A Denver pollster with ties to the state Democratic party told me yesterday
that the reason Kerry is spending $1 million over the next three weeks in
Colorado is the poll numbers for Ken Salazar, attorney general and
Democratic candiate for Nighthorse Campbell’s Senate seat. The reason they
would plunk down that kind of cash in a pretty darn red state (Bush beat
Gore 51 to 42 in 2000; a Rocky Mountain News poll in April had Bush up 49 to
40, and the state has 150,000 more registered Republicans than Democrats) is
the belief that Salazar may do so well in the Senate race, and bring out so
many Hispanics with a newfound loyalty to the Democratic party to the polls,
that Kerry could pick off the state’s 9 electoral votes.
Analysts Stuart Rothenberg and Larry Sabato, among others, think the
phenomenon of reverse-coattails is so rare as to be nonsensical. Rothenberg
said, bluntly, it assumes the voters are “idiots,” not following or having
much opinion about the presidential election, but siomehow passionate about
the Senate race. And the popularity of Salazar isn’t likely to last as the
GOP nominees (either Schaffer, or, more likely, Coors) get up to speed.
Coupled with last month’s odd decision to spend money on fundraising ads in
New York, California, Washington, Wisconsin, and New Jersey, you’ve got to
wonder if the Kerry advertising strategists are either geniuses, seeing
things no one else does, or fools, seeing things no one else does.