Friday, May 31, 2013

Jefferson Biggest Vote Total, But Denver Added Most Voters Since 2004

Colorado’s presidential vote total grew by 422,000 from 2004 when President Bush carried the state by 5 points to 2012 when President Obama reversed the results and won the state by 5 points for the Democrats. (See May 28 post: New Voters Move Colorado to the Left).

The Denver metro area generates about 55 percent of the state’s voters, but it supplied 62 percent of the growth in voters since 2004, or 263,000.

Jefferson County produced the most voters among the seven metro counties with 311,000, but Denver had the most new voters since 2004, adding 61,000 (numbers are rounded to the nearest thousand). Denver added a half percent in additional voting clout in the metro area since 2004.

Percentage-wise, Broomfield, the smallest metro county, had the highest rate of voter growth at 43.5 percent, or 10,000 additional voters. But, as usual, Douglas County continued its fast growth rate of 37.7 percent and its large number of new voters, 46,000.

Boulder’s policy of growth control and shedding local governments (Broomfield) had the effect of giving them the slowest growth rate (11.8%). Only Jefferson County, which hasn’t attracted much growth in recent decades, was as slowly growing (13.9%).

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Colorado Weather Changes Political Fortunes

Climate scientists say we can expect more extreme weather – horrific hurricanes, huge tornadoes, torrential rains and monster dumps of snow.  In the last decade, Hurricane Katrina helped end George Bush’s career on a sour note, but Hurricane Sandy gave Barack Obama a final lift.

Politicians have all become storm chasers, recognizing that beyond expressing sincere compassion, their careers depend upon their skill and visibility in handling the crisis.

Drought, summer heat and resultant fires, tornadoes, floods and massive snow storms have had stark effects on Colorado politicians’ careers.
Although Dick Lamm had won his election for governor in 1974 in a sweep for Democrats, constant bickering with legislators and an ill-temper cost him support.
But a massive rain and flood of the Big Thompson project in the summer of 1976 put Lamm in a helicopter helping direct disaster aid. It contributed to his November re-election and political recovery.
Lamm’s successor, Roy Romer, got a little political protection when a huge tornado devastated the high plains town of Limon. Romer also personally directed the disaster effort. The timing was serendipitous. It happened just as rumors were spreading beyond political gossip that he was having an extramarital affair with a senior staffer. The story receded as the Limon tragedy took over the media narrative.
Snow has repeatedly affected political fortunes in Denver. The massive Christmas snow of 1982 helped derail re-election plans and end the political career of Mayor Bill McNichols. And, a three-foot deep snow in March 2003 trapped people indoors just as John Hickenlooper started airing his whimsical television advertisements for his Denver mayor election, beginning a decade-long political career that put him in the governorship.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Death Penalty Remains Popular

No one who knows John Hickenlooper is surprised he would not execute Nathan Dunlap.  But, he will pay a political price.

Hickenlooper, as is his style, tried to finesse the issue. The reprieve approach, combined with his explanation, sounded confused. He apparently has “evolved” to being anti-death penalty. Why not just say it and provide clemency? Hickenlooper claimed during his gubernatorial campaign in 2010 to be willing to enforce the death penalty. So, this decision makes him vulnerable to the charge of failing to keep a promise – a trait politicians are often accused of, and Hickenlooper hates to be considered just another politician.

In the legislature this year, he derailed a straight up Democratic effort to abolish the death penalty by statute arguing there needs to be more dialogue about the issue. Hickenlooper recognized Colorado voters had approved it twice and national polls repeatedly show it has more than 60 percent support from the public.

Mr. Dunlap elicited little sympathy and the victims are visible and vocal. While the crime was 15 years ago, the recent violence in Aurora puts in relief that today’s politicians have a responsibility to deterrence, enforcement of legal orders and public justice.

John Hickenlooper has been a lucky politician and it is not likely this issue or his handling it will end a career, but, just as Republicans begin to get serious in opposing Hickenlooper’s re-election in 2014, he provides them new talking points.

Denver Post: Nathan Dunlap granted “temporary reprieve” by governor

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

New Voters Move Colorado to the Left

More than 400,000 additional Colorado voters participated in the 2012 presidential election than did in the 2004 election. Republican Mitt Romney gained 20 percent of the additional votes and Barack Obama took 76 percent for the Democrats, or nearly four times the Republican increase.
Some of the additional voters simply did not participate in 2004 and were sufficiently motivated in 2012. Also, Colorado continued to grow in voting age population, even during the Great Recession. And some of the increased vote was the much commented upon youth and minority voters, many of whom are a part of the large emerging Millennial Generation voting bloc. (cohort born from 1982 to 2000) 
Millennials, born during or after 1986, were just 18 in the 2004 presidential election between George W. Bush and John Kerry. In 2012, an additional eight years of the generation joined the rolls, or about 70 percent of the estimated 80 million members.
National exit polls show they voted by 60 percent for Obama and, in general, are a more diverse and liberal generation.

Friday, May 24, 2013

1972 Marked a New Era in Colorado Politics

The death of political activist and campaign consultant Jim Monaghan provides a moment to remember the tumult of the early 1970s when he and a cohort of Baby Boomers, angry about the war (Vietnam), idealistic about civil rights and advocates for the nascent environmental and feminist movements, burst into the national and Colorado political scenes.

As the national Democratic Party establishment collapsed after the 1968 Chicago Convention, new Democrats took over, changed the rules and nominated George McGovern for his ill-fated run against President Nixon.

In Colorado, 1972 was the turning point year with a host of new politicians and activists entering the process and changing the Democratic Party. Environmentalism was the main theme, and the 1972 referendum to stop a bipartisan establishment proposal to host the Winter Olympics was the vehicle. When it passed by a resounding 61 percent, it marked the state’s change in direction and became the platform that allowed legislative backbencher Dick Lamm to emerge as a serious candidate for governor and push aside longtime Democrats, Mark Hogan and Tom Farley.

It was Monaghan who committed the coup de gras on the party establishment by managing the defeat in a party primary of Democratic Congressman Wayne Aspinall, the long-time chair of the House Interior and Insular Affairs Committee, and the bĂȘte noir of the environmental community. Monaghan was 25 years old at the time; Aspinall had been in Congress 24 years.

Nationally, it was Watergate and the Nixon resignation in 1974 that brought Democrats everywhere to power. The new team was ready in Colorado: Dick Lamm became governor; Gary Hart, George McGovern’s campaign manager, became U.S. Senator; Tim Wirth, environmental advocate, won a U.S. congressional seat; and Sam Brown, organizer of the 1969 Moratorium against the war, was elected State Treasurer.

Although this group’s control over the state’s politics during the next forty years waxed and waned, they were the new Democratic Party.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

In Six Years, Coloradans Go From No to Yes on Civil Unions and Marijuana Use

In 2006, Colorado voters rejected civil unions and approved a constitutional ban on gay marriage. They also defeated a recreational marijuana initiative by 59 percent.

Today, Colorado is one of the first states where voters legalized recreational marijuana and a newly installed Democratic legislature approved civil unions. Polls show a majority of Coloradans approve both. What happened in a decade?

Colorado voters and opinion in the country shifted during the decade on legalizing gay relationships and the use of marijuana and, most importantly, new faces came into the electorate.
Volumes are being written concerning the extraordinary shift in opinion on gay rights, including the effectiveness of repositioning what was considered a mental or moral defect or, at best, a bizarre lifestyle choice into a civil right. Keep in mind, Colorado’s ban on gay marriage and defeat of civil unions in 2006 wasn’t unique. In 2004, banning gay marriage was a national movement and, by most accounts, contributed to the re-election of President Bush. 
But even at that point, a powerful countermovement was taking hold, led by advocates, like Tom Gill and his gay rights foundation, and political contributions here and around the country, powered by frequent and sympathetic treatments in film, television and books, and advanced by gays’ personal affirmations; i.e., coming out.
Peoples’ opinions shift due to personal experiences and relationships. Today, almost everyone knows someone who is gay – a friend, relative or coworker – or sees them perform often at the top of their art, profession and increasingly their sport. National polls show gay marriage now has majority support.
Marijuana legalization has not had the same level of attention from activists or media, but it has effectively used medical marijuana as a platform to argue the drug is not dangerous and it’s no worse than alcohol and should be treated the same.
The other significant factor creating political change in Colorado since the early 2000s has been the surge of new voters in the electorate, which has moved the state to the left. More than 422,000 voters have joined the roles since President Bush won re-election with 100,000 votes in 2004 and President Obama did so with 138,000 votes in 2012 – many of those new voters helped gay rights and marijuana use reach majority acceptance.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Colorado Politics Leads the Nation in Change

At the recent national conference of polling professionals, Ron Brownstein, The Atlantic and National Journal political guru, said the 2012 election was a turning point event for how the two parties conducted national campaigns, how the media reports and tracks them (polling), and the strategies of the two parties in assembling their respective coalitions.

He called it a “brick through the window.”

Colorado has also witnessed an extraordinary change since the last Republican president victory in 2004 and Barack Obama’s and the local Democratic power sweep in 2012. And to a large extent, many factors that put Colorado Democrats in power presaged what would change in the country. It may also be true that 2012 will mark a turning point in Colorado’s politics and campaigns.

It was only eight years ago that Republicans went into the 2004 presidential election holding the Colorado governorship, both senate seats, five of the seven congressional seats and both houses of the state legislature.  But, on Election Day in November, the first signs of the shift were apparent. Although President Bush carried the state, Democrats won a senate and a congressional seat with the Salazar brothers and both houses of the legislature by narrow margins.

By the 2012 election, the Colorado Republican Party was devastated. It had already lost both senate seats and the governorship. It did control four of the seven congressional districts after being down to just three seats, with a slight recovery in 2010. However, President Obama won re-election by a convincing margin and Democrats’ control of the legislature was by large margins in each House, leading to the most liberal legislature in Colorado memory.

What caused the Colorado shift in tandem with, and somewhat ahead of, the national Democratic recovery from its low points in the early 2000s will be the subject of a series of blog posts.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Tancredo’s Message is Ten Years Out-of-Date

Tom Tancredo will be lucky to get the 35 percent of the Colorado electorate he won last time out.  His message and approach had some resonance in the early 2000s, but is now a mostly secondary issue, and for Republicans, counter-productive.
“A Tancredo run for governor would put him at odds with a national Republican strategy of courting more Latino voters.  With comprehensive immigration reform being seriously discussed in Washington, Republicans are making a concerted effort to appeal to more Latino voters – a critical and growing demographic in the electorate.” (Denver Post, Kurtis Lee, 5-16-13)
Tancredo is only able to promote himself because the party has no significant figure able to either run against Governor Hickenlooper or Senator Udall or lacks a leadership group able or willing to recruit a candidate. Nature abhors a vacuum, and Tancredo love to fill them.

Hickenlooper, at one time, might have been competitive in a Republican primary.  But after the recent legislative session, he has managed to convince most Republicans that he’s a poor substitute for a veto-wielding governor or at least one house of legislature under Republican control.

The Republican Party is still struggling to start a process to get back into Colorado’s normally competitive elections.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Colorado Joins the Lean Democratic Era

Rhodes Cook in his latest analysis describes the current era of presidential politics as “lean Democratic” after 20 years of a Republican “lock” on the Electoral College. From Richard Nixon in 1968 to George H. W. Bush in 1988, Republicans dominated presidential politics.

The current 16-year era (assuming it continues to 2016) began with Bill Clinton’s 1992 election and is described as lean Democratic because, as the table below shows, the victories in popular and electoral votes have been more narrow than the previous Republican era.

Colorado started the lean Democratic era giving Clinton a win in 1992 due to the Ross Perot reform movement vote. But, the state then returned to its Republican presidential history. Bob Dole carried Colorado in Clinton’s 1996 re-election and the state stayed with G. W. Bush in his two elections.
Finally, Colorado joined the trend and Democrats took command of the state’s presidential politics with Obama’s win in 2008 and re-election 2012, both with vote margins greater than his impressive national wins.
The state, which came into the union with Lincoln and the Republicans, has been dependably Republican at the presidential level since the Second World War. Until Bill Clinton’s serendipitous win in 1992, only Lyndon Johnson managed to carry the state for Democrats since 1948. Colorado went for Truman. Colorado even voted Republican in Roosevelt’s last two elections. 
Will the Democrats maintain control of Colorado’s politics? It appears red states are getting redder and blue bluer. But, the Colorado popular vote totals are closely balanced over the last 16 years, with Democrats surging toward end. And, Colorado has a history of fierce competition between the two parties and for independent voters.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Two Western Senate Seats in 2014 Fight

In the thirteen western states, only a handful have competitive appearing races in the 2014 midterm. Already attracting national attention are the senate seats in Alaska, where Democrats will be defending an incumbent (Mark Begich) and in a newly open seat (Max Baucus) in Montana, both states that voted for Mitt Romney in 2012.

There are several Republican governors and senators defending seats in western states that gave Barack Obama their electoral votes. Governors Brian Sandoval in Nevada and Susana Martinez in New Mexico must defend their first terms in states Obama won (7 points Nevada and 10 points New Mexico).
Also interesting races to watch, even though they may not appear competitive, will be the replacement for Jan Brewer in Arizona, which is open due to term limits. The senate race, which Jeff Flake finally won after a tough race, indicates the state is competitive if the Democrats can find a good candidate.
Although Governor John Hickenlooper and Senator Mark Udall do not appear threatened today, Colorado’s transition to a left-leaning state is so new that if the Republicans could figure out how to deal with independent voters while holding their base, they could be competitive.
Finally, Jerry Brown will slide into the second term of his second career as governor without working up a sweat. If he combines his political prowess with righting the ship of state, Democrats would be so thankful that Brown would once again be a national player.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Breaking the Seam – Obama Woos Texas

Texas is the only large state not in the Democrats’ lock on recent presidential elections. The state is the anchor of a six-state seam of Republican states that divide the country down the middle, starting with North Dakota on the Canadian border and touching the gulf in Texas.

With 38 electoral votes, Texas is the biggest haul that has eluded the Democrats in their building national electoral coalition that equals 242 electoral votes that have voted Democrat since 1992 and Clinton’s first election. Dependable Democratic states are: California (55), Illinois (20), Michigan (16), New Jersey (14), New York (29) and Pennsylvania (20). The remaining big states are battlegrounds: Florida (29 electoral votes), Georgia (16), Ohio (18), North Carolina (15) and Virginia (13). Democrats and especially Obama have been more competitive in these battleground states than Republicans.

Texas is a key state that Obama is targeting.  His latest trip was to Austin (Travis Co.), which he won by 92,000 votes in 2012, while losing Texas 57 percent to Romney. Democrats tend to carry population centers. Obama carried Houston (Harris Co.) by less than 1,000 votes, Dallas by 109,000 votes and San Antonio by 23,000. The only big Texas city he lost was Fort Worth (Tarrant Co.) (95,000).

Texas can expect to see a lot of Obama and Democratic attention from now to 2016.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Hickenlooper for President?

John Hickenlooper has been steadfast in denying any presidential interest. That’s good because the latest robo poll confirms what he knows and most observers assumed – there is little to no Colorado support for his candidacy as either a contender for the nomination or as a favorite son.  Partially, this lack of local support reflects there is little to no belief he can win the nomination, and as recent history shows, voters have lost interest in favorite son candidates.

When asked if Hickenlooper should run, he wins only 30 percent of Democrats and 19 percent of independents. Many Colorado Democrats, of course, prefer Hillary Clinton in 2016. Thirteen percent of Republicans think it’s a good idea. Those thirteen percent are mostly a mixture of a few Republican fans and a few who believe their party will nominate someone even more unacceptable. Finally, there are some who just want to get him out-of-state to reduce the damage and open the governorship up.

Very few of Colorado’s politicians have elicited much local support, even while they made the national lists and talk shows. Senator Hart had the state party’s support, but would have been unlikely to carry Colorado in 1984, and Governors Owens and Romer never caused much serious local buzz, even though they received national attention.

The general rule in Colorado politics has been that you tend to lose at least 10 points of favorability and name identification once you cross the state line.  The history has been that serving in Washington or running for president costs local support.

The Buzz:  Hickenlooper in trouble?
PPP:  Colorado voters support gay marriage

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pew Poll on World’s Muslims

The findings from a recent Pew survey of Muslims in 39 countries around the world has initiated spirited commentary on the complications it suggests for U.S. foreign policy and managing domestic terrorism.

Muslims surveyed claim a deep commitment to their faith, that Islam is the one true faith, and it should influence political and legal matters, with significant percentages in many countries wanting sharia (traditional Islamic law) to be the official law.

Needless to say, if applied strictly, these views would produce societies in Muslim countries that many in the West would consider brutal, intolerant and generally feudal. It would also mean that the effort to promote democracy would have such significant risk as to call the strategy into question.

Analysis of the survey results will attract considerable interest and participants, but a few sign posts within the data indicate that a strict or literal application of the implications isn’t warranted.
  • Although the core beliefs attract significant adherence, there are percentages of non-adherence.
  • Religious viewpoints are nuanced with exceptions, reservations and a significant level of less intense observance.
  • Significant populations claim belief in religious freedom, support for democracy and modern scientific assumptions.
  • Although there are minorities in countries that justify terrorism, most do not, and majorities are concerned about religious extremism in their countries.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Will the Liberals Walk From Hickenlooper?

If you want hear criticism of John Hickenlooper, listen to a conversation among Democratic caucus members, press releases from environmental activists.
“Governor Hickenlooper has taken a rabidly strong stance in support of fracking by starring in ads for the natural gas industry and threatening to sue any city that bans fracking.”
Or, the position of the state’s leading democratic political blog:
“Over the past few weeks alone Gov. Hickenlooper has done the bidding of the billion dollar oil and gas industry, to the detriment of Coloradan’s health and water, enough times to make one wonder: just who does he believe he was elected to serve?”
So far, the internal noise from the left has not affected Hickenlooper’s approval rating. Rank-and-file Democrats have increased support the last five months. Although his approval rating shifted 21 points to the negative as he lost 3 points of approval and gained 18 points in disapproval, in fact, Democrats’ disapproval remained the same and approval increased 16 points (See The Buzz: Hickenlooper in trouble?).
Examining political ideology in the latest PPP poll confirms the partisan shift. Hickenlooper has increased his support from the far left (70% to 94% very liberal voters), but seen a doubling of his disapproval among independents (approval stayed the same) and a 39 point surge in disapproval from the far right (58% to 87% very conservative voters).
This is a normal state of affairs in very partisan and polarized America, but a bit of a shock to John Hickenlooper, who, for more than a decade of public life, has avoided intense partisan labeling.
Hickenlooper now has a fine line to walk, with danger from both sides. Obviously, liberal interest groups and some leaders are vocal that his cautious support, or even opposition, to their agenda is undermining lifelong dreams of many Democrats.
And, the business community is increasingly stressed that Colorado is dealing with a runaway legislature and about to sacrifice the state’s pro job growth reputation.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Boulder – Marijuana’s Best County

Marijuana has completed its first round of legislative regulation. The marijuana lobby’s advantage is legalization won most of the state’s largest counties and Democrats, the state’s ruling party.

Among Colorado’s eleven largest counties, Amendment 64 carried nine, losing only Douglas and Mesa. The narrow wins in El Paso (50.1%) and Weld (50.6%) were major surprises for local observers. Both counties are homes to the state’s most conservative voters.
Boulder and Denver gave Amendment 64 its biggest majorities, with Boulder holding its reputation as the state’s farthest left large county, beating Denver by a tenth of a point. Boulder’s political leadership are also among the most aggressively liberal in the state.
Colorado voters will vote to tax marijuana sales in November.  Expect Boulder and Denver to lead the approval.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Denver – A Labor Town?

Generally, Denver has a first-rate reputation as a city to live in and do business. Unfortunately, a handful of Denver City Council members and other city officials see their jobs more like union shop stewards than representatives of the residents and taxpayers. Nothing will sink the city’s finances or job attraction potential quicker than a reputation for municipal corruption and underhanded dealings with city contracts.

See Denver Post:
Chamber right to question council
Denver metro chamber demands City Council e-mails over union fears 

Do the Republicans Have a Challenger to Hickenlooper?

From the party holding nearly all top state and federal positions in 2004 to a party that controls hardly none nine years later, the Republican prospect for 2014 appears mixed at best.

The latest PPP robo poll ranked the most frequently mentioned Republican candidates in a head-to-head with Hickenlooper and found Bob Beauprez and Jane Norton frontrunners, but hardly threatening. And, neither has indicated their interest in the governor’s race.

In a series of head-to-head match-ups, Hickenlooper received 52 percent to 49 percent, with a spread ranging from 7 percent to 11 percent.

The latest PPP robo poll shows the highest profile Republican names with very modest name identification or positive ratings. The potential candidate with the highest favorability rating is Tom Tancredo (only 30%), the polarizing, anti-illegal immigration activist who got 36 percent in his 2010 third-party run for governor. Bob Beauprez, who lost for governor in 2006, was the strongest candidate in the current field. He received 43% against Hickenlooper, but only came within 7 points. Beauprez has shown more interest in the U.S. Senate race. Jane Norton, former Lieutenant Governor and 2010 senate candidate, has slightly more than fifty percent name identification and the second highest favorability. She could be a candidate for either governor or U.S. Senate.
Senator Mark Udall, who is facing re-election next year, also won head-to-head matches, from 7 percent with Beauprez to a high of 13 percent with several lesser known political candidates.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Hickenlooper in Trouble?

John Hickenlooper will be very happy when this legislative session is over (May 8). As predicted, his decade-long honeymoon with Colorado voters has finally run into the reality of 2013 partisan politics. His negatives are up 18 points since November, mostly a reflection of his fellow Democrats aggressively taking on the whole Democratic legislative agenda with considerable flair (PPP, April 2013).

Hickenlooper tried to frame the session as simply addressing major needs in a moderate fashion with a minimalist state-of-state address advocating gun registration and civil unions.  But, he lost control of the messaging as national interest in the issues overwhelmed local positioning and, for example, made Colorado a gun control success story for embattle advocates.

Democrats are pleased with Hickenlooper’s and the legislature’s partisan performance. Support increased 16 points since November. But Republican and independent disapproval surged (21% to 48% independents, 20% to 72% Republicans).

The sheer volume of Democratic proposals on guns, gays, drugs, taxes, death penalty, spending and regulation took over and altered Hickenlooper’s moderate image to that of a leader of very socially liberal, anti-business state government. As of today, gun control, the legislature’s signature issue, is not very popular in Colorado, with only 49 percent of the public supporting either stricter laws in general or an assault weapons ban specifically.
Hickenlooper would probably be in election trouble if Colorado wasn’t trending left and the Colorado Republican Party wasn’t so directionless. As of today, it’s not clear who will even take him on. Hickenlooper only won in 2010 with 51 percent of the vote. Although it was a bad Democratic year, he faced a couple of weak opponents. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Colorado Senators and Guns

Although Colorado’s reputation as a swing state is well-deserved, it is clearly swinging from the left, and that is true of guns.

About two out of every five American households have a gun (37.7%), and Colorado is on the near downside of that average with 34.7 percent guns per household. Nate Silver points out that senators from states above the average mostly voted against the Senate gun registration compromise, including Democrats, and Democrats from states below, like Colorado’s two senators, voted in favor of it (Harry Reid was the exception).

The amendment lost three of four Democratic senators up in 2014 from states with above average gun ownership: Begich in Alaska, Pryor in Arkansas and Baucus in Montana.
  • Although Colorado is near the center of states on percentage of gun ownership, voting in favor of a popular gun bill is the politically smart position for a Colorado Democrat. This would have been a tougher vote for a Republican due to their base.
  • Mark Udall went out of his way to emphasize he thought the assault weapons ban went too far and he didn’t support it (Bennet also voted against it).
  • Not surprising, Michael Bennet started his term as chief fundraiser for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee with a bang. A record first quarter haul of $13.6 million, with a big bunch in “digital donors.” Bennet is, of course, concerned about Mark Begich, Mark Pryor, Mary Landrieu and holding Max Baucus’ now open seat in Montana.
  • Udall’s funding hit more than $1 million in the first quarter of 2013. He’s still with no identified opponent.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Udall and Hickenlooper Re-election

Neither Governor John Hickenlooper nor Senator Mark Udall have identified Republican opponents, but both of them must deal with legislatures that are prone to highly contentious behavior.

Udall is part of a club in record disrepute, with a highly partisan leadership and he is voting on polarizing issues, such as gun control and budget resolutions, that divide more than unite.

But, as of today, Udall is moving toward a 2014 re-election with little apparent trouble. The latest Public Policy Polling (PPP) robo poll has Udall beginning re-election with a 17-point margin between approval and disapproval, reflecting a 14 percent increase in approval since their November poll.  He tends to split the difference on controversial issues, like guns (for the registration compromise against assault weapons ban) and he is aggressively banking re-election funds ($1 million 1st quarter).
Although he won in the 2008 Barack Obama 7-point sweep in Colorado, and in 2014 he will be on his own in a lower turnout election – the type that produced a Republican recovery in 2010 – Udall still has the advantage. Obama is hardly as popular as he was in 2008 (he only got a 48% approval in latest PPP poll). In addition, at the moment, Democrats are up 5 percent in the generic congressional ballot test, showing no Republican mid-term advantage yet.
Hickenlooper, on the other hand, has been impacted by the type and volume of legislation produced by the Democratic control of the Colorado House and Senate.
His positive rating dropped two and his negative climbed 18 points. Hickenlooper’s approval among men is only 44 percent; independents, which he historically has done well with, he only has 49 percent approval; Anglos 51 percent; baby boomers 50 percent; and he is losing Republicans by 50 points, with only 20 percent approval.
Hickenlooper, after a ten-year career seen as an independent, has following this partisan and controversial session become a Democrat.
National attention on Colorado’s gun control legislation won Hickenlooper a spot on talk shows, but cost him with moderate and independent voters. Add to guns, high-profile gay rights legislation, marijuana legalization and a billion dollar tax increase for public schools, the most liberal legislative session in modern Colorado history is moving Hickenlooper’s negatives up.