Floyd Ciruli

Respected Pollster and non-partisan political analyst Floyd Ciruli is joining the ranks of those who believe that Colorado Democrats are in trouble. Here’s what he had to say in his latest blog post:

Colorado Democrats are beginning to fear the conclusion of their eight-year dominance of Colorado politics may be within sight. The high point was two years ago when Democrats controlled both senate seats, the governorship and the legislature.

Senator Mark Udall now appears to be falling behind in public polls to Congressman Cory Gardner. His handlers have moved from arguing about the polls to claiming their hyper-GOTV effort will save the day. Maybe, but GOTV can’t turn out people in a weak persuasion environment.

But, the bigger problem is the COLLAPSE of Governor Hickenlooper’s re-election campaign. Even in August before the polls turned south on the Democrats, Hickenlooper was running behind Udall by two or more points. A failing incumbent governor could drag down the entire ticket.

Fundamentally, John Hickenlooper lost his highly valuable image as a centrist and non-politician with the 2013 Democratic legislature, the strange interaction with the Colorado Sheriffs, and the sudden and ill-presented death penalty decision. [the Peak‘s emphasis]

Well-known political scientist Larry Sabato has also moved the Colorado Senate race from leans Dem to toss up today.

But what’s most interesting about Ciruli’s and Sabato’s predictions is the timing. Their assertions comes just days after what Democrats think are its “gotcha” moments in both top of the ticket races. We are, of course, referring to Gardner’s latest interview with Eli Stokols and Beauprez’s remark about IUDs at The Denver Post debate.

Despite being harshly grilled by Stokols, Gardner never lost his cool and never went off message. The guy is truly unflappable. As for Beauprez’s comments, the Post reported that after the debate he reaffirmed that he “doesn’t oppose contraception, calling the use of IUDs a ‘personal choice.’”

Democrats have been killing themselves to paint both moments as major gaffes. However if that were true, then the real experts, like Ciruli and Sabato, wouldn’t be so optimistic about GOP chances in Colorado.