Thursday, July 24, 2014

PPP: Razor Tight at Top, Doom Below

The latest poll from PPP, a Democratic firm who, like Quinnipiac, has a long track record in Colorado (if less rigorous methodology; i.e., robo and online), gives both incumbents a one-point advantage: John Hickenlooper and Mark Udall at 44 percent and their Republican opponents 43 percent each.

But more ominous for Democrats is the down ballot numbers, which presage a Republican wave could be building that sweep the state constitutional offices below governor as it did in 2010. Republicans could also pick up legislative seats due to a 7-point advantage in the generic legislative ballot test.

Could Democrats lose their legislative majorities? Most lobbyists, the top handicappers, don’t believe so. They are even skeptical Democrats will lose their one-seat majority in the State Senate. But, waves can do amazing things. The 1984 Reagan/Armstrong wave sent both Houses veto proof for Republicans, up from their previous majorities.

The Incumbents

I keep writing that Colorado incumbents don’t tend to be defeated (The Buzz: Colorado Polling Averages, 7-22-14) and then see polls that say, as of today, these two incumbent Democrats could definitely be beat. Comparing this poll to the Quinnipiac survey shows some similarities and problems for Hickenlooper and Udall.

They will need very skillful campaigns and probably some luck to win. A one-percent advantage translates to about 18,000 votes, given expected turnout.

So in spite of the Governor’s support among some of the business and civic community and the power of incumbency he is in a difficult re-election against Bob Beauprez.
Udall has been in a tight race since Cory Gardner announced and has not gained any ground after a month and many millions spent in advertising on the Hobby Lobby and abortion issues.
The Democrats’ problem is partially a reflection of the weak national brand and President Obama’s problems, but it also reflects Democratic mistakes over the last two years and a Republican recovery since the start of this campaign season.
Republican Sweep
Although it’s 100 days away, as of now, the three statewide Republican candidates are crushing their Democratic counterparts by an average of 8 points, well beyond the margin of error.
  • As we reported earlier (The Buzz: The Republican Midterm Advantage, 7-22-14), the three state constitutional candidates – Attorney General, Secretary of State and State Treasurer – are trending Republican and, if this poll is correct, it’s an indication of the across-the-board negative position Democrats are in. These races tend to be metric for a party’s advantage in an election.
  • If Republicans work at it, Democrats could be swept from both houses of the legislature, but that requires overcoming several election cycles of Democratic superior candidate recruitment and campaigns.
Generally speaking, if there was an election for the state legislature today, would you vote for the Democratic or Republican candidate from your district?

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