Spotlight

Rockier Road for Democrats

US President Barack Obama speaks alongside Colorado Senator Mark Udall and Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (R) at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, July 22, 2012, following a visit with victims and family members of last week's shootings during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie, 'The Dark Knight Rises,' at a nearby movie theater that left 12 killed and 58 injured.
National Journal
Steven Shepard
See more stories about...
Steven Shepard
Nov. 20, 2013, 6:45 a.m.

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.

What We're Following See More »
FIRST CHANGE IN FOUR DECADES
Congress Passes Chemical Regulations Overhaul
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

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."

Source:
NO MORE INDEPENDENT VOTERS?
GOP Could Double Number of Early Primaries
2 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"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."

Source:
LEVERAGE
Kasich Tells His Delegates to Remain Pledged to Him
4 hours ago
THE LATEST

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."

Source:
EFFECTIVE NEXT MONTH
House GOP Changes Rules for Spending Measures
4 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"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.

Source:
LOST BY HALF A PERCENTAGE POINT
Sanders Wants a Recount in Kentucky
6 hours ago
THE LATEST

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.

Source:
×