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

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Ciruli Predicts Pence on 9News

Asked last Tuesday on 9News Morning Show, the week before the Republican Convention, on whom Donald Trump would select before the weekend as his vice president, I picked Governor Mike Pence.

The choice appeared to be primarily between Pence, Governor Chris Christie and former Speaker Newt Gingrich.

My criteria was as follows:
  • Trump and the convention’s primary task is to unify the party with a strong offering to fiscal and social conservatives and a vice presidential nominee the D.C. establishment at least knows as reliable. Pence was the only candidate that met the criteria. He’s a Tea Party stalwart, evangelical 12-term House member and current governor. He is someone Senator Cory Gardner, who hasn’t got on the Trump bandwagon, could endorse. In fact, Speaker Tim Ryan considers him a friend.
  • The second criterion was contrast. As Gingrich said, picking him would be adding another pirate to the ticket. So would Christie. Trump handles the unpredictability and unconventionalism well enough. Who needs two firebrands?
All vice presidents have some risks, as Sarah Palin demonstrated, and one unknown on Pence is the selection’s impact of Trump’s image as the outsider. The Pence choice is clearly a D.C.-type calculation. I suspect the impact with Trump supporters is negligible.

Democrats wasted no time going on the attack with an email from Hillary Clinton’s Chairman, John Podesta, as to how extreme Mike Pence is:
“Pence is the most extreme pick in a generation and was one of the earliest advocates for the Tea Party. He was the first of GOP leadership to join Michele Bachmann’s Tea Party Caucus.”
Democrats probably think he was a good choice too.

Mike Pence, Chris Christie and Newt Gingrich

Darryl Glenn Wins Convention Spot, But Losing in Race With Michael Bennet

In the latest Colorado statewide polling, Darryl Glenn is losing to incumbent Senator Michael Bennet by an average of 15 percentage points.

In the NBC/WSJ/Marist poll (July 5-10), Bennet has a 53 percent to 38 percent lead over Glenn (15 points), the same as in the recent Fox News poll (July 9-12).

Glenn was given a Monday night speaking slot at the Republican National Convention. He is being treated the same as most party senate candidates; that is, offered speaking slots to help with visibility. The speech may be seen by only a few Colorado voters, but it does give him an opportunity for some high-profile networking.

The convention is a huge moving encounter of donors, Super PAC executives and political consultants who can direct millions of dollars toward a candidate. In fact, it was a Washington D.C. conservative Super PAC that pumped hundreds of thousands into Glenn’s campaign at the end and helped him win the five-person primary race. And, he needs new money. Along with the polls, Glenn is behind more than 10-to-1 in fundraising with Bennet, who has $6 million cash on hand for the campaign.

NBC/WSJ Claims Clinton Up 8 Points in Colorado

Another Colorado poll has weighed in, confirming Hillary Clinton’s statewide lead in a head-to-head with Donald Trump. Joining four recent Colorado polls, she has an eight point lead, giving her frontrunner status. The NBC/WSJ/Marist poll was conducted with 779 voters post the Comey e-mail decision on July 5, 2016.

When Gary Johnson, libertarian, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein are offered in a question, 13 percent of voters select Johnson and 4 percent Stein, reducing both main party candidates, but maintaining the spread (8 points 2-party split/6 points with 4 candidates).

The Buzz’s Colorado forecast has Clinton up by 8 percent. Colorado’s 9 electorates at the start of the two national conventions appear to lean Democratic.

A couple of factors appear to be helping Clinton in Colorado in spite of national polls showing the race neck-to-neck.
  • Clinton’s campaign has been organized for months. She has TV up. The Hispanic community is busy registering to vote.
  • The Republican Party is still divided post primary, with anti-Trump forces in control. Trump himself has been antagonistic to the local party and, in fact, used it as a foil in his primary campaign.
Of course, Colorado could be slipping to the left as many national pundits suggest based on shifting demographics and voting behavior during the last decade. But whatever the source of the current polling spread, it is the states and their polls that are far more important than the national polls in deciding who wins the presidency.