Bad news for Hickenlooper, who is just beginning his re-election campaign, while Republicans are searching for a winning issue and nominee. As stated in The Buzz in May:
“No one who knows John Hickenlooper is surprised he would not execute Nathan Dunlap. But, he will pay a political price.” (The Buzz, May 29, 2013)
The poll’s report of support for the death penalty and disapproval of the Governor’s decision, whose overall approval is now below 50 percent, is no doubt a reflection of the circumstances of this case.
- The Governor’s presentation of his position and his apparent effort to finesse the issue with an indefinite reprieve was unpersuasive. He looked stressed and sounded indecisive. The victims’ families shouting in the background provided extraordinary bad optics.
- Dunlap is not a sympathetic person and the crime was heinous.
- Although it was committed 20 years ago, a mass murder took place in the same city last year.
Although many influential people in Colorado oppose the death penalty, including the Denver Post, and the state seldom executes, support has remained consistently above 60 percent. And, it’s clear Hickenlooper not only failed to convince people, but has damaged his re-election.