Ed Perlmutter Archives - Colorado Politics
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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 24, 201812min1030


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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 18, 20183min13960

Veteran pollster Floyd Ciruli says Colorado’s political landscape that’s evolving, and Thursday he will moderate a panel that will tell us where it’s headed.

The program, “Colorado Politics in 2018: Transition in the Age of Polarization,” is from 4 to 6 p.m., followed by a reception, in Room 1150 at the Sié Center at 2201 S. Gaylord St. at the University of Denver.

Ciruli is the director of the Crossley Center, as well as a columnist for Colorado Politics.

The panel will include:

  • Dick Wadhams, a former state Republican Party chairman and renowned political campaign manager and senior staffer for such leaders as former Gov. Bill Owens and the late Bill Armstrong, a U.S. senator from Colorado.
  • Steve Welchert, a Democratic consultant for such as leaders as Mayor Federico Peña and U.S. Ed Perlmutter, as well as a raft of Colorado ballot issues.
  • Melanie Layton and Zoey DeWolf, lobbyists for the firm Colorado Legislative Services.
  • Vincent Carroll, former editorial page editor for the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post.

Admission is free, but space is limited, so those who plan to attend should RSVP to Jane Bucher-McCoy at jane.bucher-mccoy@du.edu or 303-871-2882.

“Colorado is in a major political transition,” Ciruli tells Colorado Politics. “A Democratic governor with both houses of the legislature under Democratic control could revive the 2013 lurch to the left. On the other hand, a Republican governor with even one house of the legislature could move the state to the right.”

He said DeWolf and Layton will point out and size up key legislative races — Democrats hold a nine-seat edge in the House, but Republicans have only a one-seat majority in the state Senate.

Wadhams and Welchert will talk about the partisan political temperature, while Carroll gives a media overview.

Panel is cosponsored by Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research and Institute for Public Policy Studies at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningFebruary 18, 201816min564

THEY GRABBED A CLIPBOARD ... It looks like a lot of Coloradans took the advice of a certain soon-to-be-former president. In his farewell address, delivered just over a week before leaving office, President Barack Obama said an oft-quoted line — "If you're disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself" — that might have launched a thousand candidacies, including quite a few here in Colorado.


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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 10, 201813min3950


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Joey BunchJoey BunchFebruary 9, 20189min26161

Editor’s note: Scott Adler, the director of the American Politics Research Lab, contacted Colorado Politics to say the staff reversed the racial makeup of one of its questions. The original column is below.

The headline from the newly released Colorado Political Climate Survey is that Sens. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet, as well as the governor and the legislature, are slipping in popularity.

The report includes a buffet for politicos to chew on, hosever, including whether they believe the forecast that shows a chilly Colorado for incumbents, especially Republicans who have a 239-pound stable genius on their backs.

The findings from CU’s American Politics Research Lab, however, suggest it’s not a good year to wander too far to the right on the campaign trail, but as President Trump can tell you, polls have been wrong before.

Republican political operatives rolled out big time against the survey to undermine the findings, nicking it on methodology, first that the sample was 47 percent Democrats, 33 percent Republicans and 20 percent independents. In Colorado the three are relatively even.

Most of the CU survey doesn’t break out the results by race, but for a question about race relations, respondents who said they were a racial minority outnumbered white respondents more than 2 to 1 — in a state that’s 81 percent white.

That all can be true, but in the “cry wolf” realm, spin doctors complaining about the methodology of an unflattering poll is as much a part of the political game as a punt is to football; you shouldn’t do it too much.

The findings seem consistent with other polls. The CU survey put Trump’s approval rating in Colorado is 34 percent. That’s not significantly lower than the president’s national polling numbers, 38.4 percent approval, with includes his solid support across the Deep South.

Last November, about the same time that CU was asking questions, the Keating Colorado Poll collecting public opinions that indicated 64 percent of Coloradans had an unfavorable view of the president. Pretty close, and the Keating poll was close to evenly divided between party affiliations, plus those polled were 72 percent white.

Besides the worried Republican and giddy Democratic insiders I chat with, my experienced brain knows it’s not a great year to run as a Trump ally.

Don’t believe me? How Tom Tancredo, the most optimistic man in politics who dropped out of the race last week, as our Ernest Luning was quick to report, because he couldn’t raise money.

“It will be hard for any Republican to win this state,” he told CBS4.

This year unaffiliated voters can cast ballots in party primaries, which makes it even more unpredictable and perilous to chum up to the president’s more divisive positions on immigration, women or Russian meddling.

Trump got only 34 percent support from independent voters in a, Gallup Poll, while presidents have typically gotten 60 percent from them after a year.

Gardner has done a good job to support the Republican agenda and yet keep his distance when the president and his base steer the GOP onto the highway to the danger zone.

After a year in which the billionaire who Gardner once called a “buffoon” occupied the White House, the amicable politician from Yuma, a man perceived as politically popular, saw his approval rating slide from 43 percent to 25 percent.

But Gardner is where the cracks in the CU poll show up. The Keating Poll the same month had Gardner at 44 percent approval. A month before, the Morning Consult poll ranked Gardner one of the 10 biggest losers in approval ratings slides, down 18 points to 39 percent approval  among Colorado voters. But 57 percent before seemed a bit unlikely, as well, given a poll, flawed or not, that has him at 25. Polls are snapshots, and the scenery is always changing.

If that’s the Trump burden on Gardner, it should have the attention of politicians who aren’t nearly as skilled or well-liked as Cory. There aren’t many.

There’s all kinds of talk, which now only get louder, about which home-run establishment Democrat will challenge Gardner in 2020. Names that get thrown around: Hickenlooper, House Speaker Crisanta Duran and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, off the top of my head.

But if she can put together the money and political infrastructure, University of Colorado scientist Trish Zornio is a bright, likeable candidate Coloradans have been known to embrace. And maybe her time is right. Democrats refused to break from the party’s unspoken line of succession in 2016 and funneled the nomination to Hillary Clinton, when the passion was behind a 75-year-old New England socialist named Bernie.

Congress, however, could only wish for Gardner’s numbers. Only 14 percent of the representative sample of Coloradans approved of the job performance of the legislative branch. This one is the least troubling. Americans have this innate blind spot to separate Congress, the institution, from the person they send there. Down South we say, “He may be a fool, but he’s our fool.”

You could call it the Mike Coffman Effect, because the independent-minded congressman from a diverse swing district has proven hard to beat. If it’s a wave year for Democrats, the tide would have to rise pretty high to take out buoyant Mike. That could be the watermark for what kind of year this is.

Incumbent Republican legislators — in a small pool of competitive districts — will need to conjure up some magic Mike, looking at the CU report. A year ago the General Assembly had a 51 percent approval rating. This year it’s 43 percent. Democrats are still at 60 percent, but Republicans got only 27.

Look, it’s still four seasons until next November, and nothing is as unpredictable as politics and weather.  The mind of the voter  is like chasing autumn leaves, but right now they’re blowing to the left.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningJanuary 28, 201810min1017

UPDATE: According to officials with the Colorado secretary of state's office, the candidates who had difficulty filing campaign finance reports earlier this month, including those whose "major contributor" donations initially showed up twice in posted reports, weren't to blame for the mishaps. It turns out, a procedure on the secretary of state's side to convert spreadsheets filed by campaigns' agents wasn't handling the data properly — a glitch officials say they didn't fully grasp was botching the reports until days after the filing deadline. While some campaigns — and veteran compliance agent Marge Klein — took responsibility for what they thought were their own errors, below, the secretary of state's office says they were doing everything properly.