Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Pueblo Democrats Decide the Recall

Angela Giron was recalled because a third of Pueblo Democrats supported it. A PPP poll conducted, but not published prior to the election, had Giron losing by 12 points (poll 54% to 42%; final results 56% to 44%). She carried none of the constituencies Democrats are supposed to be ascendant with. She lost women, Hispanics, the young, independents and a third of Democrats.

The survey had 48 percent of the sample Democrats near the registration number (46%) and 35 percent Hispanic.  Specific gun control legislation, which motivated the initial petition effort, was either popular, such as background checks (68% support), or tied in support and opposition, such as magazine limits (47% support each).

Other explanations for the overwhelming defeat of the Democratic incumbent are local factors, such as Giron’s specific political history (appointed, no real contests in career) (see “Giron Could Lose” blog of July 31, 2013).

But a couple more general factors also appear to be significant. First, the Democratic brand in Colorado has been damaged and is on the defensive. Governor Hickenlooper’s approval rating in the Democratic Senate district was only 39 percent, 8 points below his most recent statewide measurement of 47 percent, which is a mediocre rating.

A second factor is that Pueblo has a larger compliment of more traditional Democrats than other areas of the state. Pueblo Democrats have a more blue dog coloration and are both socially more traditional and fiscally more conservative. Liberal social and fiscal statewide ballot measures often lose in Pueblo County.

Finally and related was Ms. Giron and the state’s Democratic legislative leadership taking an aggressive liberal position in their hurry-up procedures and agenda in the 2013 session. The narrative that dogged Ms. Giron and the leadership from sine die was pushback on that agenda shown in weak statewide polls, these two recalls elections and a rural succession movement.

See Pueblo Chieftain: Dems downplay party tremor

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