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Will the Newest Quinnipiac Poll Effect 2014?

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Gov. Hickenlooper signs gun control bills into law on Wednesday. (credit: CBS)

Gov. Hickenlooper signs gun control bills into law on Wednesday. (credit: CBS)

Written by Dominic Dezzutti

National polls from Quinnipiac University usually make headlines in Colorado during a general election season. However, due to the unique political situation in Colorado right now, new numbers from Quinnipiac made news this week in Colorado.

The most recent poll regarding Colorado showed that most Colorado voters statewide are against the recall elections of State Senators John Morse and Angela Giron.

But the polls also included opinions on the gun control laws that were passed by the state legislature that helped to trigger the recall elections. It’s here where the poll gets interesting.

Part of the results seems fairly predictable, but one key statistic may mean 2014 is a trickier election for Democrats than they may think.

When it came to Republicans and Democrats, responses were predictable. Dems were overwhelmingly in favor of the gun control measures and Republicans were even more strongly against.

But when independent voters were polled, they were against them 56% to 39%, and when broken out by gender, women voters were nearly split evenly, 48% in favor to 45% against.

As anyone who follows politics in Colorado knows, unaffiliated voters decide the races in Colorado. Democrats and Republicans dominate headlines and noise, but the true power in Colorado is wielded by the independent voter.

Obviously one poll about gun control laws in the middle of 2013 won’t singlehandedly influence the 2014 election, but these results do point to some potential problems for Democrats in 2013.

While the results among partisan voters were predictable, with the key electorates of women voters and independent voters essentially split on the issue, ads that brag about the progress on gun control may not have the desired effect. Dems may essentially be forced to soft sell one some of the key pieces of legislation from the 2013 legislature.

I know that sounds counter-intuitive, but the fact of the matter is that it is easier to go negative and increase discontent with gun control laws than it will be to go positive and say that the laws are a good thing.

With key voter blocs essentially on the fence, Dems know that GOP candidates will work very hard to push them to their side of the fence on this issue. It’s also fairly common knowledge that plenty of money will be coming into the 2014 election from national sources on both sides of the issue.

You may be asking yourself, but wait, this poll is from August of 2013, how can this affect races in 2014?

A fair question. My answer would be that one must always remember that elections are fought in two seasons, during the actual election season nearing the Election Day and the other is when fundraising happens, which is essentially every other day that exists.

Fundraising is going on right now. The results of this national poll are invigorating GOP party leaders and consultants because two very important voting groups are in play on their issue. This poll also tells Dems that they will need to invest in an issue that many thought they had sealed up.

This doesn’t guarantee doom for Dems or success for GOPers. But what it does is change the fundraising playing field right now. What may have seemed like a harmless poll about recall elections may actually make a far bigger impact in Colorado politics.

About The Blogger

- Dominic Dezzutti, producer of the Colorado Decides debate series, a co-production of CBS4 and Colorado Public Television, looks at the local and national political scene in his CBSDenver.com blog. Read new entries here usually every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Dezzutti writes about federal, state and local matters and how our elected leaders are handling the issues important to Colorado. Dezzutti is also the host and producer of the Emmy award winning Colorado Inside Out on Colorado Public Television.

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