Monday, September 8, 2014

Governor Goes Off Message – Denver Post

John Hickenlooper wants to talk about the economy and accomplishments, but keeps backtracking over the actions of 2013, the year his political career began to list to the left and his approval sank 20 points in less than 12 months.

After some correcting and getting up a little speed in early 2014, the Governor repeatedly gets into topics that will hurt him. He brought up guns with the state’s leading gun rights advocates, County sheriffs, and that pulled him off message for a couple of weeks. He ended August and headed into the final campaign turn opening up a debate on his very poorly received death penalty decision.
Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli said Hickenlooper can only blame himself for repeatedly reviving an issue that repeatedly hurts him.
The issue was part of Hickenlooper’s tipping point in 2013, Ciruli said, when he granted Dunlap the reprieve, helping drive down his approval ratings from results above and just below 60 percent to the low 40s.
“It was the first issue that clearly put him on the wrong side of the public,” Ciruli said. “He had been a pretty popular governor up to that point in his first term, and it handed a very good issue to the Republicans to hammer him with.”
“But it had kind of gone away. But now (since the CNN interview) he’s reopened it.”
By saying he might grant clemency if he loses, Hickenlooper didn't portray himself as a thoughtful leader, the pollster said.
“Speaking in a hypothetical about what if he loses, what he might do, that comes across as politically manipulative,” Ciruli said. (Joey Bunch and Jesse Paul, Denver Post, 8-30-14)

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