Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Obama: Help or Hindrance to Colorado Democrats

President Obama came to Colorado to help Mark Udall. Obama has had his moments in Colorado. His 9-point win in 2012 was a Democratic record in a state that usually goes Republican at the presidential level. Although Bill Clinton eked out a modest win (6%) in 1992 due to Ross Perot (he received 23% of the vote), the only Democratic winner since Harry Truman in 1948 was Lyndon B. Johnson in his 1964 national post-assassination sweep.

But, the heady days are over. Obama was no help to Colorado Democrats in 2010. His 2012 re-election win was more modest and his approval has since collapsed here as it has nationally. Obama has a low 40 percent approval with a mid-50 percent disapproval.

Although Udall and every incumbent Democrat are trying to run as an independent, basically, no Democrat running for federal office can separate from the President’s popularity or the national economy. Elections today are so nationalized that the help or hindrance Washington provides can overwhelm local election factors in close races. So the question for Udall and Democrats becomes how to benefit from the President while reducing the downside exposure.

  • The election is 14 weeks away before early voting in mid-October.  Have him come early and stay away after Labor Day.
  • Obama still can raise money from wealthy liberals, federal lobbyists, lawyers and the party’s major interest groups. Have him raise money at a private party.
  • Turnout is the key to the Democrats surviving the election, and Obama is still the best positioned at motivating the Democratic Party base. (1)  Women, especially single and well-educated. Hit reproductive rights and Hobby Lobby case; (2) Hispanics and immigration. Blame the Republicans for inaction and express humanitarian concerns; and (3) African Americans. Focus on voting rights and income inequality.
  • Most importantly, tout the latest jobs report and hope the economy is getting better. The party base and independent voters want that to happen.
  • Under all conditions, avoid a photo, a tarmac greeting or rally.

See 9News: Gardner seeks to tie Udall to Obama during visit

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