Polls are out in the open Governor's race in Colorado, with every plausible combination of candidates but Ken "he's on my shitlist" Salazar and Alice Madden, from Rasmussen. Daily Kos seriously goofed it (as shown in the comments to its post). The real numbers (1/17/2006):
Beauprez (R) 38
Hickenlooper (D) 43
Beapurez (R) 39
Ritter (D) 38
Beauprez (R) 43
Lindstrom (D) 32
Holtzman (R) 36
Hickenlooper (D) 46
Holtzman (R) 39
Ritter (D) 35
Holtzman (R) 39
Lindstrom (D) 31
This has to encourage Hickenlooper and discourage Ritter. Ritter has been running on electability and gravitas. But, Hickenlooper, who is more appealing to the Democratic base than Ritter, also has far greater popularity. If you deeply want to ban abortion, you want the real thing, not Ritter, whom you aren't sure that you can trust.
Holtzman is still the slight underdog in the vicious Beauprez-Holtzman race on the GOP side of the fence.
If Lindstrom is surprised at his poor showing, he isn't politically savy enough to be in this race at all; he is a yellow dog that only yellow dog Democrats will vote for until they get to know him better, and the battle for rank and file Democratic hearts and minds has to be well in place by late March when the caucuses are held.
Madden, by the way, is almost certainly, like Lindstrom, well below Ritter or Hickenlooper in name recognition and in head to head poll match ups at this point. It would be almost a lost cause for her to run at this point. She's a good legislator, but to run for Governor you simply must have widespread name recognition even before you set foot on the campaign trail.
The idea behind the Salazar for Governor scenario, for its proponents, is for Salazar to run for a job he wanted more than Senator in the first place, to run Bill Ritter as Attorney General (a natural succession from his post as Denver DA that can also keep his Gubinatorial hopes alive), appoint his own successor in the Senate (likely Boulder Congressman Mark Udall) leaving open a safe Democratic seat to be filled in a by-election in the 2nd CD (State Representatives and Gubinatorial dreamers Alice Madden and Gary Lindstrom comes to mind). The party could then recruit Andrew Romanoff, who got statewide campaign operations experience in the C and D campaign, name recognition as Speaker of the State House, and is soon to face term limits in the State House anyway, to fulfill his political aspirations by running for U.S. Senate against Wayne Allard (should he choose to run again) in 2008.
This has the virtue of putting a pro-choice candidate with a proven ability to win a statewide election and handle an executive branch office in the Governor's race, of putting a more reliably Democratic individual in the highly partisan U.S. Senate, of not sacrificing any Congressional seats (or strong candidates for close seats), and of not wasting any of the party's first string candidates. Cary Kennedy could run for State Treasurer (the only Democrat in the race at the moment), Senate Majority Leader Ken Gordon could run for Secretary of State, and perhaps State Senator and former Speaker of the State House Jennifer Veiga could serve as Lt. Governor (an apprenticeship for bigger things which also provides statewide name recognition), now that State Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald is likely to hold onto her post for the moment.
Salazar for Governor proponents also doubt that ability of relatively inexperienced Mayor Hickenlooper to sustain his popularity in a statewide race. A Hickenlooper run, of course, would have far less of a cascading effect on the rest of the politcal pyramid. Many worthy candidates ran last election (e.g. Penfield Tate), and many worthy, but little known, candidates would likely run again.
Salazar himself, is urging the party to avoid a primary in the race, uniting behind one candidate swiftly. Hickenlooper has still not made up his mind, Ritter has taken a Governor or bust stance, and Lindstrom gets nothing but cold water from Salazar's statement.