Friday, September 6, 2013

Ferrandino vs. Tancredo

Colorado politics is polarized and in close balance. One year after a huge victory with President Obama leading the ticket in 2012, polls show Democrat and Republican partisans are now closely matched, with independents divided in their preferences.

Governor Hickenlooper struggles to gain traction in his re-election.  The latest Quinnipiac poll has a potential race between Hickenlooper and former Congressman Tom Tancredo within a one-point difference – 46 percent to 45 percent, with independent voters tied at 43 percent each. In fact, a plurality of voters did not believe he “deserves to be re-elected” (48% not deserve to 45% deserve).

Hillary Clinton, the near presumptive presidential nominee for the Democrats, loses to Governor Chris Christie in the second Quinnipiac poll this year after Obama won Colorado by 5 points in 2012 and 9 in 2008.

The sources of this apparent close competition in Colorado after Democrats had several successful election cycles are:
  • The Colorado legislature and its leadership, Senate President John Morse, embroiled in a recall, and Mark Ferrandino, Speaker of the House, gave the Democratic Party a strong left image. It united most Democrats, but drove off most Republicans, including moderates.
  • Due to the legislature’s actions, the news this summer is all about Democrats and Governor Hickenlooper on the defensive. Sept. 10 recall of Morse and Senator Angela Giron, a revolt of about a dozen or so rural counties due to Democratic legislation and a massive school tax increase, are reinforcing the Democrats’ tilt left.
  • Obama and Democrats have dominated Colorado politics for most of a decade, not by the state moving dramatically to the left, but because their candidates’ resumes had moderate images and they had superior campaign techniques. They could still win in 2014 with their campaigns, but, as of today, their moderate image is gone.
  • The Democrat brand, which is dominated by President Obama, is no longer helping in Colorado. Like President Bush’s weak numbers before the 2006 mid-term, Obama’s lower numbers hurt more than help and his approval in Colorado is below his national average.
Hence, what is being offered Colorado voters today is two parties dominated by their extremes. Speaker Ferrandino represents the very liberal Democrats, and Tom Tancredo, frontrunner for governor, represents the conservative Republicans.

Ferrandino vs. Tancredo is a polarizing choice and, as of today, a very close call.

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