Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) remains vulnerable, with Quinnipiac University polls for the past six months showing voters divided on his job performance. But another statewide race is emerging as congressional Democrats suffer following the rocky rollout of the health care law, according to the new Q poll: The percentage of voters who disapprove of Democratic Sen. Mark Udall‘s job performance has been climbing since the spring, and he now appears to face a tougher reelection battle than previously thought. Once again, Colorado looks like a battleground state, as it was in the presidential race in 2012 and 2008, and in the 2010 Senate race.
— Udall’s approval rating now stands at 44% approve/44% disapprove. While the percentage of voters who approve of Udall’s performance is steady from early June, the percentage who disapprove rose from 31% in the late spring. As a result, his reelect is upside down, and he holds only a 3-point lead over 2010 nominee Ken Buck (R). Hickenlooper, meanwhile, is in similar shape. He holds mid-single-digit leads over the GOP crop of candidates, but more voters say he doesn’t deserve reelection.
— Colorado Republicans have two big opportunities, but it’s less clear that they have the candidates to capitalize on them. Buck and former Rep. Tom Tancredo (R) remain popular among the GOP base, the Q poll shows. But roughly 2-in-5 voters say they haven’t heard enough about the two to form an opinion, and Democrats won’t lack for TV-ad fodder if one or both is on the statewide ticket.
— Udall is the more interesting case. He has gone to great lengths to distinguish himself from President Obama on two issues: health care and government surveillance. Still, it’s clear that Obama’s abysmal approval rating — 36%, down 7 points from June — is weighing on Udall’s reelection prospects.
Democrats — even including those in second-tier seats without impressive Republican opposition, like Udall — are hoping that Obama’s sinking approval ratings represent the nadir for their party, and not the first signs of a rising wave against them. They have a lot riding on the continuing implementation of the health care law, and, if things don’t turn around soon, flawed GOP opposition might not be enough to save them.
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The House on Tuesday voted 403-12 "to pass an overhaul to the nation’s chemical safety standards for the first time in four decades. The Frank R. Lautenberg Chemical Safety for the 21st Century Act aims to answer years of complaints that the Environmental Protection Agency lacks the necessary authority to oversee and control the thousands of chemicals being produced and sold in the United States. It also significantly clamps down on states’ authorities, in an effort to stop a nationwide patchwork of chemical laws that industry says is difficult to deal with."
"Leaders of the Republican Party have begun internal deliberations over making fundamental changes to the way its presidential nominees are chosen, a recognition that the chaotic process that played out this year is seriously flawed and helped exacerbate tensions within the party." Among the possible changes: forbidding independent voters to cast ballots in Republican primaries, and "doubling the number of early states to eight."
Citing the unpredictable nature of this primary season and the possible leverage they could bring at the convention, John Kasich is hanging onto his 161 delegates. "Kasich sent personal letters Monday to Republican officials in the 16 states and the District of Columbia where he won delegates, requesting that they stay bound to him in accordance with party rules."
"Speaker Paul Ryan is changing the rules of how the House will consider spending measures to try to prevent Democrats from offering surprise amendments that have recently put the GOP on defense. ... Ryan announced at a House GOP conference meeting Tuesday morning that members will now have to submit their amendments ahead of time so that they are pre-printed in the Congressional Record, according to leadership aides." The change will take effect after the Memorial Day recess.
Bernie Sanders "signed a letter Tuesday morning requesting a full and complete check and recanvass of the election results in Kentucky ... where he trails Hillary Clinton by less than one-half of 1 percent of the vote. The Sanders campaign said it has asked the Kentucky secretary of state to have election officials review electronic voting machines and absentee ballots from last week's primary in each of the state's 120 counties.