If you want hear criticism of John Hickenlooper, listen to a conversation among Democratic caucus members, press releases from environmental activists.
“Governor Hickenlooper has taken a rabidly strong stance in support of fracking by starring in ads for the natural gas industry and threatening to sue any city that bans fracking.”
Or, the position of the state’s leading democratic political blog:
“Over the past few weeks alone Gov. Hickenlooper has done the bidding of the billion dollar oil and gas industry, to the detriment of Coloradan’s health and water, enough times to make one wonder: just who does he believe he was elected to serve?”
So far, the internal noise from the left has not affected Hickenlooper’s approval rating. Rank-and-file Democrats have increased support the last five months. Although his approval rating shifted 21 points to the negative as he lost 3 points of approval and gained 18 points in disapproval, in fact, Democrats’ disapproval remained the same and approval increased 16 points (See The Buzz: Hickenlooper in trouble?).
Examining political ideology in the latest PPP poll confirms the partisan shift. Hickenlooper has increased his support from the far left (70% to 94% very liberal voters), but seen a doubling of his disapproval among independents (approval stayed the same) and a 39 point surge in disapproval from the far right (58% to 87% very conservative voters).
This is a normal state of affairs in very partisan and polarized America, but a bit of a shock to John Hickenlooper, who, for more than a decade of public life, has avoided intense partisan labeling.
Hickenlooper now has a fine line to walk, with danger from both sides. Obviously, liberal interest groups and some leaders are vocal that his cautious support, or even opposition, to their agenda is undermining lifelong dreams of many Democrats.
And, the business community is increasingly stressed that Colorado is dealing with a runaway legislature and about to sacrifice the state’s pro job growth reputation.