A recent poll shows Congressman Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, and challenger Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, are in a statistical dead heat for the office of the Third Congressional District of Colorado.
The poll, released Monday by Grove Insight, a Portland, Ore.-based opinion research and communications strategy company, is based on interviews with 400 likely voters in CD3.
The interviews were conducted from Sept. 25-27, according to a Grove Insight news release.
The poll shows Tipton in the lead, garnering support from 42 percent of the interview pool.
Pace trails by just three points, with 13 percent reporting they are undecided, and a margin of error of plus or minus 4.9 percentage points, according to the Grove Insight release.
James Dakin Owens, newly-hired communications director for the Pace campaign, said Wednesday the poll validates the information he’s been collecting internally.
“We didn’t commission the poll and I haven’t seen the cross tabs or the methodology, but it really does sink in line with what we’ve seen on our end — being within the margin of error and having the momentum on our side,” Owens said. “We’re reasonably confident in it and we’re pretty ecstatic about what it shows the state of the race to be.”
In addition to showing Pace has closed the gap, the Grove Insight poll also reported 46 percent of those interviewed gave Tipton negative reviews of his work in Congress.
“These results show that Coloradans are fed up with the gridlock and partisanship in Washington, and want elected officials who will work across the aisle to get things done,” Pace said in a news release. “It also proves that our positive message of standing up for hardworking Colorado families has given us the momentum going into the final stretch.”
But Michael Fortney, Tipton's campaign manager, echoed Owens’ comments saying little is known about Grove Insight.
He questioned the company’s objectiveness considering no information was released with the poll to show whether the interview pool was an accurate representation of CD3’s voter population, what questions were posed and whether or not interviewees were asked to comment about Pace for balance.
“This is simple desperation in the form of an unsubstantiated Democrat polling memo,” Fortney said. “Nobody is taking this seriously.”
Lisa Grove, founder and principal of Grove Insight, could not be reached for comment.
Owens, however, didn’t stray from his earlier comments, saying the poll was especially encouraging because the interviews were conducted before Pace’s third campaign advertisement of the cycle hit the airwaves.
The ad, entitled “Couple Miles,” talks about a bridge in Pueblo that was built with steel manufactured in China.
The narrator, a 35-year veteran of a steel mill located a couple miles from the bridge site, touts Pace for introducing legislation in the Colorado House of Representatives requiring state agencies to buy American products for manufacturing projects.
According to an Oct. 1 Pace for Colorado news release, Pace’s bill failed to pass in the Colorado House, but the state legislator continued to work with Gov. Bill Ritter to draft an executive order paralleling language in Pace’s bill.
After conducting his research Fortney once again charged the Pace campaign with distorting the truth.
“This is the second time Sal Pace has been caught red-handed deceiving Colorado voters,” he said. “Sal is quickly running out of credibility, if he has any left at all.”
When Pace introduced HB09-1328 it was unable to move out of committee, let alone a Democrat controlled House, and was killed in April 2009, Fortney said.
Though Pace claims he worked with Ritter on an immediate resolution, Fortney said the governor did not issue his executive order until Dec. 2009 and, according to its language, directed state agencies to buy American provisions in accordance with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
“Not only does this language not echo Sal’s legislation, it also has no effect on anything after ARRA funds expire, which makes the claim in this ad false,” Fortney said.
Joe Moylan can be reached at 875-1794 or email@example.com.