Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hickenlooper and Duran – Colorado Democratic Headliners

John Hickenlooper
Governor John Hickenlooper and House Majority Leader Crisanta Duran have speaking positions at the Philadelphia Convention and as such are being recognized as Colorado’s top Democrats.

Hickenlooper’s clearly ready to move on. Reports out of D.C. make clear he lobbied for consideration as VP and more realistically to be recognized as a national player in what could be a new Democratic administration. He has a prime speaking slot on Thursday night.

Crisanta Duran
Duran is on the way up in Colorado if Democrats hold the State House (very likely). She will become the Speaker, a powerful role with significant visibility. She could jump into a statewide primary in three years or run for Denver Congresswoman DeGette’s seat should DeGette decide a couple of decades of service is enough.

Speaking in Philadelphia should contribute to both Hickenlooper’s and Duran’s next career moves.

Hillary Clinton’s old friend and long-time DNC member, Wellington Webb, also got a little early facetime Monday. Webb backed Clinton in 2008 against President Obama based on his relationship with the Clintons since the 1980s and throughout President Bill Clinton’s presidency.

See DNC speaker’s list here

Monday, July 25, 2016

Tipton vs. Schwartz

Gail Schwartz and Scott Tipton
Scott Tipton wasn’t supposed to have a tough race in 2016. He won a couple of strong re-elections in 2012 (Obama year) and 2014 and he has money in the bank ($980,000). But, here he is in an expected battle with a well-funded and nationally supported Democrat former State Senator, Gail Schwartz. What happened?

Gail Schwartz is a highly motivated Western Slope politician, who often receives encouragement to run for office from Democratic-leaning supporters, and she has long indicated a personal interest in another job. But, it was Donald Trump and the possibility of a Republican disaster that caught the eye of the Washington D.C. Democratic power structure and ramped up the pressure and financial incentives to encourage her to run.

But as good as Schwartz is in a campaign, she will need a wave-type of year to defeat Tipton.

As I said to Mark Matthews (Denver Post, 7-14-16):
Floyd Ciruli, a Colorado political analyst, said Schwartz’s strong fundraising quarter sends a signal to Democratic donors that “this is a race to put money into.”
But he added that the GOP edge in the district, coupled with Tipton’s incumbency, means that to win she still would likely need a wave year for Democrats.
“It’s the kind of seat that could be won in a year where there is a 30 to 40 seat sweep,” Ciruli said.
Hillary Clinton is ahead in Colorado. But, her numbers are only in the mid-40 percent range (See Ciruli’s forecast here) and the national generic congressional ballot test numbers only give Democrats a 2 percent advantage. But, it’s early, and Clinton is ahead of Trump by 8 points at the start of the conventions.

Bennet Leads Clinton in Colorado by 7 Points

The rule has been that so goes the presidential race, so goes down ballot, and for the Democrats, although Hillary Clinton is ahead of Donald Trump by 8 points in Colorado, she is only attracting 44 percent of the electorate (see July 19, NBC/WSJ Claims Clinton Up 8 Points in Colorado). Her advantage is mostly a reflection of how poorly Trump is doing (36%). But Michael Bennet is currently 7 points above Hillary Clinton. He is averaging 51 percent against his Republican rival, Darryl Glenn (see July 19, Darryl Glenn Wins Convention Spot, But Losing in Race Against Michael Bennet). Both Trump and Glenn are only capturing a third of the electorate. For all the talk about down ballot Republicans trying to disengage from Trump, Bennet has disengaged from Clinton. Many factors explain the differences in those numbers, but one observation stands out, not only may Clinton’s weak election percentage not hurt Bennet, it is conceivable he could help her.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Colorado is No Longer a Battleground State

In 2016, Colorado will not be a battleground state. Nominee Donald Trump has shifted his attention to the Midwest, the Rust Belt and Northeast (early targets: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin) appealing to working and middle class White voters.

Colorado moved out of battleground status for several reasons.
  • Due to the last two presidential races, Colorado became a presumed “lean Democratic” state. The latest polls confirm the presumption with Hillary Clinton up 8 points and Senator Michael Bennet ahead 18 (see NBC/WSJ Claims Clinton Up 8 Points in Colorado and Darryl Glenn Wins Convention Spot, But Losing in Race With Michael Bennet ).
  • Colorado is not a blue collar, depressed manufacturing state. Its growing Hispanic and Millennial population makes it a much more diverse and likely to vote Democratic.
  • The Colorado Republican Party is not Trump friendly. Ted Cruz dominated the Republican base in the state (he won the nomination ballot, got his Senate candidates nominated with a third of vote). At the just completed Republican Convention, it was the Colorado delegation that was the most obstreperous.
The implications of this shift are not good for Colorado Republicans, local TV stations and people who would like to see Donald Trump between now and the election.

Is Darryl Glenn Headed for Historic Loss?

There have only been four U.S. Senate re-elections in Colorado since 1980, and in two of them incumbents crushed their opponents (near 30-point margins). Republican Bill Armstrong beat Nancy Dick by 29 points in the 1984 Reagan landslide and Ben Nighthorse Campbell crushed Democrat Dottie Lamm by 27 points in his 1998 re-election.

Darryl Glenn
Photo: 9News
Early polls showing Republican nominee Darryl Glenn losing to one-term incumbent Michael Bennet by an average of 15 points and Bennet’s advantage of cash on hand of $6 million to Glenn’s less than $100,000 suggests a rout. Add to that, Donald Trump, who is running 8 points behind Hillary Clinton in Colorado, is unlikely to help. Glenn appears alone and in deep trouble.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Law and Order – Difficult Issue for Clinton

Even before Dallas and Baton Rouge, the police were the second highest rated institution in the U.S. by the annual Gallup’s “confidence in institution” survey, behind the military and ahead of the church or organized religion. A massive surge in sympathy can be expected. But public opinion about police is racially polarized and, hence, a problem for Hillary Clinton.

Gallup Poll reports:

  • Black confidence in police was 30% in 2015 when all adults registered 53% confidence.
  • Concern about crime and violence up to record levels among all groups (Whites 46%, non-Whites 68%; overall 53% up from 39% in 2014).
The Black Lives Matter movement has inserted itself strongly into the Democratic Party during the primary process. Clinton desperately needs African American turnout to carry a number of swing states and has joined in the general heightened rhetoric of racial injustice, especially within the criminal justice system, including the police. But, she also faces an electorate concerned about law and disorder.

Bill Clinton faced some of the same pressures during his 1992 election and first years in office, but was able to extricate himself both rhetorically with the Sister Soulja Moment and strong support for the death penalty during the campaign, and substantially with criminal justice sentencing increases and funding for police in his first term.

However, the 2016 Democratic platform repudiates most of his initiatives and advocates abolishing the death penalty, criticizes so-called “mass incarceration” and specifically references the Black Lives Matter movement in its language.

Donald Trump, recognizing the advantage, has become the law and order candidate. In fact, his entire candidacy has been propelled by law and order, first focused on the southern border, then in November 2015 aimed at Muslim immigrants, and now at support for the police. He owns this issue and it’s a winner for him within the Republican Party.

But it’s not clear law and order will move the broader electorate. So far, polls indicate Clinton is preferred on race issues. America is clearly more liberal on various criminal justice issues today (death penalty for example) and more non-White than 1968 when law and order was so much part of the presidential campaign. And in terms of 1968, the disruption today, while serious, seems less widespread. But the direction of the current trend of high-profile incidents of violence is ominous for Democrats.

See Washington Times: Democrat-funded protests backfire as officer killings boost support for police

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Clinton’s National Polling Lead Tightens as Republicans Pick Their Nominee

Hillary Clinton’s polling lead that had begun after her California victory has narrowed in several polls under the weight of the e-mail scandal and a good pre-Republican Convention week for Donald Trump. Polls tightened post FBI Director Comey’s criticism of Clinton’s e-mail practices as “extremely caress” and Trump’s weeklong road trips and interviews with perspective VP candidates that generated a steady stream of mostly positive stories.

Other actions that may have affected pre-convention opinion was the Dallas police ambush of July 7 and activities of the Black Lives Matter movement. The period also contained Justice Ginsberg’s widely criticized outburst against Trump and her apology.

Polling averages show Clinton’s advantage ranges from up to 7 percentage points, to within the margin of error, to the New York Times reporting the race as tied.

The Huffington Post’s current average for Clinton is 2.8 percentage points and 2.7 for RealClearPolitics.

In spite of all of Clinton’s troubles and Trump’s good week, she continues to hold a modest advantage as Republicans pick their nominee.

See The Buzz: Pre-Convention Polls Show Clinton Ahead