Monday, September 29, 2014

Sixth CD in the Field – Aurora Sentinel

Voting in Colorado starts October 15 with a new Democratic-inspired universal mail-back ballot. This should benefit campaigns with the best get-out-the-vote efforts, which in 2014 are massive, expensive computer- and online-driven productions.

But, they include the candidate walking or phoning voters one at a time. Mike Coffman and Andrew Romanoff are full at it in Aurora battling for voters in one of the county’s closest contests.

Aurora Sentinel, Rachel Sapin, 9-25-14:

Floyd Ciruli, a nonpartisan Denver-based political consultant, said even in a race where only a couple thousand votes could decide an election, canvassing alone does not translate directly into a win. But he said Romanoff is gaining an experience he can talk about in a campaign ad or at a future debate with his opponent. In turn, Romanoff’s campaign is gaining information about a potential voter. The Coffman campaign is on the streets, too, gaining the same intelligence, and not gaining the same sure-fire win.

It’s not uncommon for campaigns from both parties to cull state voter data for their door-to-door efforts. The sorting often involves targeting registered voters who are unaffiliated, key constituencies or those who have voted against their party in recent years.

Ciruli said that whatever Romanoff learns about unique voters while canvassing will be added to lists the Romanoff campaign uses when ballots are mailed to voters.

“The bulk of it is to identify every voter you can as a potential supporter, and then call them the day ballot arrives,” Ciruli said. “Most of this will happen behind the scenes. It’s very expensive, and time-consuming. Democrats are concerned young people and minorities will not turn out. They’re anxious to get them all out to vote.”

Friday, September 26, 2014

Amendments Split

In the only public poll so far in the 2014 campaign to cover Colorado ballot issues, the USA Today/Suffolk poll found two of the four Colorado ballot issues losing and two winning.  The perennial loser, “personhood,” is behind 10 points, 35 percent to 45 percent. It has lost twice before by large margins and is expected to do so in 2014.

Coloradans haven’t been generous to gaming expansion beyond the current footprint of small mountain communities. But, that doesn’t stop out-of-state interests from trying. This year, it is being sold as a boon for public education funding. It is losing by 11 points in the early poll, 33 percent to 44 percent.

Finally, Jon Caldera appears to have a ballot issue that could pass – a miracle. Open meetings for school boards and labor negotiations has a 20-point lead as it sounds attractive to voters. Expect the Colorado Education Association to weigh in with an effort to defeat it. Their view is secrecy produces better deals than transparency.

Labeling genetically modified food is ahead by 15 points. Voters like more information as consumers than less. Expect Colorado’s substantial food industry to express a view as to why it’s a bad idea.

PPP Confirms Udall is Behind

The race for U.S. Senate took a sharp turn last week when two post-Labor Day polls shifted to likely voter models and showed Senator Mark Udall behind by 8 (Quinnipiac) and 2 (USA Today/Suffolk) points. Democrats and their friends declared the polls outliers, especially the Quinnipiac survey.

A new poll done by a Democratic research firm adds its weight to the view Udall is behind. PPP reports a September 21, 2014 poll of 652 likely voters that Gardner leads 47 percent to 45 percent.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

European Integration Threatened

The independence movement in Scotland is part of a European phenomenon that, while uniquely Scottish, shares many aspects of other recent European protest parties and movements. It was seen in most dramatic fashion in last spring’s (May 2014) European parliamentary elections where anti-integration parties won a quarter of the representatives.

The Scots Say “No” and Polls Get it Right

The final Ipsos/MORI poll, a British gold standard, called the race 47 percent “yes” and 54 percent “no” and a 6-point difference Wednesday night. The result was 10 points.

Men and younger voters were more in favor. It was a battle with a lot of emotion between the heart and the wallet, with women and older voters believing the change involved too much risk.

The independence movement appears to have many aspects of the sentiment seen throughout the developed world that is anti-establishment and, in this case, anti-Westminster.

Most of the polls said independence would lose. Several theories were offered for why the “no” vote was underestimated:

Late deciders. The common experience in ballot initiatives is late deciders stay with the status quo. Also, some voters may say they support independence (i.e., change), but pull back when looking over the cliff (bungee jump; i.e., the no jump vote).

Shy voters. Some voters are not willing to tell pollsters they plan to vote against independence.

Turnout. There appeared to be some fall off in turnout among independence supporters.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

U.S. Senate: Local or National

Democrats may only lose three or four U.S. Senate seats if they can continue to localize the races and run aggressive, well-funded campaigns. Kay Hagan is now ahead in North Carolina, a seat Republicans were hoping to capture, and Colorado’s Mark Udall had a beyond the margin of error lead in most polls (not in the recent Quinnipiac survey, but it has been criticized because of the size of the lead, 8 points, for Cory Gardner and some sample issues).

But, neither Hagan nor Udall can be comfortable due to President Obama’s low approval rating and the recent shift to the Republicans in the generic ballot test.

Poll after poll in senate races confirm the President is a burden to the re-elections of Democratic incumbents. Obama’s approval is not as low as President George W. Bush’s in 2006 and 2008 (disastrous years for Republican candidates), which is one reason it’s assumed 2014 will be “2010 light.”

The generic ballot test has also started to move toward Republicans since early September as the President was running to catch up to the ISIS threat. It now sits at four points to the red, which is less than 2010, but it is still an indicator that 2014 will be the year the Democrats’ brand won’t help. As of today, it’s not clear the negative national numbers will be enough for Democrats to lose six senate seats, but they are enough to make Democrats run scared.

California Water Bond Ahead Two-to-One

After years of delay and many polls indicating defeat, Governor Brown and the California legislature have crafted a $7.5 billion water bond for this November’s election that is ahead in the latest Field Research Poll by nearly two-to-one (52% to 27%).

People who have some knowledge of the bond are even more supportive (57% to 25%) than voters less informed (48% to 28%). Somewhat surprisingly, Democrats are more supportive (66% to 13%) than Republicans, who oppose the bond at this time (35% to 49%).

Also of interest, the proposal is winning urban areas that usually disagree on water issues. The bond is passing by 62 percent in the Bay Area and 56 percent in Los Angeles County. It is ahead by less of a margin in the Central Valley (43% favor, 31% against).

Factors that appear to be helping the proposal are:
  1. A very serious drought;
  2. A reduction of the original request from $11.1 billion to $7.5 billion, and placing the initiative at the top of the ballot next to a popular budget reserve fund measure, Proposition 2;
  3. A considerable amount of the funds going toward restoration and sustainability; and
  4. A very popular governor advocating for it (Governor Jerry Brown has a 16-point lead over his Republican opponent).
Question asked:

(As you know) Proposition 1 is the Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014. It authorizes 7.5 billion dollars in general obligation bonds for state water supply infrastructure projects, including surface and groundwater storage, ecosystem and watershed protection, and restoration and Bay-Delta Estuary sustainability. Fiscal impact: Increased state bond costs averaging 380 million dollars annually over 40 years. If the election were being held today, would you vote YES or NO on Proposition 1?