Quinnipiac Senate Poll: Ah, Nevermind

Jumping the polling shark

Meanwhile, over at Quinnipiac University…

The big news in Colorado politics yesterday was the release of a Quinnipiac University poll on the Governor's race showing — rather unbelievably, really — Republican Bob Beauprez leading Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper by an astounding 10-point margin. Quinnipiac's findings were roundly dismissed by political and polling experts around the country, and perhaps rightly so, given that no other publicly-available polls have ever indicated anything even remotely similar in the Governor's race.

So it was that today Quinnipiac released results from its polling of the U.S. Senate race, and guess what? According to Quinnipiac, Republican Congressman Cory Gardner is leading Democratic Sen. Mark Udall by a not-at-all-believable 8 points. As the Mark Matthews of the Denver Post explains:

The survey of more than 1,200 likely Colorado voters favored Gardner 48 to 40 percent to the incumbent Udall, with independent, or unaffiliated, candidate Steve Shogan taking home 8 percent

Quinnipiac's findings depart significantly from a Denver Post poll conducted last week that found Udall leading Gardner by 4 percentage points.

Similarly, Gardner's biggest advantage over Udall before the latest Quinnipiac results was 2 percentage points, according to a tally of more than dozen polls of both likely and registered voters recorded by Real Clear Politics. Other recent polls have shown the Udall and Gardner in a statistical tie or even a Udall advantage.

There is absolutely no political "spin" required in response to this poll, because the explanation is pretty simple: if Quinnipiac is correct, then every other polling outfit in the country has been wrong. Just in case you are still conflicted about the answer to the previous question, consider this nugget from The Post:

Prior to Wednesday's release, Beauprez biggest lead was 1 percentage point, even among other polls of likely voters. Most recent polls have shown the two gubernatorial candidates within the margin of error.

In both of its polls this week, Quinnipiac relied on the same 1,211 likely Colorado voters contacted between Sept. 10 and Sept. 15. [Pols emphasis]

Now, we're no polling experts here at Colorado Pols, but if the same group of respondents are giving you the same outlier answers on the race for Governor and U.S. Senate, it's a good bet that your sample is screwed up. If that isn't evidence enough for you, consider this: Quinnipiac has Independent candidate Steve Shogan picking up enough support for 8 percent of the vote. To understand the silliness of that result, consider that in 2010, there was no Independent candidate for Governor or U.S. Senate who received even 1 percent of the vote. Obviously there are a bunch of undecided voters in the Senate race, which is no surprise, but it's completely absurd to postulate that an Independent candidate is nearing 10% of the vote in Colorado.

You can go ahead and ignore the Quinnipiac polling results from this week — and probably for the rest of the 2014 election cycle. Consider this shark officially jumped.

Rep. Scott Tipton Alters The Deal

Scott Tipton finds your lack of faith disturbing.

Tipton finds your lack of faith disturbing.

​Staff writer Iulia Gheorghiu of the Durango Herald reports, locals are crying foul over a proposed amendment to legislation to protect the Hermosa Creek watershed that Rep. Scott Tipton has been working on allegedly in cooperation with them:

U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton recently released a potential amendment to the Hermosa Creek Watershed Protection Act, changing the House bill from the agreed-upon wording drafted by community consensus…

“People are very disturbed that this process, which was designed locally and has very strong local consensus with support from Congressman Tipton, has become a very different piece of legislation,” said Jimbo Buickerood, the public-lands coordinator at San Juan Citizens Alliance, an environmental protection group based in Durango…

But Josh Green, Tipton’s press secretary, said the bill is inherently the same.

“The amendment will in no way change the outcome of the legislation’s goals agreed upon by the stakeholders,” Green wrote in an email…

But that's not what the stakeholders say.

The amendment has removed a small paragraph on “Use of Conveyed Land.” Currently, certain areas are open to hard-rock mining and logging. The five-line paragraph that was removed acted as a safeguard against future exploitation of the land.

“There’s nothing in here that says they couldn’t turn it over to a developer of oil or a developer of gas,” senior director of the Wilderness Society Jeremy Garncarz said of the effect of dropping the paragraph…

The bill had been a collaboration involving two counties, multiple conservation groups and outdoor recreational groups, and more than 200 local businesses in La Plata and San Juan counties.

“The amendment guts it,” Garncarz said. “It throws all of that work out the window.” [Pols emphasis]

Partisan political considerations being what they are, conservationists start out leery of Republicans like Tipton for self-evident reasons. To the extent that Tipton has been able to mollify them by appearing willing to work with conservation minded stakeholders, it's been good for him politically. In other cases, like the still unresolved controversy over drilling in the Thompson Divide, Tipton has professed indecision, and tried to keep himself on the "persuadable" side of the persuadable vs. political adversary divide. It can mean a lot in an election year simply to keep stakeholders guessing–just enough to not risk attempting to hold you accountable (see Mike Coffman on immigration).

This could be the kind of swindle to make those local stakeholders regret giving Tipton the benefit of the doubt.

Thursday Open Thread

The meaning of all of that
Some media is the whack
You believe it's true
It blows me through the roof

–Public Enemy

Coffman Surrogates Flail While Dems Hit Harder

As the Denver Post's Jon Murray reports, the Nancy Pelosi hate is back from GOP-aligned supporters of embattled GOP Rep. Mike Coffman, who are apparently still hoping the San Francisco congresswoman can drive 2010's "wave" voters back to the polls in Colorado:

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce disclosed that it’s spending $300,000 to place the ad widely. The group previously has spent more than $450,000 in support of Republican U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman’s re-election campaign against Romanoff, the former Colorado House speaker, in suburban Denver’s 6th Congressional District.

The ad’s message isn’t too surprising — it’s a gut-level appeal to voters who might be turned off by Pelosi, who’s raised money for Romanoff — but the claims made in it get plenty of pushback from the Romanoff campaign.

Romanoff on Monday used the ad in a fundraising email to supporters… [Pols emphasis]

Folks, we ask this question in all seriousness: is there a single voter in CD-6 who is "turned off by Pelosi" at a "gut-level" in any way undecided on how they're going to vote in this race? We've never really understood the Pelosi demonization stuff from Republicans, except that they must assume their blinding hatred of Pelosi is shared by legions of voters who feel the same way. It makes even less sense when you consider that Democrats have been out of power in the House for almost four years, and it's John Boehner's GOP-controlled House in the basement of all the polls now. Nancy who?

Outside of the FOX News Channel's existing audience, and others planted firmly in the GOP camp as it is–none of whom could ever be expected to break for Romanoff–we just don't see who is going to be motivated by this ad. Maybe some Democrats who like Pelosi will cheer that Romanoff is on her team? For everybody else, it's a message from out-of-touch political strategists who don't understand that the rest of the world doesn't think like they do.

While the U.S. Chamber of Commerce flails away with 2010's anti-Pelosi message, Democrats and their allies are starting to pile on with attacks that actually may leave a mark. A press release from liberal group ProgressNow Colorado announces new billboards and targeted digital ads going up in Coffman's district with a much simpler message:

viololaley

At a press conference this morning, ProgressNow Colorado, the state's largest online progressive advocacy organization, unveiled a new ad campaign in Colorado's Sixth Congressional District targeting Rep. Mike Coffman. Titled "Violó La Ley (Broke the Law)," the billboard directs Spanish-speaking voters to the Corrupto Coffman website, which presents details about Coffman's political record. The website can be viewed at www.corruptocoffman.com…

"We have come together today as a community uniting against a career politician who has disgracefully used his public office for his own personal gain and who has a pattern of corruption," said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyon-Harms at today's press conference. "These aren't Colorado values, and we're here today to make sure voters know about Mike Coffman's shady past."

Bottom line: while Republicans labor to scandalize that Andrew Romanoff is friends with some woman named Nancy Pelosi, Democrats are telling voters in both English and Spanish that Mike Coffman "broke the law."

Which one do you think will do more damage? We going to guess not the nice lady from San Francisco.

Round and Round and Round We Go…New Poll Has Hickenlooper Up 7

Polling disparity in Colorado governor's race

Another new poll shows Hickenlooper leading the Governor’s race by this much.

UPDATE: Or…maybe Hickenlooper is up by 2 points? After a morning of polling flurries, we'd say we're pretty well back to where we ended the day yesterday.

Earlier today, Quinnipiac University released polling results from the Colorado Governor's race that had Republican Bob Beauprez leading Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper by a 10-point margin. We were skeptical of these numbers when we first saw them, and apparently we weren't alone; as James Hohmann wrote in Politico, nobody who is paying close attention to this race actually believes that Beauprez has a 10-point lead.

The Quinnipiac poll results were questionable from the jump because the results are such an extreme outlier compared to all of the other publicly-available polling in this race…including those from yet another new poll. According to Project New America, a progressive research organization with a long history of polling in Colorado, their data shows Hickenlooper with a 7-point lead over Beauprez:

- John HIckenlooper leads by seven points in Colorado (51% to 44%). The gap in strong support is similar (+7), with 49% firmly in the Governor’s camp and 42% solidly behind Beauprez.

- Importantly, in the Governor’s race, while Hickenlooper holds a slight edge among self-identified independents (47 percent for Hickenlooper to 43 percent for Beauprez), Beauprez suffers from double-digit defections among self-identified Republicans (14 for Hickenlooper to 86 percent for Beauprez). Hickenlooper has far fewer defections among self-identified Democrats (he leads among them 91 to 5 percent).

- Notably, among the 94 percent of voters who can identify John Hickenlooper, positive impressions of him remain slightly higher than negative impressions with 44 percent expressing warm, favorable feelings and 39 percent expressing cool, unfavorable feelings. In contrast, among the 79 percent of voters who can identify Bob Beauprez today negative impressions outweigh positive ones by 4-points, with 34 percent expressing cool, negative feelings and 30 percent expressing warm, positive feelings.

You can debate whether you believe the Quinnipiac poll is more accurate than the Project New America poll, but the latter is much more comparable to last week's SurveyUSA/Denver Post poll on the Governor's race.

If this entire story seems somewhat familiar — it should. It was at about this same point in the 2006 Governor's race that Steve Paulson of the Associated Press inexplicably reported that the race between Beauprez and Democrat Bill Ritter was essentially a toss-up. That story was particularly absurd, given that every other known poll had Ritter with a better than double-digit lead over Beauprez (Ritter would win that race by a 17-point margin).

Clock ticking on Gardner’s opportunity to withdraw his co-sponsorship from federal personhood bill

(Will he or won't he? Does it even matter now? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Cory Gardner.

Cory Gardner.

It's a big week for senatorial candidate Cory Gardner, as the clock ticks down on his opportunity to withdraw his co-sponsorship from a federal personhood bill, which aims to ban all abortion, even for rape and incest.

To get his name off the legislation, Gardner is required to make a speech from the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives, which is expected to adjourn as early as this week. And it would not meet again prior to the election. So this is Gardner's last chance.

Fact checkers in Colorado (here and here plus yours truly) and nationally have concluded that the Life at Conception Act, which Gardner cosponsored just last year, is substantive legislation, written and promoted by its sponsors to end a women's right to choose.

But, inexplicably, both Gardner and his spokespeople, like Owen Loftus,  have told reporters that the bill is symbolic. Most recently, Gardner told 9News' Brandon Rittiman, "There is no federal personhood bill." The bill he cosponsored "says life begins at conception," Gardner told Rittiman. Loftus once said, "The Democrats like to say that it is personhood but it's not."

Given these statements by Gardner, who's challenging pro-choice Democrat Sen. Mark Udall, you wouldn't expect Gardner to withdraw his name at this point, because he'd have a mouthful of explaining to do–like why he thinks his legislation is symbolic when no one else does.

Reporters should put that question to Gardner regardless of whether he removes his name form the bill in the coming weeks.  Why is he repeating the documented falsehood that the Life at Conception Act is symbolic, given the text of the legislation and the fact checks. With the deadline approaching, now would be a really great time to ask him.

New Q-Poll: Beauprez 50%, Hickenlooper 40%

UPDATE #2: The Denver Post quotes other pollsters openly questioning Quinnipiac's numbers:

Jay Leve, editor of SurveyUSA, who oversaw a Denver Post poll released last week that had drastically different findings, questioned the Quinnipiac poll's results.

"We at SurveyUSA have a great deal of respect for Quinnipiac, but we don't see the race this way," he said. "This (poll) stands out as different than a collective of polls from across the country."

Leve cited the USA Today poll that had the same results as the SurveyUSA poll as proof of the Quinnipiac poll's inconsistency.

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UPDATE: Politico's James Hohmann throws cold water on today's Q-poll:

No one in the game really believes that Beauprez is ahead by double digits a month-and-a-half out from the election. [Pols emphasis] A Denver Post/SurveyUSA poll last week had Hickenlooper up 2 points, 45-43, among likely voters. The NBC/Marist Poll in the field Sept. 2-4, showed Hickenlooper up 4 points, 43-39.

A Quinnipiac survey of registered voters from July put Beauprez up 1, 44 percent to 43 percent.

Quinnipiac, which also overestimated Mitt Romney’s standing in Colorado in [2012], didn’t release Senate numbers today. But the Senate ballot is likely to be better for GOP Rep. Cory Gardner than other public surveys when it comes out later in the week.

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Bob Beauprez.

You say you want a revolution, well you know…

Just one day after 9NEWS reported that the Republican Governors Association's media buys in support of GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez have run out with no new buys on the horizon, a poll from Quinnipiac University today–outlier or not–challenges conventional wisdom about this race yet again. As FOX 31's Chuck Hikey reports:

In a stunning reversal from previous polling, a Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday morning shows Republican gubernatorial challenger Bob Beauprez with a 10-point lead over Gov. John Hickenlooper less than two months from Election Day.

The poll from Connecticut-based Quinnipiac has Beauprez leading Hickenlooper 50 percent to 40 percent among likely voters.

In July, Quinnipiac had the race tied.

While 77 percent of likely voters say their mind is made up, 22 percent said they could change their mind in the next seven weeks.

The Colorado Springs Gazette's Megan Schrader:

The poll also asked voters whether they would say "John Hickenlooper is honest and trustworthy or not." According to the poll, 44 percent said no, while when asked the same question about Beauprez, 28 percent said no.

And while Beauprez has the support of 54 percent of the men polled and Hickenlooper has 34 percent, the two were essentially tied among women – a key demographic in the elections this year.

Hickenlooper is also behind with the support of independent voters, who in Colorado hold serious sway over election results, making up nearly a third of all registered voters.

And from Quinnipiac's memo:

"Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is behind the challenger on the key qualities voters want in a leader: honesty, caring and leadership," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll. 

"Pundits were predicting that Gov. Hickenlooper faced a close race for reelection. Instead, he's got a mad dash to make up a double-digit deficit. The Democrat does not get the traditional strong support from women to offset Bob Beauprez's army of support from men."

First of all, and it can be said without sounding at all defensive–this poll is most certainly an outlier unless corroborated by other polls. Only one other poll has shown a lead for Beauprez in this race, when conservative-leaning Rasmussen pegged Beauprez with a statistically insignificant 1-point lead earlier this month. Every other read of this race we have seen shows it to be too close to call, with Hickenlooper technically up by a point or two. As we said yesterday, we've heard rumors about internal polling that shows a bleaker picture for Republicans in both the gubernatorial and U.S. Senate races. Up until this poll, though, all publicly available polling has been locked in a tight range.

Bottom line: even if this poll is quickly shown by other polling to be off as we suspect will happen, it gives a big boost to Beauprez's campaign in the short term. Conversely, Gov. John Hickenlooper's campaign can flog this poll with their donor base to instill a sense of urgency–perhaps less of an advantage given Hickenlooper's already massive leading in fundraising, but it will still be useful. Outlier or not, there's nothing about this poll that should make Hickenlooper's supporters complacent. With polling in the U.S. Senate race showing Mark Udall opening a small but persistent lead, problems unique to Hickenlooper (and fairly recent) are his own to remedy.

The only thing we can add is that there is still a very large gap between voter perception of Beauprez as evidenced in this poll, and the words that have come out of Beauprez's mouth into the permanent record. Aside from a couple of isolated exposures, the "WTF Gang"-worthy Bob Beauprez our readers know has never really been introduced to the public. Even worse, he's been misleadingly cast in the local press as a "mainstream moderate," a description that frankly baffles us given what we have reported in this space. How can that term be accurately used on a civil war-fantasizing birther who thinks climate change is a "complete hoax" and sees Sharia law lurking around every corner?

We've heard that information, properly presented, really changes the poll numbers. The problem is that the large majority voters only know what they are told, and they haven't been told much about Beauprez. In the next six weeks, whether Hickenlooper takes the gloves off or third party groups unleash the video clips we all know are out there, the other shoe will drop after Hickenlooper's undeniably tough political summer. In the end, we just don't think Hickenlooper can fall fast enough, or Beauprez rise high enough, to change the outcome.

It had better go down that way, because most people who know the full story are legitimately horrified by the prospect of Bob Beauprez actually being elected governor of Colorado.

Wednesday Open Thread

False media
We don't need it do we?
It's fake that's what it be to 'ya, dig me?
Don't believe the hype

–Public Enemy

RGA Already Done in Colorado? Time Will Tell

Take note of 9NEWS' Brandon Rittiman's report today on the new ad out from GOP gubernatorial nominee Bob Beauprez–not necessarily for Beauprez's sweet nothingburger of a positive new TV spot (above), but for what he says about the Republican Governors Association's spending on this race:

Republican gubernatorial challenger Bob Beauprez hit Colorado airwaves for the first time this week as a key GOP group will go quiet in the TV ad battle against incumbent Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colorado).

The opening TV ad for the Beauprez campaign brings up education as its focus.

The timing of Beauprez' first ad coincides with what appears to be the end (for now) of TV ad buys in Colorado from the Republican Governor's Association. [Pols emphasis]

FCC records on Tuesday showed the group had no TV time beyond this week.

RGA spokesperson Jon Thompson declined to say whether the group is finished buying TV time on behalf of Beauprez, saying "we don't discuss future ad buys or our ad strategy publicly."

It's certainly possible that the RGA will spend more money on behalf of Beauprez, but it's worth noting that most of the available television ad time between now and the election has already been snapped up. Stations could still sell some ad time to third-party groups, perhaps, but at this point in the election cycle, those spots would be very, very, very expensive. What this could otherwise indicate, a deprioritization of Beauprez in favor of what the RGA considers more winnable races, may be more likely than publicly available polling indicates. For several weeks, there have been widespread rumors that internal polling in the Colorado gubernatorial race does not look good for the GOP–either up front, or especially once voters are given a few key negatives about Beauprez our readers already know well.

If those rumors are accurate, we assume Chris Christie and the RGA know it too…

Right Wing Jeffco School Board Seeks “Review” Of History

book-burning

The new conservative majority on the Jefferson County, Colorado Board of Education is barreling ahead with an ideological agenda that continues to provoke major controversy–both behind the scenes and incerasingly in public. Last week, the Jefferson County Education Association issued a vote of 'no confidence' in board chairman Ken Witt, citing among a long list of grievances recent decisions about teacher compensation by the board majority based on a discredited evaluation model.

The latest proposal from the conservative majority, though, could be considered downright chilling:

Board Committee for Curriculum Review.

The committee shall be seated by the Board. Each director may nominated up to three candidates for the committee and the entire board then will vote to select the nine (9) members of the committee. The charge to the committee is to review curricular choices for conformity to JeffCo academic standards, accuracy and omissions, and to inform the board of any objectionable materials. The committee shall regularly review texts and curriculum according to priorities that it establishes, however, at any time, the Board may add items to the list for review. The committee shall report all comments (majority and minority) to the board in writing on a weekly basis as items are reviewed. Board members may move for discussion or action on items reported when matters warrant public discussion or action. The committee’s initial projects will be a review of the AP US History curriculum and elementary health curriculum.

Review criteria shall include the following: instructional materials should present the most current factual information accurately and objectively. Theories should be distinguished from fact. Materials should promote citizenship, patriotism, essentials and benefits of the free enterprise system, respect for authority and respect for individual rights. Materials should not encourage or condone civil disorder, social strife or disregard of the law. Instructional materials should present positive aspects of the United States and its heritage. [Pols emphasis] Content pertaining to political and social movements in history should present balanced and factual treatment of the positions.

A subset of the conservative backlash against the Common Core educational standards supported by the National Governor's Association and others is opposition to the "liberal slant" of new Advanced Placement high school history curricula, in use this year for the first time. It's a very old complaint on the right that public school social studies courses don't teach "American values" to students, which is then attributed to a host of social ills caused by those students failure to be educated in, as you read above, "positive aspects of the United States and its heritage." Educators have long rejected this as partisan political bloviation, but the updated AP courses this year have given conservatives a fresh opportunity to air time-honored grievances.

The biggest problem, of course, is that the new conservative board majority is not constrained by any sense of objective factuality. The will to "fix" the district's curriculum to conform to–or at least facilitate–an ideology has the majority power to override the will of education experts. And it looks like they intend to use that power.

We're not aware of that ever having had a good outcome…you know, in history.

Gardner even dodges “friendliest audience you could ever hope for”

(Afraid to go on Caplis? Seriously? – Promoted by Colorado Pols)

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

Rep. Cory Gardner (R).

KNUS radio host Dan Caplis said this morning that during 21 years on air, he's "never had trouble booking Cory Gardner."

But he said, "we have had, on a regular basis, trouble booking Cory Gardner for the last three-or-four months," even though his show has the "friendliest audience you could ever hope for."

"My concern is whether [the Gardner] campaign, and this is where I get back to tactics, has allowed Cory to be Cory, and whether they've had him out there enough. And whether it's been a play-not-to-lose strategy. That's my concern, because I think Cory is magnificent. I know even on this show, which is about the friendliest audience you could ever hope for, we have had on a regular basis trouble booking Cory Gardner for the last three or four months. And I've been on air 21 years, and I never had trouble booking Cory before."

Listen to Dan Caplis discuss his troubles booking Gardner for his friendly show.

You gotta give credit to Caplis, who sounds on air like he runs in elite Republican circles, for coming clean with his criticism of Gardner's media dodge.

Romanoff Breaks Down Issues in Clear Language

People are naturally cynical about politicians. Sometimes that cynicism is justified, and it can often result from a politician's inability to speak to voters about issues in a way that is relatable to them.

Elias Isquith of Salon magazine recently interviewed Democrat Andrew Romanoff about his effort to unseat incumbent Republican Congressman Mike Coffman. There are several interesting parts to Isquith's wide-ranging interview with Romanoff, but one particular exchange stood out to us as a great example of why Romanoff is such a difficult opponent for Coffman. Take a look at how Romanoff answered a question about Coffman's support for shutting down the government last October:

When Congressman Coffman and his colleagues in the House voted to shut down the government a year ago, that inflicted real damage on Colorado, and I suspect on every other state — and people remember.

To give you some examples: If you were doing medical research at the campus here in Aurora, it’s called the Anschutz Medical Campus, and you can’t get a grant continued and you have to turn patients away because of the government shutdown, you remember. If you’re an employee at the local Air Force base, also here in Aurora, and you don’t know whether you’re going to have a job in the morning because your own congressman shut down the government, you remember. If you’re a senior who doesn’t know whether your Social Security check is going to arrive because your congressman shut down the government, you remember that pretty clearly. [Pols emphasis]

I actually just had this conversation, literally the question you’re asking me, at … one of the doors I was knocking on over the weekend in our district. And a woman asked me, she said, “Why are we paying you guys?” Meaning Congress. “If I don’t do my job,” she said, “I don’t get paid. And I certainly don’t get a vacation or a raise.” And it’s a really basic question. It’s an excellent point, I thought. If Congress operated on a pay-for-performance level, they’d be broke.

So it’s very hard for me to understand, and very hard for my neighbors here to understand, why we’re paying a guy who can’t even keep the government functioning, much less advance the priorities that we happen to share … I’d be thrilled if Congress voted to increase the minimum wage, addressed the student loan crisis; it’d be terrific if Congress took action to close the pay gap between men and women, and certainly it would be a great success if Congress took action on immigration reform.

With just a few sentences, Romanoff clearly outlined how and why the government shutdown directly related to voters and residents in CD-6. Romanoff's straightforward way of speaking about issues and their local relevance draws an incredibly sharp contrast with Coffman and his love of word salads.

Election Models Show Huge Momentum for Udall

Udall-Gardner-Race

Sen. Mark Udall appears to be pulling away from Rep. Cory Gardner (as well as Lincoln and…Jefferson?)

Big news this morning from our friends at the Washington Post blog "The Fix"

Democrats are now (very slightly) favored to hold the Senate majority on Nov. 4, according to Election Lab, the Post's statistical model of the 2014 midterm elections.

Election Lab puts Democrats' chances of retaining their majority at 51 percent —  a huge change from even a few months ago when the model predicted that Republicans had a better than 80 percent chance of winning the six seats they need to take control. (Worth noting: When the model showed Republicans as overwhelming favorites, our model builders — led by George Washington University's John Sides — warned that the model could and would change as more actual polling — as opposed to historical projections — played a larger and larger role in the calculations. And, in Republicans' defense, no one I talked to ever thought they had an 80 percent chance of winning the majority.)

So, what exactly has changed to move the Election Lab projection? Three big things:

* Colorado: On August 27 — the last time I wrote a big piece on the model — Election Lab said Sen. Mark Udall (D) had a 64 percent chance of winning. Today he has a 94 percent chance…[Pols emphasis]

…Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight model now has Republican chances of winning the Senate at 55 percent, down from 64 percent 12 days ago. "The two states with the largest shifts have been Colorado and North Carolina — in both cases, the movement has been in Democrats’ direction," writes Silver. "That accounts for most of the difference in the forecast."

The extent to which Sen. Mark Udall appears to be pulling away from Republican Rep. Cory Gardner is a bit surprising, though we've been saying for weeks that Udall has all the momentum in this race; last week we increased Udall's odds of winning to 65% in our latest election "model" (The Big Line) . This new prediction about the Colorado Senate race is also not an outlier compared to recent news reports; late last week national media outlets were noting that Udall's campaign was starting to pull away from Gardner. As we wrote back in August, Gardner's campaign has been throwing all sorts of different messages at the wall in hopes of getting something to stick — a lack of direction that usually indicates a campaign that is neither comfortable nor confident in its approach this late in the game.

What do Female Voters REALLY Care About? The Keystone Pipeline!

Pipelines for Women

According to the GOP, female voters are really interested in the Keystone Pipeline. Also, they want to hear candidates talk about car engines and fantasy football.

Further underscoring the news that Sen. Mark Udall appears to be pulling away from Rep. Cory Gardner in the race for the U.S. Senate is this ridiculous new TV ad from Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS group that attempts — and fails — to divert the narrative that Udall is a better choice than Gardner for Colorado women. From Greg Sargent at the Washington Post:

The ad never mentions Personhood or contraception. Instead, it obliquely refers to Dem attacks as “political scare tactics,” even as the featured women declare they want “a real conversation about issues that matter,” such as the economy. But, as Rebecca Berg writes, this ad actually “underscores the challenge Republicans have faced this year appealing to women voters.”

Now, it’s true that the economy is the top concern. But it’s obvious the Personhood movement (which declares that full human rights begin at the moment of fertilization) has, in fact, dogged Gardner. Last spring he disavowed his support for a previous state Personhood effort, admitting it “restricts contraception.” But Dems have pointed out that Gardner still supports a federal Personhood measure that would raise the same possibility of restrictions to some forms of contraception. Gardner has tried coming out for over-the-counter contraception, but he currently trails Dem Senator Mark Udall by double digits among women.

This new ad, which you can view after the jump, is a desperate attempt to change the subject from issues like Personhood and contraception that are absolutely burying Gardner's campaign. For just one example of how women's issues are crippling Gardner, take a look at Shaun Boyd's fact check of a Gardner ad for CBS4 Denver that we discussed yesterday. As Boyd concluded in her story:

Finally, you should know that Gardner is sponsor of a federal Personhood measure that could outlaw many types of birth control including the pill. Bottom line, this isn't about birth control, it's about the female vote. Cory Gardner wants to be seen as pro-women, but his overall record on birth control is not the best example of that.

So, if you're Karl Rove and you want to help Gardner try to prevent a mass exodus of female voters, what do you do? Why, you talk about how Udall voted against the Keystone Pipeline, of course! The entire premise of the ad is absurd, to be sure, but the Keystone Pipeline reference is really the icing on this crappy cake; we see four women standing around a kitchen talking about the election, and we're supposed to believe that they are primarily concerned with Udall's vote on an oil pipeline that won't come anywhere near Colorado? Yeah, right.

(more…)

Don Suppes Joins Ready, Dr. Chaps, in the “WTF Gang”

Don Suppes

TUESDAY UPDATE: It now appears as though both of Suppes' Twitter accounts (@DonSuppes and @DonSuppes2014) have been deactivated. Perhaps the links below were just the tip of the ol' Twitter iceberg for Suppes.

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UPDATE: Don Suppes appears to understand the problem with his social media posts, though it seems he is still trying to figure out how to deal with this problem. Earlier, we wrote that the Twitter accounts @DonSuppes2014 had been disabled, leaving only @DonSuppes as a Twitter account for the candidate. Well…now things have reversed, for some reason. The @DonSuppes account is inactive, but the @DonSuppes2014 accounts has been re-activated. In retrospect, perhaps Suppes should have just refrained from sharing stories about white supremacists and wild conspiracy theories altogether.

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TheWTF-Gang

Tom Ready, Don Suppes, Gordon Klingenschmitt, and Nate Marshall

Republican Don Suppes is running against Democrat Kerry Donovan in SD-5, a huge, meandering Senate district in central Colorado that is one of the most hotly-contested races in 2014.

Suppes is apparently the Mayor of a Western Colorado town called Orchard City, and he likes to say that he is the "most conservative mayor in Colorado." We don't know if that statement contains any truth to it or not, but we won't try to refute it since we've only been aware of the existence of Orchard City for a few hours now. However, we can confidently say that Suppes is not one of the smartest mayors in Colorado, and you'll probably agree after reading this. 

Suppes is the latest Republican candidate to join the group that we'll (not-so-affectionately) call "The WTF Gang" that includes Pueblo County Commissioner candidate Tom Ready; HD-15 Republican nominee Gordon "Dr. Chaps" Klingenschmitt; former HD-23 candidate Nate Marshall; and a host of other characters whose public statements are often met with a similar response from average Coloradans: "WTF are they talking about?"

Following on the heels of the recent idiocy perpetrated by Tom Ready comes a video (after the jump) in which it is revealed that Don Suppes has some, well, interesting, views on race and is really concerned about one of our favorite ridiculous conspiracy theories — the United Nations is coming to steal your guns treaty.  

Don Suppes Twitter

The Twitter account above was deleted sometime in the past few days.

Suppes only recently deleted the Twitter account @DonSuppes2014, presumably to try to scrub the Internet tubes of some horrifying links that the Orchard City Mayor thought were worth considering.

Just last May, for example, Suppes Tweeted the comments, "Interesting read," in linking to Suthenboy.com, a white-supremacist website that predicts "The South Shall Rise." 

You know what is really interesting about this, Don? That you would think nothing of sharing information about white supremacists as both a sitting mayor and a candidate for State Senate.

In conservative Tea Party parlance, which Ready and others have used before, "Interesting information" or "worth of discussion" has become the conversational equivalent of saying "No offense" before saying something mean and/or inappropriate to another person. Check out the video after the jump for more of Suppes' "ideas."

 

 

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