Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bernie Buescher Good Choice for Tough Job

I began many speeches last fall with a moment of silence for our county clerks. While clerks have a variety of responsibilities, it is their election responsibilities that have taken over their jobs. Before term-limits, county clerks might spend an entire career in the job. Now, they’re lucky to get through their two terms without a major voter controversy.

Bernie Buescher has good training for the Secretary of State position as a former state department chief (DLA) and head of the JBC. But, the Secretary of State election job, with its multiple conflicted constituencies, heavy federal mandates and constant litigation, is becoming nearly impossible to manage.

While voting professionals and activists engage in high-level arguments over which system to use and the types of locations and ballots, the public is generally copasetic about the experience. In an exit poll Ciruli Associates conducted, Rice University directed and the Pew Foundation funded last November, voters said they were mostly satisfied with their voting experience (see PowerPoint). Colorado’s election appeared mostly error-fee due to a major effort by county clerks and state election officials.

GOCO is a Winner

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) continues to be one of the better investments Colorado voters made in the 1990s. Roy Romer, Ken Salazar and a bi-partisan group of conservation activists helped pass a ballot initiative that primarily put the state’s lottery dollars into the protection and enhancement of open space, parks, trails, rivers, wildlife and recreational areas. Ciruli Associates managed the campaign.

Lise Aangeenbrug was recently selected Executive Director – more good news. She is a GOCO manager and outdoors professional who helped start the organization (www.goco.org).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Rocky Mountain News Cites Hickenlooper Poll

The Rocky Mountain News used the September battleground poll in a story highlighting concerns among some city council people that selecting Hickenlooper in an economic downturn would be a problem. Councilman Michael Hancock had the best response, suggesting that if there is a new mayor, the key was continuity. Denver would no doubt benefit having a member of the U.S. Senate who can advocate funding the transit program shortfall.

PAPOR Conference Debates Proposition 8 on Gay Rights

Mark Blumenthal of Pollster.com attended the Pacific Chapter of AAPOR Winter Conference in San Francisco. A major controversy – the liveliest panel – related to the passage of an anti-gay marriage initiative, Proposition 8. Blumenthal’s commentary follows with links to major California pollsters Mark DiCamillo of the Field Research and Mark Baldassare of Public Policy Institute of California.

December 15, 2008

CA Pollsters on Prop 8

By Mark Blumenthal

Last week, I attended the two-day annual conference of PAPOR -- the Pacific chapter of AAPOR, the American Association for Public Opinion Research. One panel included representatives of three California pollsters, the Field Poll, the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) and the LA Times Poll. Posted below are brief interviews I conducted via FlipVideo with Mark DiCamillo, director of the Field poll, and Mark Baldassare, president and CEO of the PPIC.

The panelists (including PPIC's Jennifer Paluch and the LA Times' Jill Darling) generally agreed that support for the "yes" vote was trending upward in the final week of the campaign and that the final shift in the yes direction could be explained by the conflicting views of roughly one-in-five of those supporting the "no" side as of mid-October. The
final PPIC survey (fielded 10/12-19), for example showed the "no" vote leading, 52% to 44%, while also showing California likely voters divided evenly (47% favor, 49% oppose) on "allowing gay and lesbian couples to be legally married." As such, 19% of those who said they were voting no also said they were opposed to same-sex marriage. In PPIC's post-election survey, only 8 percent were opposed to same-sex marriage (see also Mark Baldassare's recent op-ed, "Why the Same Sex Marriage Ban Passed).

In the interview, Field's DiCamillo repeated an argument he made in a
guest contribution on our site shortly after the election, suggesting a "Sunday before Election" church effect:

The Field Poll, completed one week before the election, had Catholics voting at about their registered voter population size (24% of the electorate) with voting preferences similar to those of the overall electorate, with 44% on the Yes side. However the network exit poll shows that they accounted for 30% of the CA electorate and had 64% of them voting Yes. Regular churchgoers showed a similar movement toward the Yes side. The pre-election Field Poll showed 72% of these voters voting Yes, while the exit poll showed that 84% of them voted Yes.

I asked both Baldassare and DiCamillo about the long term increase in support for gay marriage and how that might impact future campaigns to overturn Prop 8. Both were cautious about expecting too much from "generational" change, particularly over the next 3 to 4 years.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

John Hickenlooper is Strongest Democratic Candidate for Senate

In a battleground poll conducted during the heat of the presidential campaign, Mayor John Hickenlooper tied Governor Bill Ritter and retiring Senator Ken Salazar as most popular Democrat in the state. Hickenlooper has a near 5-to-1 positive to favorable ratio, twice what other Democrats have with less statewide name recognition (see poll).

Monday, December 22, 2008

Blogging in 2009

This website is the longest running, continuous political site in Colorado. It began in 2000 when George W. Bush was carrying Colorado during the Republican dominance of the state. In 2008, the site explained the factors that led to the beginning of what may be a Democratic era.

A blog page is being added. Colorado politics is the topic with an emphasis on polling data. The 2009 lead-off theme will be the economic turmoil and the Democrats’ effort to hold onto their gains, including the governor, senators and the 4th CD congressperson. The next post will be a poll on the 2010 Salazar senate race