Thursday, May 15, 2014

National AAPOR Conference Hears How Gun Control Changed Colorado Politics

The American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) will hear the story of Colorado Democrats dealing with gun control in 2013. My presentation will tell the audience of pollsters how Colorado shifted from a confident blue state to an anxious swing state.

Due to a surfeit of polls from January to December 2013, a story can be told of a strategic failure by Democratic leaders, which was abetted by conflating statewide support for gun restrictions and against recalls for specific support for their incumbents in districts. Democrats also missed the difference between preference for a specific restriction and concern about the entire direction of the party. For example, voters dislike for “gun control” and their support for “gun rights,” while proclaiming support for universal registration. Democrats also projected the January Sandy Hook surge in anger at gun access to a new long-term pro-gun restriction sentiment. Finally, Democrats forgot a significant part of their coalition are not hardcore urban or ski town liberals, but blue collar social moderates and conservatives.

Democrats may hang on to power in 2014, but only because their near-death experience led them to do a 180-degree turn from their strategy in 2013.

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