Of all the findings in PPP’s latest Colorado release, these two seem most important:
-The recalls of two Democratic State Senators in September weren’t an anomaly when it comes to how Colorado voters are feeling about the state legislature. Republicans lead the statewide generic legislative ballot by a 47/42 margin, including a 41/30 advantage with independents. Those numbers are perhaps also indicative of how much trouble Democrats would be in at the top of the ticket next year if the GOP candidate fields were a little bit stronger.
-Democrats did well in the Presidential election in Colorado in both 2008 and 2012, but very early indications are that 2016 could be a lot dicier. Hillary Clinton trails Chris Christie 46/39 and Rand Paul 47/45 in hypothetical match ups, although she does lead Ted Cruz 48/45 and Jeb Bush 47/43.
As to the first: Democrats won the last gerrymandering war in court, so Republicans will probably underperform even if they enjoy numbers this good next November. Still, the Democrats’ majority is threatened. People are angry about the state legislature. And if Colorado Republicans could only find some decent statewide candidates (they haven’t had any since 2002, which was followed by Gov. Bill Owens’ implosion), they could probably start winning again, building good brands, and pick up right where they left off.
As to the second finding, a message for Democrats: Welcome to the post-Obama political world. Are you not liking what you see? Thank your overconfidence of recent years, and your credulous extrapolation of Obama-era results to a Democratic future. Maybe things just won’t be so easy without Obama on the ballot.
To see a Hillary Clinton, with 100 percent name recognition, polling in the high 30s against anyone in a putative swing state reminds me of a bygone political era. One interpretation is that President Obama has not so much transformed the American political scene as he has contributed an interlude.