percent. The poll shows women backing Hickenlooper 53 percent to 34 percent.

“Strong support from women and an edge among independent voters give Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper a solid foothold in his re-election effort,” said Tim Malloy, assistant poll director.

Four Republicans are vying to challenge Hickenlooper as he seeks a second term in November’s election. Tancredo, former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, Secretary of State Scott Gessler and former state Sen. Mike Kopp will compete in a June 24 primary.

Despite Hickenlooper’s lead, the survey suggested that voters oppose the stricter gun control measures that the Democratic-led Legislature passed and Hickenlooper signed into law last year. Voters oppose the laws 56 to 39 percent, but 85 percent said they support background checks for all guy buyers, one of the issues addressed by the Democrats’ gun control package. However, voters opposed another part of the package, banning ammunition magazines holding more than 15 rounds, 51 to 45 percent.

The poll also suggested that 50 percent of voters favor allowing teachers and school officials to carry guns on school grounds, driven by strong support from men. Fifty-nine percent of men support the idea while only 42 percent of women do.

In addition, 74 percent of voters said they support having metal detectors at school entrances.

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