Thursday, February 4, 2016

New Hampshire – Clinton Starts 18 Points Down

On December 1, Hillary Clinton was ahead in New Hampshire by four percentage points in the average. Today, she is down 18 points. New Hampshire polls are volatile, and the tie in Iowa should lead to a tightening in the race, although Bernie Sanders will, no doubt, maintain an advantage.

Probably what is most clear is that Clinton is in for a long slog. And long primary seasons tend to build negatives in the candidate’s image, create opportunities for stumbles, and in this race, move the candidate too far out of general election alignment trying to appeal to the Democrats’ alienated liberal wing.

Trump Leads in Remaining February Events

Unfortunately for Donald Trump, down is the most likely direction of his polling spread in New Hampshire and the remaining February nominating states. He leads by 21 points in New Hampshire, and between his underperforming second place finish in Iowa and the normal tightening of a race as advertising increases with voter attention, he may still win, but it’s likely to be much closer.

He now has to prove he can convert polling preferences to votes. The Iowa loss also suggested that his basic unlikability will keep a ceiling over him for all but his most hardcore voters.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Hickenlooper's Legacy

Gov. John Hickenlooper
The new state water plan may be one of Governor Hickenlooper’s most important legacies. The water plan has been strongly supported by the public for its joining science, collaboration and action items, such as conservation, reuse and storage. Although the Governor highlighted the plan and water in his State of the State speech, water leaders are asking if the Governor is going to support projects identified in the plan essential to close the water gap and near final permitting, but stalled for various, mostly, bureaucratic reasons. The process now needs political leadership.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Polis Jumps Back into Fracking

Jared Polis possibly considers his anti-fracking political strategy in 2014 a success. Very few of his colleagues or fellow party leaders would agree. They, in fact, were nearly universally opposed to his action to fund and direct the anti-fracking initiatives.
Jared Polis

Not only did he spend millions in a failed effort to place the initiatives on the ballot, his actions were considered a threat to Democrats running for statewide office. Former Senator Udall and Governor Hickenlooper both opposed his approach, as did former Interior Secretary Salazar and former Denver Mayor Webb.

Interestingly, it did not particularly help him win local political support in the 2014 election for he managed to lose Larimer and Jefferson counties in his re-election against an underfunded Republican opponent. He also lost his bid to move up the leadership ladder in D.C. All-in-all, a weak showing for an expensive adventure.

Monday, February 1, 2016

The Year of the Outsider – Denver Post, January 31, 2016

To open the 2016 presidential caucuses and primaries, the Denver Post published “The Year of the Outsider” by the Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research director and author of The Buzz, Floyd Ciruli.

The article places the driving force of the 2016 as anger with the establishment and compares it with political upheaval in Europe and previous U.S. elections. The seismic factors that are affecting democracies are economic turmoil from the financial crisis of 2008; generational shifts; racism; ethnic and religious conflicts; massive migrations across national boundaries and national security anxiety.

The final question asked is will the year of the outsider bring resolution to some of the tensions and produce some sought after solutions or is this just the beginning of a crisis of democracy?

Friday, January 29, 2016

Legalization of Marijuana on Ballot in Presidential Year

Two presidential candidates have endorsed lifting the federal prohibition on marijuana and several states are considering following Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and D.C. in legalization.

The states, including California, Nevada and Arizona in the west, are likely to have legalization ballot proposals this fall. Research shows that legalization tends to follow and be enhanced by decriminalization of small amounts, legal medical marijuana and the tax revenue that sales can generate.

A host of other states may vote on legalization of sales, either by statute or initiative. All have legalized medical marijuana.

There isn’t much evidence having marijuana on the ballot helps supportive politicians or hurts marijuana opponents, but the likely big 2016 turnout of younger voters should help the passage. Gallup polls strongly point out it is younger voters that are driving legalization, which in their October 2015 poll showed that, while a slight majority (58%) of Americans now supports legalization, a super majority of 71 percent of people under 35 years old were in favor.

Support has increased in all age groups during the last fifteen years, but today, younger Americans and Democrats are much more supportive of legalization than older citizens and Republican identifiers.

Los Angeles Times: How evolving public attitudes on marijuana could affect the 2016 presidential race
USA Today: The next 11 states to legalize marijuana

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Counting Begins

Donald Trump
The Iowa caucus on February 1 is providing suspense for both parties. As of January 27, less than one week from the caucus, RealClearPolitics has Donald Trump six points over Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton even with Bernie Sanders.

The Republican frontrunners are on their way to collecting 1,236 delegates and Democrats 2,382 as both parties start their long marches into July conventions. Eight days after Iowa, the New Hampshire primary, which often is highly affected by the results in Iowa, takes place.

Hillary Clinton
After those two events, there will be a rush to the South Carolina primary and the Nevada caucus – the only other events in February.

Unless Clinton loses control of the nomination due to early losses, the Democratic contest should end in March, which has the bulk of delegate events. Also, she has an early advantage among Democratic committed super delegates.

The Democratic Convention will be held in Philadelphia on July 25-28. Republicans meet in Cleveland on July 18-21.