Monday, September 10, 2018

KOA – Post-Labor Day Interview

KOA’s April Zesbaugh and Marty Lenz opened the campaign season on Tuesday, September 4 with a post-Labor Day interview. April pointed out that the election is 63 days away, and in Colorado, mail-back ballots will drop in seven weeks, or about 50 days. The race will now begin with an onslaught of advertisements, debates, endorsements and the first public polls with likely voters, harder to identify during turbulent times.

Nationally, the Colorado governor’s race is getting the most attention, along with the 6th Congressional District race where Republican incumbent Mike Coffman must deal with any blue wave from Washington.
Rep. Jared Polis and State Treasurer Walker Stapleton

Many national observers believe the Colorado gubernatorial race could be competitive, but appears to lean toward Democrat Jared Polis over Republican Walker Stapleton. For example, the latest spending figures show Polis with $12 million in the race, mostly his own money, and Stapleton with just $2 million (latest report shows now a $21 million total). Also, Democrats now have a slight registration advantage after a disadvantage a decade ago, and they attracted more than 100,000 voters in the June primary more than the Republicans, and half of them were newly empowered unaffiliated voters.

The voters’ choice between Stapleton and Polis will be partially made on personality, experience and character, but in terms of issues, the differences could be more dramatic – health care, it’s single-payer or not; oil and gas, it’s more setbacks or not; and tax increases, it’s schools and roads or not. After eight years of moderate leadership from John Hickenlooper, often with a divided legislature, Colorado could take a much more liberal direction. One question being asked nationally concerns how liberal the Colorado electorate has become.

Mike Coffman is in another battle for his congressional seat, but he has an exceptional track record of winning his district even as Democrats carry it in presidential elections. In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the district by 34,000 votes and Coffman received 31,000. In general, the latest national polls show the President’s approval rating and the generic ballot question tilting more toward the Democrats since the Paul Manafort conviction and the Michael Cohen guilty plea (approval is now 12 points negative – 42% vs. 54%, and the generic ballot test at 8 points favoring Democrats). Coffman will have possibly the toughest test in his long career.

No comments: