Clear the Bench Colorado today reports the results of a statewide poll that carries some good and bad news. Because the Magellan Strategies survey tests public opinion on the low-exposure issue of judicial retention, to some extent the results would have to be interesting.
We’re not talking about the popularity of candidates vying in well-publicized elections, which often feature a significant undecided vote. What do you do when 65 percent of likely voters confess they don’t even know three Colorado Supreme Court justices are up for retention? You’ve got to get the message out.
Well, for the 894 voters tested from all around Colorado, learning a little basic information makes a difference:
Made aware of the anti-taxpayer decisions of the incumbent Colorado Supreme Court justices appearing on the November ballot, an overwhelming majority of the state’s likely voters say they will opt against retaining the justices for another 10-year term.
So while nearly two-thirds of likely voters acknowledge they don’t even know they can vote state supreme court justices Michael Bender, Alex Martinez and Nancy Rice up-or-down, when they learn a little bit about their anti-taxpayer decisions nearly 8 in 10 say they’ll vote the judges out. Essentially CTBC’s major metric of success. But that’s about 700 voters on board. How do you reach 700,000? Yeah, that’s not the good news part.
Especially not as long as the governor’s race remains in such turmoil for conservatives, it’s a harder sell. With the campaign on a strong current trajectory toward electing Democrat John Hickenlooper, any advantage of clearing the bench is minimized. The clock is ticking. The longer the Maes-Tancredo-Hick showdown persists as it has, the harder it is to get people excited about CTBC.
Yet this survey shows that voters are open to the message. So close. It remains to see exactly what kind of impact the grassroots campaign has on retaining the three liberal state supreme court justices. Because if nothing else, CTBC has done a tremendous service in raising awareness about judicial elections and the need to scrutinize their records. Of course, the strong message of successfully voting one or more of the crew off the bench would be ideal.
A classic case of good news, bad news. CTBC clearly has a winning message, but outside factors conspire to make getting the message out there a daunting, difficult task.