McInnis, Scott_colorScott McInnis may find his toughest job in running for governor is contending with the conservative grassroots.

That’s because if the former congressman can win the Republican Party’s nomination, he has a decent shot of obliterating Democratic Governor Bill Ritter’s campaign, according to a poll that finds 48 percent of 500 likely voters back McInnis (right) over Ritter (left).

Just 40 percent of those polled would vote for Ritter, but the caveat is that just four percent favor another candidate and seven percent are undecided, notes the Denver Business Journal.

The Rasmussen Poll is the second to underscore the possibility that a GOP tattered by recent elections may be poised for a big comeback in 2010. Republicans vying for U.S. Senate, including former Lieutenant Governor Jane Norton, are also polling better than or neck-and-neck with the cash-laden campaign of Democratic U.S. Senator Michael Bennet.

Ritter, BillMeanwhile, The Denver Post chides McInnis for his constant attacks on Ritter as a “run-of-the-mill, grow-government” Dem unable to create jobs.

“If McInnis has some good ideas about how to put the state back on its feet, or better places to cut the budget, he should share them with voters. But so far, he has been oblique,” the Post writes.

As for Republicans, they plan to fight Ritter’s efforts to eliminate tax breaks and release parolees to balance the state budget, writes The Associated Press. An alternate idea comes from McInnis’ one-time competition for the governor’s nomination, state Senate Minority Leader Josh Penry, who thinks Dems could fire 2,000 new state employees and rescind tougher oil-and-gas restrictions that allegedly cost jobs.