Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Odds and Ends

The Republican primary of last week highlighted a few odds and ends of political detritus that are worth noting.


Guns remain a toxic issue in Colorado. Although Bob Beauprez, Doug Lamborn and Ken Buck survived attacks over their alleged softness on the issue, there were Republican primaries won by candidates who highlighted their pure fidelity to gun rights.

Democrats are even more fearful of the issue given it cost them three state senators. Governor Hickenlooper’s latest bout of foot in the mouth was directly related to his effort to lower the temperature on the issue. Good luck. Gun control advocates just pulled a state ballot initiative banning guns on campuses because its Democratic allies fear the issue will hurt their candidates in the fall legislative elections.

“Democrats are doing everything they can to stay away from it,” said Floyd Ciruli, a Colorado pollster and political analyst, the Times reports. “To the extent that any advertising from the gun control forces got out there, I think Udall would be very nervous that there’s more downside risk than upside.” (Newsmax, Jason Devaney, 6-23-14)


Immigration was not an important wedge issue in the Republican primary. Most Republicans are obviously concerned about border security, but beyond the 100,000 Tancredo voters, who probably believe all discussions about a path to citizenship is amnesty, most Republicans recognize something should be done for the good of the country, all the people involved, but also the party and its candidates.

A poll conducted by Republican pollsters/consultants last month showed overwhelming support for a solution. A national poll our firm conducted with Public Opinion Strategies confirms that, with sufficient protections and conditions, 60 percent of Republicans accept immigration reform. Even Tom Tancredo avoided the issue as part of his strategy of lowering his vulnerability and edgy profile.

“The party has gotten into its head, including Tancredo, that they have got to have a strategy on Hispanics and at the moment, it’s do nothing wrong. Don’t inflame it,” said Denver-based independent pollster Floyd Ciruli. “The do-no-harm philosophy has shaped this race, and it’s hurt Tancredo.” (National Journal, Josh Kraushaar, 6-22-14)


The anti-fracking forces took their first major loss, although it was an election Republican turnout dominated. But the Colorado November midterm election will look more like a closely balanced partisan election than the huge Democratic voter turnout in the President Obama elections of 2008 and 2012.

“The upshot here is the business community is going to be even less inclined to come up with a compromise. I think their confidence level is going to go up substantially,” said political observer Floyd Ciruli.

“Number one, they’ve already given up a tremendous amount in terms of the regulations, and the compromise that was offered is more than they believe is appropriate. Second, they now believe that they can beat these folks.”

Even so, Ciruli said the Loveland vote is probably a better harbinger of how a statewide measure would fare than November’s anti-fracking votes in left-leaning Boulder, Broomfield, Fort Collins and Lafayette.

“You obviously have a much more conservative and probably business-sensitive electorate,” said Ciruli. “But frankly, that’s probably what the statewide election in November is going to look like. It is not going to look like Boulder, or even downtown Fort Collins, it’s going to look a lot more like what just happened in Loveland.” (Colorado Observer, Valerie Richardson, 6-26-14)


Should Doug Lamborn start thinking about his next job? When a four-term incumbent only wins by 52 percent among El Paso County Republicans (some Park, Fremont and Chaffee voters), it appears the job of U.S. congressman may not be the best long-term career.

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