Friday, December 21, 2012

Colorado on the Move in 2013

It should be a good 2013 in Colorado.  Metro sales tax collections are up 8 percent this year, following a 7 percent increase in 2011.  The state’s top economists (both the executive and legislative branches) report state tax revenue is up more than $150 million above estimates of just three months ago due to income and housing prices recovering.  The overall state budget is at $8.1 billion, finally above the pre-recession peak of $7.7 billion in 2007.

And, contrary to some analysts who claim Colorado’s population growth has slowed, in fact, the U.S. Census reports Colorado’s growth during the recent 12 months made Colorado the 7th fastest growing in the nation, with the rest of the new oil patch in North and South Dakota, Wyoming and Texas.

Colorado workers, entrepreneurs and investors are on the move. Now, if the politicians just get us off the cliff, 2013 will be prosperous.

Happy New Year Friends!

Asian Americans in the Obama Coalition

Asian Americans gave Barack Obama overwhelming support on November 6.  Their joining the Obama coalition was newsworthy, but not a surprise.  Asian Americans voted for Obama in 2008 and have a variety of liberal-leaning opinions.

Although the percentage of the electorate didn’t increase from 2008, the Asian American community increased their support for Obama by 11 percentage points.  The 73 percent support exceeded the Latino community’s 71 percent support.

Bill Clinton only received 31 percent of the Asian American vote in 1992.  A variety of explanations are offered for the dramatic shift.
  1. Asian Americans often reside in deep blue states and pick up the political attitudes of the area.
  2. On a variety of measures, Asian Americans are liberal, supporting Obamacare and preferring more to less government.
  3. Asian Americans are not homogenous in their political orientation.  The exceptionally high level of support registered in 2012 could be an exit poll artifact even though they clearly lean Democratic.
  4. Many Asian Americans are highly educated and may assimilate the political attitudes of America’s educated elites.
  5. Democrats have offered appointments and been solicitous of the community the last two decades.
  6. Republican anti-immigrant rhetoric has alienated the community.
Asian Americans now join the 28 percent of the non-White U.S. electorate, which mostly supported Obama.  He received an 80 percent level of support on average (African American voters gave Obama 93% of their vote).  Non-White voters represented more than two-fifths of his coalition.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Both Parties Vulnerable in Cliff Negotiations

Americans believe going off the cliff will harm both the country and their personal finances. They also believe that there should be compromise to reach an agreement.

There are differences in party perspective, but, in general, a majority of partisans agree the fiscal cliff will have harmful effects and that it should be avoided through compromise.

Other polls show the Democrats have considerable advantage in the negotiations due to the public’s strong support for raising taxes on the rich (61% of Republicans support, NBC/WSJ poll, Dec. 2012) and the general support of the President’s position in the negotiations.

Republicans suffer both from some of their core members believing there is too much compromise and many others believing there’s not enough.

Democrats are not seen as willing as Republicans to reduce spending or entitlements, and most of the options are not popular.  Still, the public wants a solution and believes that compromise is the path to get it.

If there is failure to reach an agreement, which results in significant tax increases, spending cuts and possibly a recession, President Obama will be damaged as much as Congress – it will launch his second term with a major failure and frame the next two years as a bitter stalemate.

See ABC News:  Obama holds most cards in cliff talks, but with no mandate – and risks aplenty

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

2012 – A Gay Election

Gay voters and the gay agenda were big winners in the 2012 election. President Obama endorsed gay marriage in May, which provided a significant boost. Gay marriage now has majority support among Americans. (Gallup reports 53% support it.  Pew says 49% support.) In a PPP April poll, 53 percent of Coloradans said they supported gay marriage.

But, its biggest victory came on Election Day when voters in three states approved gay marriage after more than a decade of approving bans. Maine, Maryland and Washington State said yes to gay marriage and Minnesota rejected a constitutional ban.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) voters said they were voting overwhelmingly for Obama (71% vs. 22% for Romney) as opposed to the non-LGBT community, which in an October 18 Gallup poll gave Romney a one-point advantage (47% Romney vs. 46% Obama). The LGBT community provided Obama support equal to the Latino (71%) and Asian American (73%) communities.  
Gallup reports 3.4 percent of voters say they are LGBT. They are most likely to be liberal than others and slightly more Democratic than independent.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

“I’ve Got ‘Bigger Fish to Fry’”

Possibly the biggest surprise of election night was the 10-point margin of support for legalization of recreational marijuana. Substantial portions of the establishment opposed it.  But, opposition was largely passionless, providing no real money or manpower. Many opponents appeared to believe legalization was inevitable, but preferred Colorado not be first.

Late polls consistently showed the amendment ahead, but at or below the 50 percent level, often an indication of trouble on Election Day. But, similar to Obama’s final surge, marijuana won by a 10-point margin.

Supporters had an 8-to-1 fundraising advantage and substantial swathes of the Obama coalition – young voters, minorities and liberals – supported it.

But, the win was beyond the usual liberal bastions of Boulder, Denver and the state’s ski areas. The initiative received more votes than the President statewide and carried the swing Front Range counties of Arapahoe, Jefferson and Larimer. But more impressively, it won narrow victories in Republican-dominated counties Obama lost of El Paso and Weld.
Governor John Hickenlooper expressed initial resistance to implementation (“Don’t break out the Cheetos or Goldfish”), pointing out that there was still federal law against possession, even small amounts, of marijuana. But, he has since accepted the responsibility to sign the initiative and assemble a task force to consider rules and regulations. Washington State also passed and must deal with implementation.

U.S. public opinion appears to have moved toward support of legalization. A recent Washington Post poll shows it tied at 47 percent for and against, and Gallup has it 48 percent to legalize and 50 percent to leave it illegal (down from 62% leaving it illegal in 2000).

But more importantly for federal enforcement and the implementation of Colorado’s and Washington’s new laws is that a substantial percentage of Americans believe the federal government should leave the issue to the states and not enforce federal anti-marijuana laws (Gallup – 64% no enforcement; Washington Post – 59% leave to states).

Reflecting the voters’ decision in Colorado and Washington and the shifting public opinion, President Obama has declared enforcement of small amounts will not be a priority of the administration. “I’ve got ‘bigger fish to fry.’”

Monday, December 17, 2012

Hispanic Voters Exercise Power

The most important and long lasting influence of the 2012 election will be the arrival of the Hispanic vote.

The vote as a percentage of the U.S. electorate has increased from 8 percent in 2004 to 10 percent today.  Hispanics now make up 14 percent of Colorado’s electorate.  But equally important has been the massive shift from President Bush winning 44 percent of the U.S. Hispanic vote in 2004 to Barack Obama receiving 75 percent in Colorado in 2012 and 71 percent nationally.

Fourteen percent of the Colorado electorate in 2012 was approximately 365,000 Hispanic voters, with Obama winning 273,000 of them, or twice his statewide margin of victory of 130,000 votes.
The significant Hispanic participation also affected down ballot races in Colorado where a record number of 12 Hispanics joined the legislature.  
They are also major influences in a host of states that have more than a million Hispanic residents:  Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and Texas.  Florida is already a battleground state, with Obama winning it this year by less than a percentage point.  It could be joined by Arizona and Texas longtime Republican strongholds.
Education is Hispanics most important issue, then work and health care.  Immigration only rates fourth, but unless a politician gets it right, it’s impossible for them to get a hearing from most Hispanic voters.  Obama effectively used education (Dream Act) and immigration initiatives to cement support.  Obama’s deportation initiative was very popular.  Seventy-one percent said it was “about right” vs. “too little” or “too much.”

Friday, December 14, 2012

Pelosi Stays, But Unlikely to be Speaker Again

Nancy Pelosi has decided to remain the U.S. House minority leader, but she is very unlikely to ever be the Speaker again.  Her last shot to regain the Speaker position was this year, but Democrats came up short, gaining only 8 seats, but needing 25 to regain the House.

Midterm elections, especially a president’s last midterm, are historically difficult for the president’s party.  Only Bill Clinton in the last century gained House seats (4) in his last midterm election in 1998 as Newt Gingrich led an impeachment effort.  Gingrich then resigned.

Pelosi’s reason for staying this year was not to win back the House, which was her rationale for staying around after the Democratic defeat in 2010.  Rather, her caucus felt she best represented their liberal views and diversity and would be a protection against backsliding by moderate Democrats, like her colleague and likely replacement Rep. Steny Hoyer.

One-Party Government Controlled by Democrats for Ten Years?

Colorado Democrats swept control of the Colorado House.  They had lost it by just one seat in the 2010 national Republican wave, but took it back with a 5-seat majority this year.  Democratic five-seat control of the State Senate was unchanged.

The last 8 years of Democratic legislative dominance, after nearly 40 years of Republican control of both houses, has been extraordinary. It reflects Democrats’ superior funding, candidate recruitment and campaign operations since 2004.

1.  Due to legislative redistricting after the 2010 census, Democrats not only won a majority, but they may have locked it in for the next decade.

2.  Republicans have yet to recognize one of their most fundamental problems – Democrats out-fundraise and outspend them in legislative races. Democratic candidate spending through regular PACs, 527s and now Super PACS are simply overwhelming Republicans.
3.  The controversy at the end of the 2012 legislative session on civil unions significantly contributed to the Republican November losses. It inspired greater Democratic effort on candidate recruitment and fundraising.
4.  President Obama’s campaign overlaid the local Democrats’ turnout effort, especially among minority voters. Democrats recruited minority and gay candidates in record numbers.
5.  One-party government has become the norm in the states. Colorado joins 40 states with one-party governments, which represents 90 percent of the country’s voters. The vertical partisanship reflects the strength of partisan voting today and a polarized electorate.
States may take on issues that have gridlocked Washington as governors look to establish themselves as problem solvers using their party dominance.   
But, the new control of both houses of the legislature may be a problem for Governor Hickenlooper, who has tried to maintain a moderate and bipartisan image with a focus on business and economic development.  With split partisan control, bills passed only with concurrence of both parties.
Now, bills that the Governor may not prefer related to business and environmental regulations and controversial social legislation could pass.  He and Democratic legislative leadership will have to be much more active in prioritizing legislation and holding the line on issues that he opposes, or at least believes are not in his or the party’s interest, in the 2014 election.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Hickenlooper for President

Early speculation by the Washington Post on presidential candidates for 2016 has John Hickenlooper as one of two westerners on the early list.  The other is Brian Schweitzer, a fellow governor from Montana (term-limited, out of office in January).

Hickenlooper and Schweitzer are the only candidates mentioned outside the Boston-New York-DC corridor.  Hickenlooper is the only candidate from a swing presidential state.  But, could we see one more run by Jerry Brown?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Denver Press Club Hosts Post Election Lunch Discussion

The Denver Press Club will host a NEWSMAKERS lunch on Dec. 17 to discuss the results of the 2012 presidential election and Colorado’s role as a battleground state.

The impact of the election on current policy and politics, including the fiscal cliff, marijuana, gay rights and the Middle East conflict, are also topics.

A series of recent posts on The Buzz review the election:
Registration by noon Friday, Dec. 14, at, under Dec. 17.  The full link is

The cost is $14 for members of the Denver Press Club, Denver Woman’s Press Club, Colorado Society of Professional Journalists, Colorado Press Women, Colorado Association of Black Journalists and PRSA Colorado chapter.  All others: $17.

Colorado Polling Tracks National Trend

Colorado acted like the quintessential toss-up state.  State and national polls were closely synchronized, with Romney consistently behind Obama until Oct. 9 when he held the lead for 20 days following the surge after the first debate.

1.  Final Colorado polls showed the President winning by 2 points. His margin was 5 points, a little over half the advantage of four years ago (9 points).

2.  After the Oct. 3rd debate, the next round of polls put Romney in the lead for the first time all year. Romney was judged having won the first debate by 72 percent of the public. It charged up the Republican base and stopped pundits and the more attentive public from giving up on his race.

In a total of 56 Colorado polls reported on the Real Clear Politics website, Romney only won 12, and 8 of those were after October 3. Romney’s apparent momentum faded on Oct. 29, reflecting attrition from average debate performances and the relentless activity of the Obama campaign.

3.  The President surged the last week, no doubt reflecting the positive media coverage of his performance during Hurricane Sandy and late deciders moving to him. Final weekend polls gave to him 3- to 6-point margins.

4.  A key question will be if the Democrats now believe the state is secure because they are winning the biggest races and are doing it with groups growing in the electorate.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Obama Wins Colorado, But Closer Than 2008

Barack Obama won Colorado by 5 percentage points, down from his 9-point margin in 2008.  His margin of 130,000 votes was 85,000 below his big win of 215,000 over Senator John McCain in 2008.  The smaller margin was still larger than Senator Bennet’s win in 2010, who hung on with 30,000 votes in the national Republican landslide.

1.  Obama targeted the right states.  Colorado was fifth closest among the top nine states he targeted. Joining Colorado in the top five were Florida, Ohio, North Carolina and Virginia. Obama won 8 out of 9, only losing North Carolina.  Mitt Romney mostly adopted Obama’s battleground states, but added Pennsylvania.  He lost it.  It ended up in sixth place. Rounding out the top ten after Pennsylvania were Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and Wisconsin.

2.  Colorado turnout was slightly above four years ago, from 2.4 million to 2.6 million.  Eighty percent of voters voted early; hence, only about 500,000 voted on Election Day.

3.  As a battleground state, Colorado saw record-level visits from the candidates, started by Obama early in the 2012 election season. Heavy advertising began in May, as soon as Romney was designated the presumptive nominee.  It was mostly from Obama and negative related to Romney’s Bain Capital record.  Between the Republican primaries and the early Democratic advertising, Romney never recovered his reputation and lost every test of favorability or empathy with voters.

4.  Obama assumed the state would be close and was never confident it had been put away.  He visited the last week. Advertising continued through Election Day even though 80 percent of the vote was in.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Nine to Twelve Battleground States – Election Day Projections: Obama 303 Electoral Votes

The map of Election Day displays the final state-level polls on Election Day in twelve toss-up states – nine original and three additions (Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota) selected by Romney as he realized his long odds in Ohio and other states essential to get to 270 electoral votes.

1.  The final Election Day projection was for an Obama victory, with 303 electoral votes.  He won 332.
  • The final polls showed Obama winning 10 of the 12 toss-up states.  He won 11.
  • North Carolina went for Romney by 3 points and the final polling average gave him a 3-point lead.  Florida’s polls, which had Romney mistakenly up by 2 points, went to Obama in a long count by 1 point.
  • Colorado’s final polls had Obama up 2 points and he won by 5 points.
2.  Romney’s campaign polling operation and a few Republican and Republican-leaning pundits insisted that the state-level polls were wrong.  Their in-house polls allegedly showed Romney leading in sufficient states to win the Electoral College, including Virginia, Ohio, Iowa and Colorado.
  • The Republican argument was that the public polls were using a 2008 turnout model, which reflect the “hope and change” sweep of Obama, but that this turnout would be more like 2004 when G.W. Bush retained office.  Namely, lower levels of Hispanic and youth vote showing up. They also argued they had final momentum and were winning the independent vote.
3.  Virginia was the first major battleground state to report results on Election Night, and it went for Obama by 3 points.  It has swung back and forth in the polls the last few weeks, but had Obama up 1 point on Election Day.
  • At that point, the long Election Night assumption was over because without Virginia, a state Romney’s people said he would win, he had no path to 270 electoral votes.
  • With the fall of Virginia, Romney’s in-house pollsters and pundit advocates were shown to be wrong.  The Obama core turnout was showing up, and there was no secret Romney surge.
  • Ohio was the final battleground between the public pollsters and the Republican pundits.  Karl Rove was so committed to the alternative view, he disrupted the Fox election night newscast arguing that the Ohio projection awarding the state to Obama was premature and likely wrong.  Obama won it by 3 points.
4.  Obama’s campaign developed its battleground strategy in 2011 and the 9 states he selected, plus Pennsylvania, were indeed the ten closest states.
  • The bulk of the President’s visits and advertising were aimed at the 9 targeted states.  The approach worked.  Even as Romney gained a lead in national polls, Obama never lost his lead in state-level polls and acquired a super majority of electoral votes.
5.  Democrats, since President Clinton’s 1992 and 1996 victories, have built a base of reliable Democratic voting states with a combined electoral vote of about 220, whereas the Republican base has contracted to about 190.  Hence, G.W. Bush’s electoral vote victory was a very modest 271 in 2000 and 286 in 2004.  Obama won 365 in 2008 and 336 this year.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Final National Polls: And the Winner is Obama

The final national polling figure shows the head-to-head polling trend during the campaign.

1.  Obama was ahead by about 2 points consistently all year.
  • Romney damaged by primary.
2.  Obama remained ahead in May and June after bad job reports.
  • Economy was not going to be the sole issue that could have put Romney in the lead.
  • Romney came under massive advertising attacks Bain Capital. His favorability was low and stayed there.  He did not respond concerning his reputation. He believed the race was a referendum, not a choice.  His response was to attack Obama on the economy.
3.  Obama was ahead by 3 points on Oct. 1.
  • Democrats had much better convention in terms of bounce.
  • Romney had bad September, even as his advertising ramped up.
  • Romney’s “47%” and Benghazi quick response hurt.
  • Question was asked: What can change the dynamics of the race to make it competitive?  Only the Oct. 3rd debate appeared possible.  But debates are seldom game changers.
4.  Oct. 3rd debate changed the big picture and Romney moved ahead slightly for 21 days from Oct. 9 to Oct. 30 in the overall national polls.
  • 72% rated Romney the first debate winner, but it depended on Obama performing so poorly.
  • Polls tightened, but Romney never moved ahead in state battleground polls; hence, he continued to lose the electoral vote.
5.  Obama returned to lead last 7 days.  Romney saw momentum in crowds, but Obama won final debates, economy showed life and Sandy stopped Romney’s campaign.  It added points to Obama over the final weekend as he got to be presidential and look bipartisan.

6.  Obama was ahead in national polls on Election Day.  He won by 3 points as late votes counted in California added to his margin.
  • Final media polling average put Obama ahead by 2 points on Election Day.
  • Two final tracking polls had Romney ahead, reinforcing the final narrative that the race would be close and Election Night long; i.e., might need Colorado to decide it.
7.  So, preparation for election night analyses was that Obama appeared slightly ahead in the popular vote, but he continued to dominate the electoral vote in 7 of 9 battleground states.  Romney had shown final momentum, especially pre-Sandy, but it appeared to fade.  Romney’s people appeared strangely confident given the public polling data.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

NEWSMAKERS Lunch at Denver Press Club

On Dec. 17, I will present the 2012 election results at the Denver Press Club’s NEWSMAKERS luncheon.

As more data and information about the election has emerged, some of the key questions are being illuminated.

Status Quo Election, But Positions Shift Left
Democrats Win Solid, But Not Uniform Victory
  • Was this race going to be close?
  • Was Election Night going to be long?
  • Did Romney have a chance?  Was he ever ahead?
  • How could Republicans go from 4 up to 2 down in Senate races?
  • Are Republican in-house pollsters, Karl Rove and Dick Morris on some other planet?
  • Does the Republican Party have a future or is California its fate?
The impact of the election on current Colorado and national topics will also be highlighted.  The fiscal cliff, Benghazi, gay rights, marijuana and fracking are all affected by the November results and how those results are interpreted.
Registration by noon Friday, Dec. 14, at, under Dec. 17. The full link is
The cost is $14 for members of the Denver Press Club, Denver Woman’s Press Club, Colorado Society of Professional Journalists, Colorado Press Women, Colorado Association of Black Journalists and PRSA Colorado chapter.  All others: $17.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Early Voting 80%; Only 532,000 Show up on Election Day

Eighty percent, or more than 2 million, Coloradans voted early, mostly by mail.  Only 532,000 showed up on Election Day.
Among active voters, there was 97 percent turnout and more than two-thirds (71%) of total registered voters voted.
Republican and Democratic registration was nearly tied, with only 42,000 more Republicans showing up (the party list voters will not be final until Dec. 6).  Unaffiliated voters made up 31 percent of the total.
In light of the Democratic presidential win, some Republicans and many unaffiliated voters supported President Obama.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

PAPOR Hosts Western States and 2012 Election Panel

For nearly a decade, the pollsters and political scientists from western states have gathered in San Francisco to discuss the most recent election and provide some projections concerning the next cycle.

The Sir Francis Drake Hotel will again be the site of the PAPOR Conference (Pacific Chapter of the American Association of Public Opinion Research) on December 6 and 7.  And, PAPOR again hosts the Western States panel with the dean of California pollsters from Field Research, Mark DiCamillo; Anthony Salvanto, who directs the CBS News Poll; and Paul Lavrakas, the current president of AAPOR. Also joining the panel is Eric McGhee from the Public Policy Institute of California, the state’s leading public policy think tank.  I will discuss Colorado’s battleground status in the 2012 election.

The Western States roundtable will present the western states’ political contests in the 2012 election and the region’s impact on national politics.  A panel on the West has the benefit of a presidential election dominated by a targeted battleground strategy, a host of western toss-up states and a series of close senate races, many with a surfeit of polling data.

Although California, our largest western state, was not a presidential battleground, its politics was significantly affected by reforms in its electoral rules and several ballot issues, which address its fundamental state fiscal policy and politics.

Panel Topics

Mark DiCamillo, Field Research.  California’s Ballot Issues – State of Citizen Governance in the 2012 Election

Eric McGhee, Public Policy Institute of California.  California’s Latest Electoral Reforms – More Competition?

Floyd Ciruli, Ciruli Associates, Colorado.  Colorado – A Preeminent Toss-Up State

Anthony Salvanto, CBS News.  Comparing and Contrasting the 2012 Battleground States

Paul Lavrakas, Independent Consultant, AAPOR President.  Hits and Misses in 2012 Election Polling

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Do the 2012 Election Results Make “To Be Decided” Possible?

Colorado Cooperation Conference Debate the Issue

Governor John Hickenlooper has received the “To Be Decided” report and now must do something about it.  The Denver Post has already opined that action is required, not more discussion.  But, Hickenlooper recognizes the challenge statewide tax increases and constitutional changes desired by the business and political establishment face.

The Colorado Cooperation Conference will take up the topic of tax and constitutional changes at their winter meeting in Pueblo, November 30 and December 1.

Colorado Cooperation Conference
Partial List of Agenda Topics

Friday, November 30 - 2:00-5:00 p.m. 
  • “Observations” - Floyd Ciruli will provide his always-popular analysis of the political environment in the state and nation. 
  • “Colorado’s Constitution: What’s Good, What’s Not So Good, What Needs to be Changed?” - Jim Griesemer, Dean Emeritus of the Daniels College of Business, and Director of the Strategic Issues Program at the University of Denver, directed a recent in-depth analysis of our constitution he will share with our group, including a possible model for changes to the constitution which is generating interest in Colorado. 
  • “TBD Colorado: Final Report and Recommendations” - One year ago, our group heard a report of this new initiative associated with the Governor's Office to engage opinion leaders from around the state. That project has now concluded, with the release of the final report in recent weeks. The Governor's Chief of Staff, Roxane White, will join us to review the report's findings and have a discussion with our group about follow-on efforts to TBD Colorado. 
Saturday, December 1 - 7:30 -11:30 a.m. 
  • Panel Discussion: How to Organize a Broad Coalition Effort - We are fortunate to have a panel of noted Colorado personalities who will lead a dialogue with our group about how to bring together civic and business leaders from around the state to organize a broad-based coalition effort to address the issues we discussed on Friday, including others. The panelists - all of whom have first-hand experience in building successful coalitions - include Joe Blake, Chancellor Emeritus of the Colorado State University System; Former U. S. Senator Hank Brown; and Daniel Ritchie, Chancellor Emeritus of the University of Denver and Chairman & CEO of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. 
Governors Roy Romer and Bill Ritter were both defeated attempting revenue increases.  They join the political and business communities’ recent attempts to change the constitution related to the TABOR and Gallagher amendments.
However, Referendum C in 2005 and Amendment 23 in 2000 offer hope that, under the right circumstances, statewide majorities can be assembled.
And, the 2012 apparent rising liberal trend that accompanied Barack Obama’s re-election appears to have helped measures from recreational marijuana and gay marriage to California’s Proposition 30 tax measure and Colorado’s myriad of local tax and bond proposals.
Should some elements of TBD be on a 2013 or 2014 ballot?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

U.S. Still has Israel’s Back

Americans still support Israel’s right of self-defense.  By 61 percent, Americans lean more toward Israeli interest than the Palestinians (19%).  But, one-half say (51%) they support an independent Palestinian state in Gaza and the West Bank.
Partisanship affects views on Israel, with Democrats most likely to advocate maintaining current support level (55%), but Republicans suggesting the U.S. is not supportive enough (46%).  Very few Democrats advocate higher levels of support (9%). 
The public is concerned about the future of American interests in the aftermath of the Arab Spring.  Americans generally want to reduce or not add to Mideast engagement.
  • They favor withdrawal from Afghanistan
  •  Have little interest in jumping into the Syrian conflict
  •  They want a firm stand on Iran, but would like to avoid war
Although there is some partisan divide, generally after two wars in the last decade, Americans are ready to go slow on new engagements.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Public Not Confident Obama Will Get the Economy Moving

Americans still rate the economy and unemployment the number one problem, with the federal budget deficit the next biggest concern. But, when asked what they thought the Obama administration will accomplish, only half believed “creating a strong economic recovery” would get done.

People believed that the administration’s most likely accomplishment will be in foreign policy related to Afghanistan and terrorism or domestic issues that benefit minorities and education.

*See full list at Gallup.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Consumer Confidence Holds While Market Swoons

Consumer confidence, possibly helped by the election outcome, appears to be rising in spite of the negative news about the fiscal cliff.  It is as high as it has been since the 2008 recession.  Partially, it’s a reflection of about three-quarters of the public not understanding the effects of what could happen January 1, 2013 (Pew 2012).

The market, on the other hand, is off 1000 points since early October.  After hitting 13610 in October, it closed Friday at 12588, only up three percent for the year.

Conditions affecting the markets:
  • Jan. 1, 2013 tax hikes and spending cuts of $600 billion, possible recession in 2013
  • Doubling the market fueled by $4.7 trillion in federal borrowing and Fed intervention to lower interest rates and add money to market – not sustainable
  • Long-term capital gains taxes could rise from 15% to 23.8%; dividends up from 15% to 43.4% (depending on income level)

Obama and Democrats in Honeymoon With Voters

President Obama and the Democratic Party gained some favorability with Americans after their victory.  Obama has added three points, up to 58 percent favorability after the election from his pre-election rating.

The Democratic Party added six points, to 51 percent favorable.  The Republicans added a point, but are in the low 40s (43%).

Obama and Democrats now have a bit of political capital.  How will they use it?

The Architect of Disaster

When G.W. Bush labeled Karl Rove “the architect,” it was for his 2004 re-election and Rove’s career-long dedication to Bush’s advancement.  But Bush’s narrow re-election victory (2 percent popular vote and 281 electoral votes) must be paired with Rove’s frequent election disasters.

In 2006, he argued that the mid-term election would be a choice between Republican and Democratic candidates and not a referendum on the Bush final term.  Wrong.  Democrats swept into power on the start of the anti-Bush wave that crested in the Barack Obama win in 2008.

This year Rove reversed his position and argued the race would be a referendum on Obama.  Instead, it was mostly a choice between Mitt Romney and Obama, which Obama won.  A host of Republican Senate candidates also lost in campaigns, where many were seen as an unacceptable choice.

Rove’s crack up on Fox News election night was an indication of the parallel universe of in-house polls and false assumptions he was existing in.  He was also surprised by the 2006 disaster.

Will Republican big contributors give him $300 million in 2014 or 2016?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Washington Failing Early Test on Fiscal Cliff

Just as the public was attempting to put the nastiness of the last campaign behind them, the so-called “negotiations” over the fiscal cliff have reminded everyone what they don’t like about Washington. The President and leaders in both parties are showing themselves much better at declaring what they won’t do than what they will do.

The lack of responsible management of the country’s finances and the looming economic consequences of that inaction may finally bring down a torrent of public condemnations that can’t be ignored.

Since the election, the public has told pollsters:
  • Fixing the economy is the top goal for Obama’s second term, with ensuring long-term stability of Social Security in second place.  (Gallup)
  • All three partisan groups – Democrats, Republicans and independents – believe it is extremely or very important to avoid the fiscal cliff (national: 82% extremely or very important).  Seventy-one percent say they are watching the news of the fiscal cliff closely.  (Gallup)
  • A majority of both parties believe both sides should compromise equally – 68%.  (Gallup)
  • Americans have shifted slightly during the last year toward being willing to “increase taxes equally with spending cuts” versus earlier during the debt ceiling crisis in August 2011 when more people felt spending cuts should be “only” or “mostly” used.  This, of course, benefits Democrats in the negotiations (45% equal cuts and taxes, up from 32% in August 2011; 40% only mostly cuts, down from 50%).  (Gallup)
  • Both parties are at risk if their intransigence leads to more political gridlock and a lack of action to improve the economy. But the public believe Republicans will be most responsible if no agreement is reached, although, as expected, Republicans mostly blame the President (68%) (if no agreement, 53% blame Republicans in Congress and 29% will blame Obama).  (Pew)
In the current post-election partisan environment, Republicans appear to be the most likely to be blamed, but the economic consequences will take place on Obama’s watch.  And, both sides said during the campaign, they would act responsibly and compromise to reach a solution.  Voter retribution in the mid-term election is possible and only about 700 days away.

See polls:
Gallup:  Economy, Entitlements, Iran are Americans’ Top Priorities
Gallup:  Americans Urge Congress, the President to Avoid Fiscal Cliff
Gallup:  More in U.S. Now Want Balanced Approach to Cutting Deficit
Pew:  Broad Concern About “Fiscal Cliff” Consequences

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Is it too Soon to Talk About the 2014 Election?

Colorado Democrats must defend a senate seat and the governorship in what could be a difficult year.  The final mid-term election of a president often produces a strong trend against the incumbent’s party – 2006 cost Bush both House and Senate majorities.

Mark Udall won his senate seat in the Barack Obama sweep of Colorado in 2008, getting a slightly larger vote (Udall 53% to 42%; Obama 54% to 46%).

Like most first-term senators, the public does not have much of an opinion of Udall.  A recent poll puts his approval at only 36 percent, with nearly one-third (31%) not able to rate him.

John Hickenlooper won a three-way race with a narrow majority of the vote (51%).  But, he has excelled in accruing and maintaining public esteem, and now has 54 percent approval.  He has had 60 percent earlier in the year when the environment was less partisan.

Hickenlooper’s problem is a liberal legislature, especially a large House majority, that unless disciplined may cause him grief.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Denver Metro Economy Remains Strong

The monthly report from the State Department of Revenue on sales tax revenue in the seven-county metro area continues to show very strong performance.  The region’s sales tax revenue is up 8.5 percent over last year as of the end of September.  And, the month of September was up 11.6 percent over September a year ago – hence, showing no end of year slowdown.  Some political implications:
  • The recent strong performance of President Obama in the metro area partially reflects Colorado’s recovery.  It reinforced his position that the economy was improving, justifying four more years.
  • The willingness of local voters to support a host of school and municipal revenue increases through bonds and TABOR overrides was aided by general sense of economic recovery.
  • The failure of a bond initiative in Aurora suggest that voters are still picking and choosing where to say yes.  A general rush to the ballot will likely produce more stringent approval criteria by voters.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Democrats Establish a Base in the Mountain West

Barack Obama won the three mountain states of Colorado (4.7%), Nevada (6.6%) and New Mexico (9.9%).

Colorado and Nevada received toss-up status with massive advertising and candidate visits.  As the table shows, Colorado continues to be the state in the middle.  It was fifth closest in the country and most competitive in the west.

As expected, Romney won all the rest of Mountain West, including Montana (13.5%), which re-elected its Democratic Senator, Jon Tester (3.9%).  Not surprising, Utah was Romney’s best state, winning it by a 48 percent margin.  Although there was a tightening in the polls in Arizona the last month, Mitt Romney won it decisively (10.6%).  However, the senate race was much closer, with the Republican Jeff Flake barely winning (4.2%).

Obama cornered the Pacific States by margins of 12 percent in Oregon to 21 percent in California.

See The Buzz:  Western senate races could shift the Senate to Republicans

Friday, November 9, 2012

Obama Wins Nine Battleground States

Rankings of the ten closest states in the election between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney place Colorado in fifth.  In fact, the Obama campaign’s targeting was correct.  The top ten include the nine, which received the most attention.  However, Romney was correct to add Pennsylvania to the list and his final efforts.  It came in sixth.

Battleground States
Final Results
Nov. 6, 2012
  1. Florida:  0.6% (Obama 49.9%; Romney 49.3%)
  2. Ohio:  1.9% (Obama 50.1%; Romney 48.2%)
  3. North Carolina:  2.2% (Obama 50.6%; Romney 48.4%)
  4. Virginia (99% reporting):  3.0% (Obama 50.8%; Romney 47.8%)
  5. Colorado:  4.7% (Obama 51.2%; Romney 46.5%)
  6. Pennsylvania (99% reporting):  5.2% (Obama 52.0%; Romney 46.8%)
  7. Iowa:  5.6% (Obama 52.1%; Romney 46.5%)
  8. New Hampshire (99% reporting):  5.8% (Obama 52.2%; Romney 46.4%)
  9. Nevada (99% reporting):  6.6% (Obama 52.3%; Romney 45.7%)
  10. Wisconsin:  6.7% (Obama 52.8%; Romney 46.1%)
People are impressed with how quickly the election was decided on Tuesday and how decisively.  After a month of hearing about a close race; i.e., margin of error, and the likelihood of a long election night, Ohio was called before 10:00 pm MST, which is always important for the newscast.

The Ohio call was preceded by Romney’s apparent loss of Virginia, an essential state for his alternative path to 270 electoral votes.  The quick call of the race was a reflection of the alternatives to 270 votes being long identified and the late polling having turned against Romney.

As soon as it was clear there wasn’t some extraordinary and undetected wave of support for Romney, analysts and anchors gained confidence the race was over.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Republicans Remain Ahead by 35,000 Colorado Votes: 1,943,000 Mailed Back by Election Day

Most of the mail-in vote arrived at county clerk offices on Tuesday, Nov. 6.  The expected total vote is about 2,700,000, and mail-in voting should be 70 percent of the total (now 72% of active voters have early voted).  Democrats reduced their deficit to less than two percent of the total vote.
Democrats won the early vote by two percent in 2008, they lost it by six percent in 2010 and are losing by two percent now.  Obama won the state by nine points in 2008, and if early vote is an indicator, he is down four points.  Does he win the state by five points or do partisan returns in the early vote offer little evidence of significance?
The county-level returns indicate a close election.  Democrats have closed the gap in Arapahoe, but Jefferson and Larimer still show Republican leads.

Battleground Counties

As the results come in, watch the three swing counties of Arapahoe, Jefferson and Larimer.  President Bush carried all three in 2004, but so did President Obama in 2008.
They have drifted Democratic in recent years, from a long-time Republican voting history to be the state’s premiere ticket-splitting counties.  They each have very significant blocs of independent-leaning registered unaffiliated voters.  Colorado and its swing counties are at the national averages for presidential races.

Will Colorado Democrats Win the State House?

The intense and deadlocked presidential race has absorbed most of this year’s political attention, but control of Colorado’s State House could shift to the Democrats in this election, complicating Governor Hickenlooper’s next two years, moving the image and agenda of the legislature to the left.

Several factors make the current legislative battle unique in Colorado’s recent history.  The extraordinary presidential race, especially the get-out-the-vote effort, will no doubt affect down ballot voting in the handful of competitive legislative races, the end of session fight over civil unions was the surprise issue that has influenced the races more than any other, and the mass of money in targeted races is beyond even the expensive races of recent years.

Similar to the presidential race, both parties target districts.  The consensus is that four Senate races and twelve House seats began the summer competitive.  Republicans would have to sweep the four competitive Senate seats to win control.  State legislative lobbyists and observers believe the Republicans could pick up a senate seat or two.  The most unusual race in sheer level of expenditures is in the San Luis Valley where the Democrat Crestina Martinez has received more than $700,000 to grab what has been a Republican seat.  (The chart shows Super PAC expenditures and the percent given to Democrats.)

Democrats have the advantage in having to win just one House seat out of several they have targeted, but many races are close and there are vulnerable Democratic incumbents.

Jefferson County wins the award for the most competitive county.  It has two competitive Senate seats, three House seats, a competitive congressional race, and is considered an essential win for the presidential candidates.

Other factor affecting the races this year are redistricting, which shifted the partisanship of several districts causing retirements and endangering incumbents, and third party candidates, both on left and right, who may take sufficient votes to affect close races.  Also, minority candidates, both African-American and Hispanic, are running in either safe districts or have a good chance of winning – significantly increasing minority representation.  Gay representation and clout will likely increase, especially if Democrats take control of the House.  The first House bill is likely to be legalizing civil unions.

Prediction:  Democrats control both houses.

See Denver Post:
Colorado’s liberal super PACs dominate spending in state races
Democratic activist Tim Gill heavily funded federal super PAC

So Goes Arapahoe County

Colorado’s largest eleven counties contain 84 percent of the state’s voters, but Arapahoe County will get the most attention.  It voted for G.W. Bush in 2000 and 2004, but Barack Obama carried it by 9 points, his state average, in 2008.  It has three targeted legislative races, a down to wire congressional race and is likely the linchpin of the state presidential race.

On election night, Democrats must carry large majorities in their three largest counties of Boulder, Denver and Pueblo.  Similarly, Republicans need big votes in Douglas, El Paso, Mesa and Weld counties.  The two swing counties of Arapahoe and Jefferson will likely decide the winner, which is why the candidates most frequently visited them, especially the last couple of weeks.

Also, Larimer County tends to lean Republican as Adams does Democrat.  By how much in a close election will help determine the winner.

Small counties that lean Republican are Broomfield (33,000 registered voters), Fremont (21,000), Garfield (25,000) and Montrose (21,000). Democratic counties are Eagle (24,000) and La Plata (30,000). These six counties, the next largest after the top eleven, have 154,000 registered voters, which gives them a political clout slightly greater than Weld County (123,000).

Monday, November 5, 2012

Millions Spent on Colorado TV

The two presidential campaigns have been spending one million dollars a day in the Denver television market for advertisements.

More than $35 million has been spent since the end of September and $75 million spent before that, beginning with the commencement of major time purchases in April.

A part of the time purchases, beginning in September and especially October, has been congressional races, much of which is purchased by independent groups, including party committees.  Democrats have been most supportive of Joe Miklosi in the 7th CD and Ed Perlmutter in the 6th CD.  Republican outside money has been spent defending Scott Tipton in the 3rd CD.

See 9 News:  A million dollars in campaign ads haunt Denver

Friday, November 2, 2012

Republicans Ahead by 36,000 Colorado Votes: 1,305,000 Mailed Back Thursday

Two-thirds of the expected mail-in vote arrived at county clerk offices on Thursday, Nov. 1.  The expected total vote is about 2,700,000, and mail-in voting should be 70 percent of the total.

The county-level returns indicate a close election.  Toss-up counties are producing narrow wins for Republicans.

Three counties are providing the parties the highest percentage of partisan advantage in returns.  Boulder Democrats’ advantage over Republicans is now 28 percent of the county total and Denver Democrats are 38 percent.  Douglas is the top achiever for Republicans with 31 percent Republican returns mailed than Democrats.

Major Upset? Final Polls vs. Results

If Mitt Romney wins the presidential election, it will be a major upset. Polling and the Washington-based political establishment believe President Obama will win a sufficient, if modest, majority in the Electoral College and eke out a bare win in the popular vote.

As the final battleground map shows, out of the nine identified battleground states, Romney only wins three (red).

And, polling shows his effort to expand into Pennsylvania, Michigan and Minnesota does not, as of Friday before the election, show success in moving the numbers (light blue).

If Obama carries all the states he’s ahead in as of November 2, he will win with 290 electoral votes to Romney’s 248 votes.

Latest Colorado Polls Lean Toward Obama

The latest polls, both automated and multi-day live interviewers, appear to show Barack Obama has recovered from the month-long post-debate slump and is now one to three points ahead of Mitt Romney in Colorado.

The latest polls are:

Real Clear Politics places the average at 0.9 percent for Obama. 
As of Friday, Nov. 2, more than 1.5 million, or 70 percent, of the mail-back absentee vote has been returned.  The final push is on.  More than 750,000 voters can be expected on Election Day.

Romney and Obama Tied Across Country; Colorado’s Nine Electorate Votes in Play

As the campaign enters the last weekend, Mitt Romney surrendered his slight national lead to a tie with President Obama (0.3 for Obama in Real Clear Politics average), according to tracking and stand-alone polls.  The President continues to have leads in sufficient states to pass 270 electoral votes, but not by much.

The current Real Clear Politics battleground state average has Obama winning Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.  Romney wins Florida, North Carolina and Virginia.  Real Clear Politics awards Obama 290 electoral votes as of November 2.

At the moment, the polling average has Obama ahead by 0.9 of a point in Colorado.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NBC News Poll Shows Colorado Race Tied; Gender Gap and Independent Voters

Most recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll has Colorado tied between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.  There is a 15-point difference on gender, but Romney wins the gap by one point.  He has 8 percentage points more support among men to Obama’s 7 point-advantage among women.

Romney is winning independent voters by 5 points and White voters by 9.  Obama’s two large pockets of support are voters under 30 years old, he win by 22 points, and he sweeps Hispanic voters by 31 percentage points.

Romney Wins Popular Vote; Obama Wins Electoral College

Although the national popular vote is now tied, during the last few weeks the polling results available have shown Mitt Romney would win the popular vote by about one percent, or approximately one million votes.  But, state-by-state polls would award the Electoral College majority to President Barack Obama.

As shown in the chart below, Romney would win the popular vote by 1,350,000, but Obama would win the electoral vote with 290, or 20 more than needed.

Hence, twelve years after the disputed and still controversial 2000 election that put Texas Governor George Bush in the White House with 271 electoral votes after Vice President Al Gore won the popular vote by 540,000, a U.S. election would be in a similar position.

Of course, the current polls, either national or at the state-by-state level, may not be accurately capturing the voters’ actions (early vote) or intentions (voting Nov. 6) or the popular vote may line up over the next five days with a sufficient number of states to award a unified victory to either Romney or Obama.  But if it doesn’t, it will produce a political crisis with significant short-and long-term impacts, including:
  • Electoral College.  A crisis of legitimacy for the Electoral College, which has little public support.  Liberals don’t support it and conservatives would be unlikely to defend it.
  • Presidency.  A weakened Barack Obama who with barely 50 percent approval going into the election comes out even weaker.
  • Polarization.  An electorate that is polarized on every aspect of its choice for national leaders and approach to top issues; i.e., robust government vs. austere government.
  • Gridlock.  Washington remaining in the gridlock that has characterized much of the last four years, especially on national financial decisions.

Sandy’s Impact Significant, But Uncertain

Hurricane Sandy definitely affected the presidential election, but who it’s helping or hurting is uncertain.

Turnout:  The storm delayed and discouraged some voting in eastern states.  It’s not clear which candidate will be most affected.  There are concentrations of Republicans in Virginia that could be discouraged and Democrats in Philadelphia.

Both campaigns have powerful turnout machines that will no doubt be back in operation by the weekend – and, of course, they are working non-stop outside the northeast.

Topics:  Sandy now dominates conversation and the news.  Romney would prefer to talk about the economy, but he is doing rallies dedicated to raising funds for victims and offering comfort. Both candidates have dropped the attacks in their stump speeches, but the ads continue.

Schedules:  The schedules of both campaigns have been diverted. Coastal visits were moved to the Midwest and the President is staying in the East.

Bill Clinton represented the President in Colorado, which may be a win for Obama.  Clinton is a new face, the most popular Democrat in the country and is less polarizing than the President.

President:  In general, there is a rally affect in support of political executives in crises.  The storm allows the President to be presidential by directing relief efforts, offering aid and afterwards thanking brave first responders.

He’s able to be bi-partisan and work with Republican governors and mayors coordinating aid.  Republican Governor Chris Christie praised the President and toured damaged areas in New Jersey with him.

See 9News: Nature slams presidential campaigns into real world

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Colorado Votes: 965,000 Mail in Votes on Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Approximately half the expected mail-in vote arrived at county clerk offices on Tuesday, a week before Election Day, Nov. 6.
The substantial mail-in vote suggests a final turnout higher than the 2.4 million voters of four years ago.  More than 70 percent of the total vote will be completed by mail or early voting.  Also, the close partisan breakdown indicates President Obama will not win the state by the 200,000 vote-margin he received in 2008.  This election will be decided by one percent or less of the vote, or fewer than 27,000 votes.

New Colorado Polls Show Tie Race

The latest Colorado polls show the presidential race remains deadlocked.  Both campaigns are busying flushing out their committed voters and searching for the few thousand still undecided.

The campaigns are using direct mail, door-to-door contacts, robo and volunteer phone calling, and e-mail blasts to push and pull identified supporters to the polls.  The new get-out-the-vote systems are sophisticated efforts that integrate lists of returned ballots into the computerized databases of voters.

The Democratic ground game was designed, funded and field tested since 2004.  “The model ‘has been tuned up for this election,’ says Floyd Ciruli, pollster.” (Economist, Sept. 22, 2012)

As of Tuesday, October 30, more than 900,000 absentee ballots have been returned, about half of the expected mail-in vote.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Colorado Polls Shift After the Oct. 3rd Debate – Race Now Tied

In 43 polls conducted in Colorado and listed in, President Obama led or tied in all but four prior to the Oct. 3rd debate.  Since the debate, Mitt Romney has led in 6 out of the 13 Colorado polls published (there was one tie), or half the polls conducted.
The Colorado voter average is now tied between Obama and Romney on the Real Clear Politics website.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Colorado Votes: 626,000 Mail in Votes on Friday, October 26, 2012

Nearly one-third of the mail-in vote arrived at county clerk offices on Friday at the end of the first complete week of voting.

More than 70 percent of the total vote will be completed by mail or early voting.  The close partisan breakdown indicates that the vote will be very close between the parties, with the balance of power held by unaffiliated voters.

See 9 News:  How Colorado could play big on Election Night 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Western Senate Races Could Shift the Senate to Republicans

Although the West only has two toss-up presidential races as of October 24, it has five competitive U.S. Senate races that could, if they fell perfectly for Republicans, give them three of the four seats they need for control.  Of course, the races east of the High Plains would need to produce no net loss.

In the West, Republicans need to hold seats in Arizona and Nevada, and pick up seats in Nebraska, North Dakota and Montana – a three-seat net gain.  The senate races in California, Utah, Washington and Wyoming were never considered competitive.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Third and Final Debate – Romney Perseveres

President Obama stayed aggressive in the third debate on foreign policy and was seen as the winner.  But, Mitt Romney was disciplined, looked presidential, showed subject matter knowledge and avoided gaffs.

Republican pundits were disappointed Romney didn’t attack more on Libya and Iran, but his strategy was to look steady, calm and avoid any comparison to the G.W. Bush team of neo-conservatives.  That was a wise move because the President aggressively attempted to argue Romney was unsteady in his advice, had outdated viewpoints and was prone to advocate military action.

Romney offered his indictment of Obama policies without shouting or talking over Obama or the moderator, Bill Schieffer.  Probably he irritated the President the most by repeating the “apology tour” charge.  And, indeed, Obama reacted to it.  Romney’s best line was “attacking me is not an agenda.”

The economy took up about more than a quarter of the time and produced some of the most heated exchanges.  In fact, arguing over GM was the hot button of the debate, proving that Ohio is the most serious battleground in the campaign.

Romney recognized that foreign policy is a threshold a presidential candidate must cross, but not a driver in the 2012 election.  Also, Romney knew:
  1. The American people want Iran stopped, but not a war.
  2. They are done with Iraq and Afghanistan.
  3. They want to be tougher on China’s trade policy without a confrontation or trade war.
  4. They want a strong defense, but won’t pay more for it.
Hence, Romney, whose foreign policy proscriptions are by party and personal philosophy to the right of Obama’s, had to reposition to a more centrist position compared to the primary and general election campaign statements made during the last year.
Needless to say, Obama pointed to the inconsistencies, but the bottom line is that Romney separated himself from the rhetoric that dominated the Republican Party the last couple of years in his final bid to win undecided independent and moderate voters.

Battlegrounds Contract and Tighten for Obama

Barack Obama is still leading in many of the nine battleground states identified by his campaign early in 2012, but North Carolina now appears firmly in Mitt Romney’s camp and Obama’s lead in all the states has tightened by 2 or more points since the landmark October 3 debate.

Colorado is now dead even with more than 400,000 voters cast. Romney received a hero’s welcome in Colorado on Tuesday and visited Nevada and Iowa, both of which are still leaning toward Obama.

If Obama can hold Ohio, Romney needs a perfect sweep of other battlegrounds or to open areas that were thought in the Democratic camp.  In battleground states, Romney has stepped up activity in Wisconsin and New Hampshire.  Both Florida and Virginia are now trending toward Romney, with Florida’s polling average now favoring him.  Romney is adding Pennsylvania and Michigan for stepped up activities.

See AP article:  Once Obama country, Colorado now razor-close

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Colorado’s Congressional Incumbents Favored, But Challengers are at Least on List

In a newly published list of the sixty most competitive congressional House races in the country, Colorado’s 6th congressional district contest between incumbent Mike Coffman and Democrat challenger Joe Miklosi ranked 32nd.  Unfortunately, the analyst believes not more than 10 to 20 seats will flip between parties, failing to give Democrats back control.  However, it’s still an indication that Washington observers believe the 6th CD is in play.  The amount of money being spent on television ads confirms that outside interest groups believe the race is close.

The 3rd CD ranks 44th with incumbent Scott Tipton (R) battling Sal Pace (D).  The Perlmutter vs. Coors (7th CD) race did not make the list.

See Washington Post:  The Fix 60: The most important House races in the country

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Colorado – The Nation’s Closest Battleground

The Obama campaign is increasingly disappointed in the Colorado numbers.  The latest polls show Colorado is the closest toss-up state in the country.  The Real Clear Politics average for Colorado on October 23 shows Romney ahead by 0.2 percent.

A Sunday Rasmussen poll has Mitt Romney up by 4 percentage points (50% Romney to 46% Obama), but the latest PPP poll puts Barack Obama ahead by 3 points (47% Romney to 50% Obama).

Up to this point, both candidates have believed the state is winnable and are currently dedicating massive final resources, especially their time, to motivate their base and win the final undecided voters.  But, pressure is building on President Obama to put more resources into the Midwest.  Colorado has not responded to the campaigning efforts since the Oct. 3 Denver debate debacle.

As of Tuesday, October 23, 171,000 absentee votes had been returned, with a reported slight Republican advantage (9,000 votes). More than 70 percent of Coloradans are expected to vote early.

See 9News:
Early voting begins in Colorado on Monday
Colorado’s 9 electoral votes crucial to both presidential campaigns

Final Voter Registration Reported: Democrats Close Gap in Late Registration, But Republicans Slightly Ahead

Democrats closed the August vote gap in active voter registration from 110,000 to 40,000 in final pre-election voter registration. Nearly a half a million (460,000) people registered or reactivated to vote in the last two months.

There are 3.644 million registered voters, both active and inactive, which is a new record and exceeds the 2008 total registration by 440,000.

In 2008, the year of Barack Obama’s nine percentage point win in Colorado, Republicans exceeded Democratic registration by 12,000 active voters.  In the big Republican year of 2010, they had a 113,000-vote advantage in Colorado.  The Republicans’ current 40,000-vote advantage in active voters highlights the likely closeness of the race.

The Buzz: Republicans still ahead in voter registration
The Buzz: Democrats winners in late registration, but Republicans still ahead

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Second Debate – Spin Two

President Obama won the second debate.  Given his dilatory performance in the first debate, there was almost no place to go but up.  And, improve he did.  He was more animated, connected well with the questioners, and much more aggressive.  He never missed a chance to attack Romney’s positions.

Obama immediately attacked, hitting GM early, and in each question, pivoted to “Governor Romney” believes, said or did, making some references hostile to Romney.  He used Joe Biden lines, like “That’s just not true.”  He asked “is that fair?” and said the “math doesn’t add up.”  No more Mr. Nice or Quiet Guy.

But, Mitt Romney didn’t lie down, and there were times the temperature got a little uncomfortable for all, but Romney kept his focus on the failed economy and repeatedly offered his plans for the future.

Debates are broken down into four major activities:

First, the expectations game, with both sides trying to raise the bar on the opponent and lower their own.  Obama’s expectations were slightly higher (Pew:  Obama – 41% will do better; Romney 37%).

Second, the event.

Third, immediately after the debate, the spin room fills with handlers and commentators.  Voters’ instant opinions enter the spin and the first judging is made.  Obama won, but close.

Finally, Spin Two, where the pundits keep the process going up to the next event.  This is the part of the debate process that can most affect public opinion.  Tuesday morning was the start of Spin Two, and both sides are fully engaged.

Romney went into the debate with momentum.  Numerous polls show the race closing, and some have Romney ahead.  But, the debates are now one-for-one, and Obama is back in the game.

The battle will be to the end, and it will center in the battleground states, including Colorado.

See:  The Buzz: Biden brings relief and new energy to the Democrats

Slowdown to Recession or Just Slow?

The drop in unemployment to 7.8 percent relieved the White House that October’s figures would reinforce the lack of progress in the recovery.

Other good news is a slight uptick in housing prices and sales and, of course, the booming stock market of 13610 (DOW), up 11 percent this year and approaching the 2007 all-time high of 14164.

But, there are numerous signs of a slowdown next year, even a recession.
  • Europe, our top trading partner, is in a recession.  It is producing a drag on American business earnings and private sector jobs.  China’s slowdown, while still mild, will exasperate the trade fall off.
  • There will be continuing public sector cuts, especially as expected 2013 federal cuts are implemented.
  • The fiscal cliff and uncertainty in changes in fiscal policy, including both possible massive spending cuts and increases in taxes, hurt both public and private investment decisions (U.S. growth next year only 2.2% GDP).
A deeper slowdown next year is a dangerous circumstance if the public associates it with fiscal mismanagement in Washington.  Then a real voter revolt might be in order in 2014.

Denver Post:  IMF offers bleak assessment of stalled recovery
Wall Street Journal:  Global recession risk rises

Coloradans Closely Divided on Marijuana Legalization

Colorado voters are divided on marijuana legalization.  Three statewide voter polls conducted in October show legalization below or barely at 50 percent support.  The recent DU poll (10-6), which asked Colorado voters their views on Proposition 64, the marijuana legalization amendment, had half the voters offering support (50%). But the latest CBS/New York Times/Quinnipiac (10-9) and the Denver Post (10-10) polls show the initiative with less than 50 percent support (CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac: 45% favor, 46% oppose; Denver Post: 48% favor, 43% oppose).

The final result will reflect the campaigns by the respective sides and may be affected by turnout for the presidential candidates.  Democrats and Republicans have dramatically different levels of support for legalization.  But, a narrow loss is possible.

Colorado is joined by Washington and Oregon, liberal Pacific Coast states, with easy ballot access and less expensive media markets in the national push by marijuana advocates for legalization.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gay Rights Surge in Colorado, Around the Country

In 1992, Colorado voted (barely) for a ballot initiative that stopped the state’s political jurisdictions from enacting anti-gay discrimination laws.  It was struck down by the Supreme Court a few years later. But, in 2006, Colorado voters adopted an anti-gay marriage constitutional amendment and rejected a civil union law.

From that background of hostility to gay rights, a near majority of Colorado voters now join with voters around the country who support gay marriage – one of the most aggressive items on the gay agenda. While the Colorado legislature rejected civil unions in the last session, voters here and around the country have apparently moved on.

The shift in support for gay rights since the early 1990s has been rapid and dramatic.  The latest poll in Colorado conducted by DU shows 49 percent of voters support gay marriage.  New battleground polls by the Washington Post show a “bare majority of voters in Florida and Ohio and nearly half in Virginia support same-sex marriage.  Finally, a September CBS/New York Times poll reported 51 percent of Americans now support same-sex marriage.

In this election cycle, four non-battleground states are considering gay marriage ballot initiatives:  Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.  Polls indicate they are ahead in all but Minnesota.

Gallup records a libertarian-type drift in the country’s opinion, with an increased level of support for gay rights, marijuana use and gun ownership (see recent blogs).  One metric of the shift is that for the first time a majority of Americans say the government should not favor “any particular set of values” in society.  For two decades, people have said traditional values should be promoted by the government (2004 – 56% traditional, 40% no particular values; now – 52% no particular values, 44% traditional).