Friday, September 23, 2011

Hick Neutral on “Bright” Future

Although Democratic leaders strongly believe the state government needs more revenue, they are avoiding endorsing Sen. Rollie Heath’s Proposition 103 that, if approved by voters, would add $500 million annually to state coffers for five years.

Gov. Hickenlooper, in particular, is being questioned about his neutral stance. Republicans are pressuring him to take a position, seeing the initiative as a likely loser and a bigger lose-lose for Hickenlooper. If he opposes it, he loses some support with liberals already unhappy with his moderate positions. And, of course, his opposition will be highlighted by opposition. If he endorses it, he goes back on his anti-tax pledge and provides ammunition for conservative opponents. This conundrum highlights why Democratic leaders wanted Mr. Heath to drop the idea. But Rollie is on his own path in life.

Tim Hoover wrote in the Denver Post on September 18 the latest on Hickenlooper’s effort to avoid the initiative.

“Polling so far doesn’t show that. An August poll conducted by North Carolina-based Public Policy Polling shows Colorado voters rejecting the proposal 47 percent to 45 percent, with 7 percent undecided and a margin of error of 4.3 percentage points. That might seem close, but critics of the PPP polls say the company oversamples Democrats, so if anything, the vote is more lopsided against the measure.

Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli thinks the measure has little chance of success and that Hickenlooper knows it and is reluctant to lend his name to a proposal that in any case would be only a temporary fix to the state’s beleaguered budget.

‘If there was a miracle and it passed, he (Hickenlooper) would be smiling,’ Ciruli said, ‘but he just does not want to put his capital and credibility behind something when he promised not to support a tax increase but, very importantly, that he thinks is inadequate and will tie his hands in the future.’”

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