UH OH: Democrats Panicking About State Leg Races

While this week’s Public Policy Polling survey showed the governor and senate races are statistically tied, we noted that it carried even worse news for Democrats in down ticket races statewide.  The poll shows Dems down 7 points in races for the state legislature – a prospect that has their leadership hitting the panic button. 

According to PPP:

When asked about who they would vote for in an election for state legislature 45% of voters responded they would vote for a generic Republican compared to only 38% who would vote for a Democrat.

The House Majority Project, the Democrat’s 527 arm, is doubling its fundraising efforts in light of the latest polling.   They painfully lost the majority by one seat in 2010, and their biggest fear is watching that happen all over again.


RED ALERT: Voters Like Red Light Cameras More Than Hick and Udall

It’s pretty well understood that people just don’t like red light cameras.  Well, what if we told you that people like red light cameras better than some Democratic politicians?  It’s true and it comes from the left-leaning Public Policy Polling.  Delicious.

Today, PPP published a poll that showing Hickenlooper unable to break 50% against every Republican candidate, but Tom Tancredo.  Against Tom, he gets just 50%.  The news is worse for U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, who leads U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner by just two points – 47% to 45%, respectively, which is probably within the margin of error.

Nonetheless, you know what’s at a solid 50% approval rating?  Red light cameras.  That’s right folks.  Again, Coloradans like red light cameras better than the Democrats’ top of the ticket.  Here are the results of the poll:

Sorry, we’re still giggling.  Of course, it’s worth noting that the R/D/U for the poll leans a little left at 36% D, 32% R, and 32% U.  As we mentioned before, a more appropriate weighting would look something like this:

Local pollsters have been weighting their polling for this year at 38 or 39% Republican, 34 or 35% Democrat and 27 or 28% Unaffiliated.  Historically speaking, U’s have never come close to 36% and likely won’t in this environment.

The poll, a survey of 618 Coloradans, was conducted April 17-20, 2014. The margin of error, oddly, was not disclosed.  Also odd – top of the Republican ballot gubernatorial candidate Mike Kopp, either wasn’t included in the survey or the results weren’t released.  Care to disclose either of these items, PPP? We know you have problems disclosing information that doesn’t benefit the left.

Nonetheless, maybe this is why Hick isn’t committing to legislation that would forbid red light cameras – the concept is actually more popular than he is.


REPUBLICANS ON TOP: Dems to Rely Heavily on Weakened Top of the Ticket in 2014

When Public Policy Polling released its “Polling Miscellany” odds and ends post, Colorado media was a-blaze with news that Republicans are leading in the Colorado statewide generic legislative ballot 47-42.  Especially noteworthy was Republicans’ nine-point advantage with independents.  But, don’t worry, PPP, a liberal polling outfit, found a way to spin the numbers by saying that Democrats would be in trouble, except that Republicans’ top of the ticket isn’t as strong as that of Democrats:

“Those numbers are perhaps also indicative of how much trouble Democrats would be in at the top of the ticket next year if the GOP candidate fields were a little bit stronger.”

There’s just one problem with PPP’s assertion – the Dems’ top of the ticket isn’t looking particularly strong in 2014. Hick is in trouble according to last month’s Quinnipiac poll: continue…


P-P-PRETTY BAD NUMBERS: Even Liberal Pollster PPP Can’t Polish The Obamacare Turd

Obamacare is so loathed in Colorado, even liberal pollster Public Policy Polling (PPP) can’t polish that turd. In a poll released today, continued and widespread dissatisfaction was found with President Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment.

When asked about the implementation of Obamacare, 70% of voters thought it was somewhat or very unsuccessful. As for the 4% who said it was “very successful” – we’d sure love to get our hands on whatever they’re smoking.

Where PPP’s numbers differ is on Obamacare approval itself. According to PPP’s survey, Obamacare has a 49% disapproval rating to 41% approval. Like everyone else polling the state they find the law is highly unpopular, but perhaps unsurprisingly they show it loathed less than every other recent poll.

Maybe that’s why they decided to actually release their poll this time — after all PPP has a history of hiding polling results in Colorado it doesn’t like.

In September, prior to the disastrous roll out of the law, USA Today found that Coloradans disapproved of Obamacare 52%-33%.

In late November, Quinnipiac found that Coloradans disapproved 56%-40%, with independents disapproving 59%-35%.

No matter how much you spin it, the bill that has come to define Barack Obama’s legacy and the future political careers of Democrats in 2014 has become a serious political liability.


POLLING PROBLEMS FOR THE GUV: Former Democratic Party Chairman Asks If Hickenlooper Is In Trouble

Former Colorado Democratic Party Chairman and pollster Floyd Ciruli picks up on the big question in Colorado politics on his blog today — is Governor Hickenlooper in trouble?

Noting the shocking transition Hickenlooper’s reputation has undergone — from moderate to “leader of a very socially liberal, anti-business state government” — Ciruli points out how much Hick has lost control of his own image:

Hickenlooper tried to frame the session as simply addressing major needs in a moderate fashion with a minimalist state-of-state address advocating gun registration and civil unions. But, he lost control of the messaging as national interest in the issues overwhelmed local positioning and, for example, made Colorado a gun control success story for embattle [sic] advocates…

The sheer volume of Democratic proposals on guns, gays, drugs, taxes, death penalty, spending and regulation took over and altered Hickenlooper’s moderate image to that of a leader of very socially liberal, anti-business state government. As of today, gun control, the legislature’s signature issue, is not very popular in Colorado, with only 49 percent of the public supporting either stricter laws in general or an assault weapons ban specifically.

The effect of this strong shift to the left on Hick’s part — something also noted in The New Yorker profile of Hick today — is to submerge his approval rating under water with independents.

As the chart created by Ciruli highlights (see below), Hick’s approval among indies has gone from a positive 59-21 approve/disapprove last November to an upside down 40-48 in the April Public Policy Polling statewide survey.



#WINNING: Gessler’s Electoral Strength Unreported By CO Press

The Colorado Press never misses a chance to report on the head-line grabbing ongoings of Secretary of State Scott Gessler. 

And the Colorado Press loves to report the findings of notoriously left leaning PPP polls as if they were from the mouth of the Lord.

So why didn’t the Colorado Press report the recent findings of the PPP poll as they pertain to Scott Gessler’s re-election?

Maybe it is because the press no-like Gessler, and no want anyone to know that Honey Badger is #winning.

From PPP:

Voters are closely divided on Michael Bennet- 34/35 approval- and narrowly support incumbent Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler for reelection over Democratic challenger Ken Gordon 42/38.

We admit to being mildly surprised at Gessler’s electoral strength after a 3-year barrage of attacks by libs and the press. We are not surprised, though, that the press ignored this development. 

That does not mean there isn’t a headline here…Gessler is #winning, even if the press does not want you to know.


GLASS JAW GOVERNOR? Hickenlooper’s Ability To Withstand A Political Punch Relatively Untested

Governor Hickenlooper has been the recipient of a hard-hitting, professional attack ad campaign by Republicans just once in his political career. Once. And then Dan Maes took the GOP nomination and every outside player fled the state.

With Hickenlooper taking a 20-point hit in favorability in the latest PPP poll, it’s instructive to look back at that brief moment of political peril for the governor for what it says about his ability to take a political punch.

The assault by the Republican Governor’s Association (RGA) in early May 2010 focused heavily on his raising taxes as Denver Mayor and the job losses at Frontier Airlines that happened as a result, and tied him to unpopular one-term Governor Ritter.

The smartly produced, memorable spot had a little over half a million behind it over a one-month period — a not insignificant, nor exceptionally huge, budget.

As a result, Hickenlooper’s numbers went into freefall.

Less than two weeks after the assault on the airwaves began, a PPP poll found Hick had gone from an 11-point lead over Scott McInnis in the previous PPP poll to being tied.

It was a crushing blow that reshaped the race dramatically.

Unfortunately, soon thereafter everything fell apart. The plagiarism scandal consumed McInnis’s campaign and paved the way for the most disastrous major party nomination in modern history in Dan Maes. 

But it’s that ever-so-brief moment that makes some wonder whether Hickenlooper is as politically invincible as conventional wisdom would suggest.

The second sustained assault Hickenlooper has faced from Republicans in his career, though with virtually no paid media, was over gun control.

And just like after the RGA attack, Hickenlooper’s polling numbers plummeted like a cartoon anvil.

Two assaults, two big poll hits.

Does Governor Hickenlooper have a glass jaw?


MOST LIBERAL LEGISLATURE IN HISTORY: The Consequences Of Democrats Radical Redirect To The Left

Yesterday’s Public Policy Polling survey of Colorado that found that Governor Hickenlooper had taken a 20 point nosedive among voters revealed one of the major consequences to come out of a legislative session dubbed by The Durango Herald‘s Joe Hanel as “one of the most liberal ever.”

A flashback to that Durango Herald piece from April 8:

DENVER – Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Colorado legislators have done a lot this year. 

If the session ended today, it would go down as one of the most productive and liberal ever, with new laws allowing civil unions, in-state tuition for children who lack citizenship and some of the only new gun control bills in the country this year, and they are on their way to expanding eligibility for Medicaid.

But with 30 days left in their annual session, Democrats are just getting warmed up.

KDVR’s Eli Stokols predicted this would happen in a 5280 Magazine piece in March, suggesting Democrats could be confronted with a case of “whiplash” from their over-reaching legislative agenda. (The article is offline right now, but we’ll link if/when it goes back up It’s been reposted here). Eli’s inner-Swami proved quite prescient.

The consensus among the Colorado press corps seems to be coalescing around the idea that this legislative session has been on the radical side of liberal…sorry, progressive…much to the chagrin of Democratic leaders like House Speaker Mark Ferrandino who promised to focus on “jobs, jobs, jobs.”

From gun control to Hitler’s dog to sex ed for 1st graders, the topic of discussion under the Gold Dome has been everything but economics so far this year.

Hick’s twenty point hit since Christmas, almost entirely in the form of moderate Republicans and independents fleeing his ship, is nothing to sneeze at. That fundamentally reshapes Hickenlooper’s political standing in the state.

Hick’s slide likely isn’t over yet, either. The Progressive Leap Forward still has many miles to go.

There is still a slate of horrible bills yet to reach the Guv’s desk — like driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, a Common Cause-drafted election bill and a slew of anti-business legislation.

Not to mention the coming billion dollar tax increase campaign.

There is a reason the last tax hike campaign, Prop 103 in 2011, lost everywhere in Colorado but Boulder, Aspen and Telluride. Tax increases are like Democrats in Douglas County — a guaranteed loser.

While Hickenlooper managed to evade a public position on Prop 103, both the media and liberals are not likely to give him a free pass this time around. He’ll have to take a position. Coming out against it would enrage the left, and considering the pressure liberals were able to exact on him during the gun debate, we can’t be sure Hickenlooper won’t dive down the tax hike rabbit hole.

Suffice it to say supporting a tax hike in this economy won’t help improve his numbers.

The political blowback for legislative Democrats has only just begun, with a number of them having to fend off recall campaigns that will prove costly, both in time and treasure.

Such are the consequences for the most liberal legislature ever.


POLLING PRIMER: Hey John Ingold, You Forgot Something About That PPP Poll

The Denver Post's John Ingold reports that Romney is gaining on Obama in Colorado in the latest poll (PDF) by Democrat polling firm PPP, yet he leaves out one glaring issue — the sample. We honestly don't understand how reporters can cover a poll without disclosing who was actually polled.

PPP's poll has Obama over Romney 49-46, up from Obama's 49-43 lead last time PPP polled Colorado. But if you were to weight the poll properly, according to a polling source of ours, Romney would actually be beating Obama by a point

Why is that? PPP's sample of 37% Democrat, 37% Republican and 27% Unaffiliated/Other is not in line with what every other pollster who has looked at Colorado assumes will happen. That sample assumes a higher percentage of Democrats will turn out than Republicans. If you have been sticking your head in the sand since 2008 you might believe that, but everyone else knows better.

Ingold also reports that Obama is "cleaning up with women" based on a 52-44 lead. Here he is forgetting to add some context — namely that this represents the smallest lead Obama has had among women all cycle in Colorado.

For some context about the actual Colorado electorate, the active registration totals in Colorado are, as of August 1, 31.5% Democrat / 36.5% Republican / 32% Unaffiliated/Other. Secondly, 2008 was the only time in Colorado history that we can remember where more Democrats voted than Republicans, and in that wave year it was by barely less than a point more, according to Secretary of State records. In 2010, the electorate was 6 points more Republican than Democratic.

Most pollsters assume turnout will be somewhere between 2008 and 2010 — but we haven't heard from any legitimate source that Democrats will repeat anything close to 2008 turnout. PPP's sample suggests they believe something no respected observer in Colorado believes.

PPP's struggles with sampling an accurate representation of the Colorado electorate have been long documented by us at Colorado Peak Politics. A number of reporters, like Eli Stokols, usually include the requisite disclaimers about PPP's issues when covering their polls, but other reporters have not been quite so good. 

Even The New York Times polling expert, Nate Silver, has found that PPP has shown a three-point oversampling of Democrats on average this year. 

Next time you read a poll on Colorado, the first question you should ask is: who was polled? It matters.  


CONFLICTING ASSESSMENTS: Rasmussen Has Presidential Race Tied In CO, PPP Peddles BS Outlier

Competing polls on the Presidential race in Colorado were released today, with Rasmussen Reports showing the race tied at 47% and Democrat pollster Public Policy Polling (PPP) continuing to peddle their BS outlier results, showing Obama up 49%-43% over Governor Romney.

Both polls show basically no movement in the race from their earlier surveys, despite the nearly $30 million that has been spent on advertising already in Colorado this cycle.

In June, Rasmussen had the race tied at 45%, while PPP had Obama up 49%-42% at the same time.

What's important to look at when analyzing these polls, especially with the race so tight, is not the top line numbers that make the headlines, but the trends and crosstabs. In that sense, both PPP and Rasmussen agree — the race is virtually unchanged since June. 

What they seem to disagree on is how much support Romney has among Republicans.

Rasmussen has Obama and Romney garnering equal support from their own parties at 91%, while PPP shows Romney getting only 85% support among Republicans while Obama pulls in 92% support from Democrats. 

Both pollsters also disagree on how unaffiliated voters are viewing the race, with Rasmussen showing Obama and Romney get 44% of that segment's vote. PPP's poll has Obama over Romney with unaffiliateds 49%-38%. 

Other pollsters who have done surveys in Colorado, and who have better reputations than PPP or Rasmussen, see the race tied. In July, Purple Strategies had the race Obama 45% to Romney 44%, with Romney up with independents by 6 points.

What this all means is that PPP continues to paint what Fox31's Eli Stokols has called a "rosy picture" for Obama in Colorado. The real truth is the race is tight and no one is breaking out ahead. If anyone tells you otherwise, tell them we have a nice bridge we want to sell them in Alaska Jefferson County.  

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