Tags: Colorado

Intriguing New Polling Numbers in Iowa, Colorado, and Michigan


Apparently the polling world saved up all of its intriguing results for Wednesday!

First, NBC News in Iowa . . . 

The closely watched Iowa Senate race between Republican Joni Ernst and Democrat Bruce Braley is locked in a dead heat, a new NBC News/Marist poll shows, while New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen has an eight point lead over likely Republican challenger Scott Brown.

In Iowa, Ernst and Braley each have the support of 43 percent of registered voters. But both candidates remain unknown to many in the state; 14 percent of voters are undecided about who they support in the race, and about a third say they are unsure about their opinion on the candidates or have never heard of them.

NBC also finds former Massachusetts senator Scott Brown trailing incumbent Democrat Jeanne Shaheen by 8, also among registered voters. It will be interesting to see if a likely voter screen improves either Ernst or Brown’s positions.

Then Quinnipiac, out in Colorado . . . 

Despite stronger voter optimism about Colorado’s economy than found in many states, the race for governor is tied, with 43 percent for Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper and 44 percent for former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, the Republican challenger, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

Voters give Gov. Hickenlooper a split job approval rating, with 48 percent approving and 46 percent disapproving, compared to a 52 – 39 percent approval rating in an April 23 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University.

Wait, there’s more. A Democratic polling firm in Michigan finds their preferred Senate candidate, Gary Peters, with 39.5 percent and Republican Terri Lynn Land with 37.3 percent.

Tags: Iowa , Colorado , Michigan

Hey, Could We Poll Some Likely Voters Someday Soon?


NBC News is out with some interesting, but frustrating, new polls in Colorado and Michigan. The polls put Democrats ahead in both Senate races, which is a perfectly plausible result, but the poll only surveyed registered voters. Hey, guys, early voting starts in mid-October in Colorado. It’s mid-July. Is it too much to ask for a likely voter screen? Somehow other pollsters manage to do this!

Also note this result:

In Colorado, 52 percent of voters view the law as a bad idea — including 46 percent who hold that position strongly. That’s compared with just 37 percent who believe the law is a good idea.

Michigan voters think similarly — 50 percent see it as a bad idea, 32 percent a good idea.

“Democrats’ strength is women, and Republicans’ strength is health care,” says Marist pollster Barbara Carvalho.

President Obama also is unpopular in these two states he carried in both the 2008 and 2012 presidential races: In both, just 40 percent of registered voters approve of his job.

Tags: Polling , Colorado , Michigan

Colorado Spends $177 Million, Signs Up 17 Percent of Uninsured


Money well spent, Colorado!

One-fifth of the employees of Colorado’s health care exchange made more than $100,000 a year in salary and bonuses — with the executive director’s pay exceeding $190,000 in 2013, exchange records show.

And nearly half of the 36 exchange employees make more than $80,000 a year.

As HealthNewsColorado notes, “Since Colorado created its own exchange in 2011, managers repeatedly have vowed to be a ‘lean and mean’ organization.” (Does proposing a hike in user fees count as “mean”?)

Colorado has spent close to $177 million in federal grants building and managing the exchange. Connect for Health Colorado says it signed up 220,441 people through March 1 — with 135,560 enrolling in Medicaid and 84,881 purchasing private insurance.

That amounts to almost 17 percent of Colorado’s estimated potential market of 501,000 people signed up for private insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and HHS report.

Tags: Colorado , Obamacare

Perhaps Last Night Will Be Hickenlooper’s Second-Toughest Night of 2014


From the first Morning Jolt of the week:

Tough Night, Colorado. Tough Night.

Cue a million Colorado-legalizes-marijuana-and-the-Denver-Broncos-lose-the-Super-Bowl-in-a-rout jokes.

Everybody’s telling those jokes this morning. You know what they’re not telling you?

A guy named Harry Hempy is running for governor of Colorado this year. As a member of the Green Party.

So how many votes does he get just for the “Dude, I’m voting for Hemp-y!” factor?

The incumbent is Democrat John Hickenlooper.

The crowded Republican field includes state Senator Greg Brophy, Secretary of State Scott E. Gessler, Steve House, former state senator Mike Kopp, Jim Rundberg, and former congressman Tom Tancredo.

Here’s what PPP found at the end of 2013 — feel free to take these results with enough salt to melt any snow on the ground in your area — but the general sense that Hickenlooper and Udall are vulnerable Democratic incumbents in a purple state, up against the right GOP opponent, seems accurate:

Voters are pretty split in their opinions about Hickenlooper with 45% approving of him to 48% who disapprove. But in a head to head match up with Tancredo he still leads by 8 points at 48/40. He has similar margins against Mike Kopp (45/37) and Scott Gessler (47/40). The Republican who comes closest, despite having minimal name recognition, is actually Greg Brophy at 44/43.

We’re seeing a similar story in the Colorado Senate race. Ken Buck proved to be a very poor candidate against Michael Bennet in 2010 and lost a contest Republicans were generally expected to win all year long. And now GOP voters are ready to run him again — 45% say he’s their choice for Senate candidate to just 8% for Randy Baumgardner, 7% for Amy Stephens, and 2% or less for the others.

Voters have mixed feelings about Mark Udall — 40% approve of him and 41% disapprove. But thanks to the weak field opposing him he still leads by anywhere from 4 to 7 points against his potential Republican foes. It’s 46/42 over Buck, 47/40 over Baumgardner, and 44/37 over both Hill and Stephens.

Well, it’s not like the governor tried to tie himself to the Broncos in their suddenly interrupted magical year . . . 

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is taking Super Bowl hoopla to new heights.

He announced Wednesday he’s temporarily renaming Colorado’s highest mountains for each member of the Denver Broncos. The state is home to more than 50 mountains over 14,000 feet, called “14-ers” by locals.

Finally, your tax dollars at work, Coloradans:

Two high-profile fans will be in the crowd watching the Super Bowl this Sunday — Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, The Denver Post reports. Hickenlooper is paying for the trip east with his son, Teddy, while two staffers [his chief of staff and senior media adviser] will have their airfare covered by the state.

Tags: John Hickenlooper , Colorado , Greg Brophy , Scott Gessler , Mike Kopp , Jim Rundberg , Tom Tancredo

Colorado Obamacare Administrator Wants Bonus, Raise


So, to sum up the morning’s developments in Obamacare, it may end up shutting down firehouses, the website isn’t fixed and folks may think they’re signed up for Medicaid when they aren’t, and about 5 million people whose plans were canceled are finding they hate the new options. Here’s one Washington-state resident realizing just how bad his new deal under Obamacare will be:

Obama’s claim that those with unsubsidized individual policies will get a better deal is false, and we need a long-term fix.

I am in that 5 percent. Checking the Washington state health-insurance exchange, I found I am among millions who are getting a much worse deal — much higher premiums with higher deductibles and less choice of doctors, and ineligible for the Affordable Care Act tax credit.

My current premium is $278 per month with a $3,500 deductible. My Blue Shield insurer is canceling this policy and not offering any policies on the state health-insurance exchange. The least expensive off-exchange policy it now offers is $545 per month, roughly double what I pay now, with a $5,000 in-network and $10,000 out-of-network deductible.

On the Washington state exchange, the least expensive option, in the bronze category, is $433 per month, a 56 percent increase. But this policy is from a no-name insurer that few of my providers will accept. The only Blue Cross and Blue Shield provider on the exchange offers a bronze policy for $492 per month — a 77 percent increase.

What does the extra $214 per month offer? A lot less than I have now. My deductible would rise to $5,000 for in-network providers and $10,000 for out-of-network providers, and the number of providers in network would decline.

. . . and here’s the cherry on top, the perfect bit of news to close out the week:

The head of Colorado’s state health exchange has asked for an end-of-the-year raise and bonus even though the website has enrolled fewer than half the people who were supposed to purchase health insurance through December.

Other than that, smooth sailing for Obamacare.

Tags: Obamacare , Colorado

Colorado Democrat Resigns to Avoid Recall Fight


Remember that third recall effort out in Coloradotargeting two-term Democrat Evie Hudak? It is now moot.

State Sen. Evie Hudak has decided to resign rather than risk facing a recall election that, should she lose, would flip control of the senate to Republicans, FOX31 Denver was first to report Wednesday.

Later Wednesday morning, Hudak made her resignation letter public.

“In the interest of preserving the progress made over the last year, I am resigning as State Senator for District 19, effective immediately,” Hudak wrote.

By resigning before the signatures are turned in, she assures that a Democratic vacancy committee will appoint her replacement, keeping the seat — and the senate — in the party’s hands, at least through November, when her successor will be forced to win reelection.

While the Republicans won’t have an opportunity to win the seat until Election Day, Hudak’s departure is a welcome development. You may recall Hudak telling a rape victim that her statistics were incorrect during a hearing on Colorado’s gun laws. The Denver Post later found that Hudak’s statistics were incorrect, declaring, “the episode made Hudak look like she cared not a whit for a rape victim,” and Hudak apologized for “insensitivity.”

Tags: Evie Hudak , Colorado , Gun Control

Colorado’s $82 Million Exchange: 3,164 Paid Enrollees So Far


The scorecard for Colorado’s exchange, “Connect for Health Colorado”: $61 million in setup costs, an additional $21 million in marketing.

Number of enrollees: 3,164 through October 26.

“Colorado hopes to enroll 136,000 people in health insurance programs through Connect for Health Colorado by the end of 2014.”

To reach 136,000, the state needs to average 9,066 enrollees per month.

Tags: Colorado , Obamacare

Why Not Attempt a Third Recall in Colorado’s State Senate?


Out in Colorado, an effort to recall another state senator is underway, this time targeting two-term Democrat Evie Hudak.

You may recall Hudak telling a rape victim that her statistics were incorrect during a hearing on Colorado’s gun laws. The Denver Post later found that Hudak’s statistics were incorrect, declaring, “the episode made Hudak look like she cared not a whit for a rape victim,” and Hudak apologized for “insensitivity.”

A Post columnist now argues that recalling Hudak would be good news for the Democrats:

When the Democrats last week selected ultra-lib Morgan Carroll to be Senate president, they all but ensured a lefty agenda that is bound to result in some uncomfortable moments for a governor of a state that isn’t always as blue as some would have you think.

Democrats, even after seeing two of their brethren in the state senate recalled over guns, will not moderate their to-do list.

The point is, a divided legislature holds the agenda in check. If you’re [incumbent Democratic governor John] Hickenlooper, that’s a good thing.

If I’m understanding the argument, it’s that Hudak’s foes should stand down and let her remain in office so that the Democrats can enact a far-left agenda that will endanger all of them in 2014 . . . rather than beat Hudak and rack up a third recall victory.

But if the liberal agenda is as “uncomfortable” for Hickenlooper as it seems, it’s hard to believe that a split state senate would save him.

Organizers have 48 days to collect about 18,000 valid signatures in a state-senate district encompassing Westminster and Arvada. Hudak seems like a natural target, as she won just 51 percent of the vote in 2008 and won last year, 46.9 percent to 46.4 percent.

Tags: Evie Hudak , Colorado , Jon Hickenlooper

Will Colorado Become the New Wisconsin — Center of the Political World?


Get ready for two very intense, quick fights in two state-legislative races that will carry a great deal of national weight on the gun-control issue:

A Denver judge Thursday ruled petitions submitted to oust a pair of Democratic senators from office are valid, a pivotal ruling that sets in motion Colorado’s first-ever recall election of state lawmakers.

“The petitions here substantially comply with law,” Denver District Court Judge Robert Hyatt said in his oral decision from the bench. “Recalls are a fundamental right of Colorado citizens.”

Shortly after Hyatt handed down the decision Thursday, Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper signed an executive order to set the recall election date of Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs and Sen. Angela Giron of Pueblo for Sept. 10.

Both are the targets of recalls by constituents for their support of stricter Colorado gun laws implemented this month.

Suddenly, every gun-control supporter and Second Amendment advocate will be focusing on these two state-legislative districts, hoping to send a signal about the post-Newtown gun laws.

Tags: Gun Control , Colorado , John Morse , Angela Giron

Isn’t Gun Control Supposed to Reduce Violent Crime?


Finally, an honest politician!

A Colorado state lawmaker, discussing her bill to eliminate the right to carry concealed weapons on college campuses, argues against an amendment that would seek to measure whether violent crime increases or decreases after its implementation.

“I don’t know how on earth they can draw a casual relationship . . . I make no assertion that this bill will either increase or reduce violent crime. That is not the premise of the bill . . . I suppose more knowledge is better than less.”

Oh, I suppose!

This video is the work of Ben Howe and the folks at Revealing Politics.

Tags: Colorado , Gun Control

The Convicted Murderer Running for City Council


A headline you don’t see often: “Man convicted in 1997 murder case running for Colorado Springs council.”

If you’re wondering how this candidate can be walking the streets . . .

Flakes served 12 years and five months in prison for his involvement in the shooting deaths of Andy Westbay, 13, and Scott Hawrysiak, 15.

Westbay and Hawrysiak were gunned down on Valentine’s Day while walking home after playing video games at a friend’s house.

Authorities at trial alleged that Flakes, 16 at the time, and Jeron Grant, then 17, drove up behind the boys on Canoe Creek Drive and that Grant got out and shot them with a 12-gauge shotgun.

Neither Flakes nor Grant was convicted of pulling the trigger, which enraged the community. Instead, juries in separate trials convicted each of accessory to murder.

I guess Flakes can count on his opponents’ going negative, huh?

Tags: Colorado

RNC: Florida Panhandle, Colorado, Pittsburgh Looking Good


The RNC sends along:

Exit polls show 60 percent of voters say economy is the number one issue and 60 percent say economy is getting worse or has stagnated. Voters say Romney is the best to handle the economy and they trust him to handle the deficit.

Update from Ohio – high turnout in GOP counties, low turnout in Dem counties and Biden went to Cleveland. Clearly Chicago is nervous.

Good news from the Florida panhandle, Republicans continue to outnumber Dems in Colorado, Romney had a great showing in Pittsburgh and Paul Begala is concerned with the drop in enthusiasm with young voters.

For what it’s worth, I’m hearing the GOP turnout in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, may be a record; this county was key to Pat Toomey’s win in the 2010 Senate race. The Romney campaign also sounds quite pleased about the turnout in “coal country” of Pittsburgh. But then again, these are sometimes in the eye of the beholder.

Tags: Colorado , Florida , Pennsylvania , RNC

GOP Likes Early Signals from Adams, Arapahoe, Jefferson Counties


A GOP source sends along this information about three key counties in Colorado:

Adams County (lean D county) — strong Republican turnout based on morning data — on track to win since first time in 1984.

AB/EV margins will be hard for them to overcome today. Right now — it’s a virtual tie. E-day is 3696 D, 3549 R

Arapahoe (Swing County) — 4,860 Democrat & 5,271 Republican — Election Day so far.

Over 83% of the vote was AB/EV — 75,653 Democrat & 75,812 Republican.

Jefferson County (Swing) — 78,738 Democrat & 85,378 Republican for AB/EV.

Waiting on Election Day.

Tags: Colorado

GOP With Small But Consistent Lead in Colorado Early Vote


In Colorado, about 325,000 people have voted early as of October 24. According to the Secretary of State’s office, of those, 126,539 are registered Republicans, 120,965 are registered Democrats, and 75,030 are “unaffililiated,” with the remainder split up among Libertarians, Greens, etc.

Colorado Peak Politics claims to have a source with access to today’s figures, with significantly higher totals and a similar, slightly larger edge for the GOP:

  • R: 187,824 (39.7%)
  • D: 171,971 (36.3%)
  • U: 108,421 (22.9%)

They add that the Denver Post poll has Mitt Romney with a four percentage point edge among unaffiliated voters.

All in all, reason for cautious optimism about Colorado.

Tags: Colorado

Red Rocks, Red State?


The only bit from the Morning Jolt I’m posting today is the closing addenda:

ADDENDA: Ryan Mahoney, regional press secretary of the RNC, shares a photo of a heck of a crowd for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan at Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado.

Mollie Hemingway: “GOP guy in Colorado says 9400 seats at Red Rocks amphitheater. Had 15K requests for Romney event. C-470 at standstill.”

Crowd size doesn’t tell us everything, but it tells us something about grassroots enthusiasm.

Tags: Colorado , Mitt Romney , Paul Ryan

Middle Cheese: Keep an Eye on Swing-State Latinos


Middle Cheese writes in on a topic he’s been examining a while, how Obama and Romney stack up on the Latino vote.

Conventional wisdom holds that Mitt Romney is faring so badly with Hispanic voters that he cannot possibly win.

A recent CNN/ORC poll of Hispanics nationally finds President Obama has the support of 70 percent Hispanic voters compared to 26 percent for Mitt Romney. By comparison, John McCain got 31 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2008 and George W. Bush got 44 percent in 2004, according to exit polls.

Nationally, I think the more relevant comparison is George W. Bush, who was a two-term Governor of a border state, and got 35 percent of the Hispanic vote in 2000.

Further, national polls can be deceiving because they survey Hispanics from populous states like California and New York, who are overwhelmingly Democratic voters.

Let’s look at the polls of Hispanics in the key battleground states of Florida, Nevada, and Colorado. Now the polls are all over the place, depending on whether they surveyed registered voters or likely voters. However, comparing some recent polls to the 2008 results produces some very interesting trends:

PPP Florida Poll this week shows Romney with 47% of Hispanics and Obama with 49%.

In 2008, Obama took 57% of the vote compared to McCain’s 42%.

As we all know, a large portion — though not all — of Florida’s Hispanic population is Cuban-American, and that community tends to lean Republican more than Latinos who trace their heritage to other Latin countries. Having said that, there had been buzz in recent years that Florida’s Cuban-Americans were growing less solidly Republican, and the 2008 result might be seen as evidence of that. Either 2008 is an outlier, or Romney is winning them back, so far.

Middle Cheese continues:

WSJ/NBC/Marist Nevada Poll this week shows Romney with 36% of Hispanics and Obama with 62%.

In 2008, Obama took 76% of the vote compared to McCain’s 22%.

ARG Colorado Poll this week shows Romney with 38% of Hispanics and Obama with 53%.

In 2008, Obama took 61% of the vote compared to McCain’s 38%.

Team Romney has made some very smart adjustments in both the tone and substance of Romney’s stance on immigration, which is a gateway issue for Hispanics. For example, Romney announced that he would allow undocumented “Dreamers” who were offered a two-year deferral on deportation by Obama to stay in the country if he becomes President, and that he would seek a permanent legislative solution for these undocumented young achievers who pursue higher education or serve in the military.

By doing so, Hispanics — who have experienced sharply higher rates of joblessness under Obama than the general population — are increasingly receptive to Romney’s core message of promoting upward mobility and creating 12 million jobs through pro-growth policies.To wit, a new Latino Decisions national poll has Romney at 33 percent among Hispanics, a seven point increase from a month ago.

The bottom line: Obama is not where he was with Hispanic voters in 2008 and Romney is steadily improving on McCain’s showing, which will be critical in carrying these battleground states.

Mitt’s strong debate performance the other night will no doubt boost his numbers among independent Hispanics voters. I am going to go out on a limb and predict that Mitt Romney will do at least as well as George W. Bush did among Hispanics in 2000, and he will win a majority of Hispanics in Florida.

Tags: Colorado , Florida , CrossroadsGPS , Nevada , Polling

Romney: I Said I Wanted to Add a Sense of ‘Drive’ to This Campaign


The Romney campaign has to be pretty happy with the front page of the Durango Herald this morning:

Of course, the endorsement of former Denver Broncos Hall of Fame quarterback John Elway is going to be terrible news for the Romney Get-Out-The-Vote effort in Cleveland . . . and perhaps Baltimore as well.

Tags: Colorado , United Nations , Mitt Romney

Middle Cheese: Romney Trails, But Not By Much


Many, many readers have asked for updates from my nicknamed sources from previous election cycles. Circumstances prevent communications with one of my regulars, but “Middle Cheese” — nicknamed such because he was ranked in between the “big cheeses” and the “little cheeses” of the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign – is able to reappear. Since that cycle, Middle Cheese has moved around to various positions in high-level GOP politics, and still talks to the “Big Cheeses” of the Romney campaign.

His latest thoughts:

Glad to be back at “The Kerry Spot,” as it was called in back in 2004 when I first started giving my “Middle Cheese” reports.  Time flies!

You asked about the Romney and RNC ground game– is it real?  Yes, it is and it’s a record-breaking one.  Just look at the numbers:  73,000 volunteers have made more than 26 million voter contacts.  2 million more door-knocks and six times more phone calls at this point four years ago. The Victory program has identified more than 2.2 million swing voters.

You ask:  Are any swing states looking particularly good or bad?  My sources in the Romney campaign say that they have expanded the battlefield into Obama 2008 states like Wisconsin, Colorado, and North Carolina.  The latter is clearly moving out of the Obama column, while the first two remain highly competitive (I think Paul Ryan will have significant coattails in Cheesehead land).

The hand-wringers in the GOP Beltway Establishment are fixated on the recent polling data coming out of Ohio and Florida.  To be sure, Obama is ahead in both states, but the fact the race remains close in most national polls makes it impossible for polls showing wide margins in Ohio and Florida to be accurate. 

I don’t want to be accused of sugarcoating the state of the race.  It’s very close, and Mitt is trailing slightly in a few swing states.  But it is a lifetime until Election Day, with three Presidential and one Veep debate to go.  Our ground game is strong. Overall, Romney-Ryan and the GOP has a $40 million cash on hand advantage over the Obama-Biden campaign.  More importantly, I expect to see Romney to make a larger case for how he would take our country in a fundamentally different direction than President Obama, not on on the economy, but on foreign policy as well. 

Tags: Barack Obama , Colorado , Mitt Romney , North Carolina , Polling , Wisconsin

The White House Wakes Up and Smells the Smoke


Lefty commenters and folks on Twitter, shortly after the last post, paraphrased:

“Only a nitpicking partisan hack would think it was appropriate for a president to drop everything and go to a major natural-disaster site!”

The news, an hour ago:

WASHINGTON — President Obama will travel Friday to areas of Colorado devastated by wildfires, the White House announced Wednesday afternoon.

The president has spoken with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and the mayor of Colorado Springs to get the latest developments and express his concern about the extent of the damage, the White House said in a statement.

During his visit, he will “view the damage and thank the responders bravely battling the fire,” according to the statement.

The reaction from those same folks, momentarily: “Thank goodness our wise, sensitive, and empathetic president is dropping everything to go to a major natural-disaster site!”

Putting snark aside for a moment, I’ll just put up the link to again.

Tags: Colorado , President Obama

A Developing Disaster, Strangely Unmentioned So Far


Last night, former White House press secretary Dana Perino pointed out that President Obama could have, and should have, ditched the fundraisers and gone to Colorado Tuesday.

Whatever disappointment he would have generated in his donors at the events, he would have generated a warm reaction from the public, both nationwide and in a key swing state suffering a hellacious forest fire of gargantuan scale. Some argue that a presidential visit in the middle of a disaster area is a bad idea that only ties up police resources, and it’s a fair point, but there are probably some ways to minimize the impact. Denver itself is not currently endangered by the blaze, and Colorado’s Governor John Hickenlooper has been flying overhead and monitoring fire-fighting sites. (I’m sure of all of these Obama defenders were also vehemently defending President Bush for not visiting Louisiana for seven days after Katrina hit back in 2005.)

So let’s assume that a presidential visit is a bad idea for logistical reasons. Obviously, either at one of his campaign events or in any other format, the president could mention ways to help Coloradans in a dire spot right now, something like the organizations and programs listed at

The wildfires began Saturday, June 23.

The word “Colorado” does not appear in any of the transcripts of the five campaign events Obama has done since the morning of June 25.

UPDATE: Over on Romney’s Facebook page, posted around noon:

Our prayers go out for all those in Colorado affected by wildfires and the brave men and women working to contain them. Please donate to the Red Cross relief effort

No word of Colorado on Obama’s Facebook page yet. However, there is a picture of Obama with his dog, Bo, posted around midday.

Tags: Barack Obama , Colorado


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