Colorado voters worried about direction of U.S. economy |

Colorado voters worried about direction of U.S. economy

Catherine Tsai
Associated Press
Vail, CO Colorado
Mah-rya Proper, 38, has her son Augie Proper, 5, left, help fill-out her ballot with her other son Elisha Proper, 1, right, and daughter Eliana Proper, 3, bottom left, plays at the Mi Casa Resource Center in Denver, Colo., on Tuesday, Nov. 2, 2010. American voters go the polls for the mid-term elections. (AP Photo/Chris Schneider)

DENVER – Women and independents helped Democrat John Hickenlooper win the three-way Colorado governor’s race, as Republicans deserted GOP candidate Dan Maes, according to preliminary results of a telephone poll of early and absentee Colorado voters conducted for The Associated Press and television networks.

Nearly six in 10 women and about half of voters who identify as independents voted for Hickenlooper, the former geologist and pub owner who became mayor of Denver, the poll showed. Men supported him and third-party candidate Tom Tancredo about evenly.

Republicans largely abandoned Maes, just as prominent party members had done in the months before the election after questioning his credibility. The poll showed about six in 10 voters who identify as Republicans cast ballots for Tancredo, a former Republican who ran as the American Constitution Party candidate after Maes refused to drop out, and 1 in 10 chose Hickenlooper.

The poll suggested the governor’s race would’ve been closer if Hickenlooper and Tancredo were the only candidates, with Hickenlooper having a slim lead.

About four in 10 voters said they support the tea party movement.

The economy was on the minds of many Colorado voters this year, and many are dissatisfied with how the federal government is working, according to preliminary results of the poll.

Roughly half of Coloradans also aren’t sold on the new federal health care law or President Barack Obama’s performance so far, according to the poll.

About eight in 10 Colorado voters are at least somewhat worried about the direction of the nation’s economy in the next year, the survey showed. And about seven in 10 chose the economy as the most important issue facing the nation, over health care, the war in Afghanistan and illegal immigration.

The poll said about half think the new federal health care law should be repealed, and roughly six in 10 think most illegal immigrants working in the U.S. should get a chance to apply for legal status. They’re roughly split on how Obama is handling his presidency.

Registered Libertarian and small-business owner Simon Escorcia said the economy was the top issue on his mind before he headed to the polls. He was voting Tuesday for Republicans, but he supported Democrat John Hickenlooper for governor, partly because of the economy.

“I don’t mind Hickenlooper because he has a business background,” he said.

Escorcia, 32, of Centennial, said that after watching legislation get passed that mostly seemed to increase spending, he wouldn’t mind having a Democrat for president and Congress controlled by Republicans.

“In my eyes, gridlock isn’t always a bad thing,” he said.

Littleton carpet installer Ryan Doherty, 38, voted for Obama in 2008 but said he disagreed with the Obama administration suing Arizona over its tough law against illegal immigration. He voted for Republican Ken Buck in the Senate race this year.

“The message of change was great, but I haven’t really seen any change,” said Doherty, who said he competes daily with people who hire illegal help willing to work for less. “That’s the only reason I voted Republican. I don’t like what’s going on now. I’m sending a message.”

The survey of Colorado voters was conducted for AP by Edison Research. A total of 1,095 voters who voted early or absentee were interviewed by landline or cellular telephone from Oct. 22 through Oct. 31. Results for the full sample were subject to sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points; it is higher for subgroups.

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