POLITICS
12/06/2013 06:13 pm ET

Tom Tancredo Leads GOP Field For Colorado Governor Amongst Republicans, Despite 2010 Loss

Craig F. Walker via Getty Images

Former Congressman and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo lost Colorado's governor race to current Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper in 2010 by 15 points. But despite that and the fact that Colorado Republicans have a handful of other Republican prospects to nominate as the Republican challenger in 2014, the Centennial State's GOP voters still want Tancredo for Colorado governor in 2014.

That's according to a new survey by Public Policy Polling which showed that among Colorado's GOP primary voters, Tancredo gets 34 percent support -- a whopping 19 percent higher than the next most popular GOP nominee, Colorado's Secretary of State Scott Gessler who got just 15 percent support.

The next closest nominee to Tancredo wasn't a person at all -- "Someone else/Not sure" received 33 percent support.

State Sen. Greg Brophy came in third with 9 percent support and all the other Colorado Republicans running -- Steve House, Mike Kopp and Jim Rundberg -- all came under 3 percent support.

The poll also confirmed what other recent polling has been showing, that voters are closely divided in their feelings on a second-term for Hickenlooper, with the governor receiving a 45 percent approval rating against 48 percent who disapprove.

Just last month, in a Quinnipiac poll, 48 percent of voters surveyed approved of Hickenlooper, with 46 disapproving.

Tancredo told USA Today that his choice to run against Hickenlooper again was partially to do with the governor's push for new gun control laws.

Hickenlooper's popularity has slipped in recent months, arguably due to controversial legislation he signed into law that Democratic lawmakers passed in the statehouse including universal background checks on all firearm sales and transfers and a ban on high capacity magazines that hold more than 15 rounds.

However it's difficult to say with certainty just how much the state's strict new gun control laws play into voters' feelings on Hickenlooper. In early 2013 polling, Colorado voters overwhelmingly favored universal background check legislation and a strong majority supported a ban on high capacity magazines which hold more than 10 rounds.

Just last month in a Quinnipiac poll, results were a little less clear.

Colorado voters opposed "the stricter new gun control laws" in the state 55-40 percent, but when asked specifically about two of the states actual gun control laws, voters flipped and supported both.

When asked about universal background checks for all gun sales and transfers, those surveyed overwhelmingly approved, 85-14. And when asked about the statewide ban on high capacity magazines that hold more than 15 rounds, voters still approve, albeit by a very slim margin, 49-48.

"Voters don't like gun control, or maybe they just don't like the words, 'gun control,'" said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "There's some support for limiting multi-round magazines, and overwhelming support for background checks."

Tancredo, a vocal anti-immigration crusader, made headlines in 2010 when he said that President Barack Obama constitutes a greater threat to the American way of life than any foreign enemy the U.S. has faced. In 2011, after President Obama released his long-form birth certificate, Tancredo said that Obama withheld his birth certificate to make Republicans look foolish.

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