Colorado Republicans who want Governor John Hickenlooper out of office might need to look for another slate of challengers, according to numbers released this week by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

Hickenlooper, a Democrat, leads four potential Republican contenders by healthy margins, including a nine-percentage-point gap with former United States Representative Tom Tancredo, whom Hickenlooper defeated during the last gubernatorial election. The closest matchup—a six-percentage point lead for Hickenlooper—is with secretary of state Scott Gessler.

But that doesn’t mean the governor doesn’t have some soft spots. Voters, the poll shows, disapprove of Hickenlooper’s handling of gun and education issues, and disagree with the way he has addressed the death penalty in the state. The Denver Post reports that 66 percent of voters say the death penalty should be continued, compared with 28 percent who think the punishment should be discontinued and replaced with a life sentence with no chance at parole.

Exit question: What would these poll numbers look like if the Denver Broncos had won the Super Bowl and John Elway were included among the list of possible GOP challengers?

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