An interesting political poll is out today, commissioned by the group Public Notice and conducted jointly by The Tarrance Group and Hart Research. What’s interesting for this time on the calendar is that it asks no questions about candidates or ballot issues. But the results from 500 likely Colorado voters (asked between Sept 12 and 15) offer some valuable, if not terribly surprising, insights about the upcoming election:
- 68% of likely voters say government spending is too high; only 10% say it is too low….
- Nearly two thirds (61%) named government spending among the most important issues to their vote….
- Nearly two thirds (65%) say government spending is a factor in their own financial situation….
- The perceived impact of government spending reaches across all income levels, from those making less than $30,000 per year (61%) to voters making $100,000 and over (56%)….
- Voters are cynical about the nation’s fiscal future: less than half (39%) believe they will see another federal budget surplus in their lifetime.
A few big takeaways off the top of my head:
- The more the political discussion over the next five weeks remains about government spending and the clear record of fiscal mismanagement in Congress remains front and center, the more vulnerable Democrat incumbents of all stripes become. Even so, Lefty attempts to make wedge issues out of social issues will yield limited value.
- Democrats read polls, too: A couple weeks ago even the Denver Post editorial board opined whether Obama’s latest stimulus proposal was just a straw man to make vulnerable Democrats in Congress look fiscally responsible by saying no…. Um, Michael Bennet, anyone?
- In this kind of generic political environment, in which most voters keenly see the adverse effects of excessive government spending, the opponents of Amendments 60 and 61 and Proposition 101 have their work cut out for them. A lot of work is required to explain and clarify the distinctions between federal and state government spending, responsibility and fiscal constraints — even harder since Governor Ritter and the Democratic majorities in Denver have done their part to make those distinctions that much fuzzier. As a result, it will be more difficult than in previous election cycles to persuade voters that the three statewide initiatives are over-the-top.
Wake me up when it’s November 3!