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September 24, 2007 06:30 PM UTC

Republican Attacks on Ritter Failing

  • by: Colorado Pols

As Jim Spencer writes:

In a couple of weeks, pollster and analyst Floyd Ciruli will release results of his own recent poll that will show Ritter’s positives have surpassed what popular former Republican Gov. Bill Owens’ favorable ratings were…

…But Ritter is not just well-liked.

“He is properly framed on the issues of unionization and taxes,” Ciruli said of the two issues that Republicans sought to saddle Ritter with.

Ciruli says his poll numbers show that GOP attacks on Democrats as tax-and-spend and soft on unions don’t resonate as well in Colorado as they once did.

So Ritter’s proposal to freeze local property tax rates to increase the local share of school funding is not coming across as taxation without representation the way the Republicans hoped.

The charge that Ritter is flirting with labor bosses to unionize state employees has also failed to gain much traction, said Ciruli. The meetings between state managers and state workers to discuss improved working conditions have been explained as “relationships” not negotiations.

“All politics is personal,” Ridder said. “Individuals don’t see themselves losing jobs because of the union issue.”

“The question,” Ridder added, “is what does the voter think he can get. Is it efficient? Does it benefit me? What has been clear is that the Republicans have been playing old-style politics and have not realized that the state has changed.”

Ciruli echoed that sentiment. “For the general electorate,” he said, “taxes are a secondary issue.”

The results of the Ciruli poll come as no surprise. It’s been an open secret for months that Republican attacks on Ritter’s property tax freeze to fund public schools is not polling well as a negative message – voters aren’t buying the “tax increase” attacks. More interesting is the news that attacks on Ritter over collective bargaining aren’t gaining traction, either. The GOP had better figure out another message, and quick.


21 thoughts on “Republican Attacks on Ritter Failing

    1. Ritter’s hard left positions aren’t well known. The GOP attacks are just beginning and will resonate in due time.

      Meanwhile, it’s probably nice for the lefties to be in denial as long as possible.

        1. 60% of the state legislature

          Governor’s mansion, inhabited by Governor at close to 70% approval who won in a 16% landslide

          5 of 9 congressional delegation

          Declining GOP registration advantage in the state

          Declining GOP identity nationally

        2. “The Republican Party has won two elections on the issue of fear and terrorism,” Hagel said. “[It’s] going to try again.”


          The American people are not going to be held hostage by the Cons any longer. Your fear tactics are not going to work on the national level, and as very apparent here, nor are they going to work in Colorado.

      1. are soo blinded by your ideology that you resort to more negatives on the very thread that demonstrates how that’s exactly what’s losing you voters. Get a clue guys, your old school tactics of falsly leading voters to an empty well are no longer going to work.

  1. The pubs will next try the attack on the tax increase on coal. Basically, severance was original set as a percentage. But Owens changed to be the exact amount of what it was going for then, based on tabor. The state attorney has recently said that he did not think that it was illegal to change back to %.
    But I am guessing that pubs will slam that.

    As to the property tax increase, as long as it goes to bringing back the state, I am fine with it. Nobody likes taxes, but the roads and education need to happen (either that or privatize them all).

    I am intrigued that the union issue is NOT an issue. Personally, I do not understand that need to unionize the state’s employee as they are currently in the top 10.

    It will be interesting to see what ritter will do about water. That is probably our biggest issue.  In particular, one way to help the farmers on the eastern plains is to increase storage at several of the federal reservoirs (chatfield and cherry creek). But the feds do not have a spare 4.5 million for the study (that everybody claims it will go through after the study). It seems like the smart thing to do, is to get the money up for doing this study and start storing water. Of course, the pubs could turns this into an issue and ignore the fact that we voted down the taxes before, because we did not trust the pubs (owens in particular) to do the right thing.

        1. I guess the next relevant question is, what is the value of a ton of coal?  So, what percent is the tax?  I would wager that a ton of coal is more than, oh, $10.  Yet there is the coal industry spreading FUD in the event the tax goes up about a quarter. OHMIGOD!

    1. is not that people don’t care about unions; it’s that the people making the attacks aren’t very credible.  They don’t have information; they don’t have evidence; and they’ve been wrong so many other times in the recent past.  When Sen. McElhaney sends out press releases implying Ritter has made super-secret nefarious deals with unions, it sounds like something from a Nancy Drew novel, not reality.

      For Republicans to gain acceptance for their message, they don’t just need a new message.  They need to start communicating like people worthy of respect.

  2. He sounds about as articulate and suave as a high-school senior class president. But he’s skilled at hanging onto the center.

    Meanwhile the Republicans look like utter fools with Mike May trying to equate Ritter with “mobsters”:


    If that’s the best the state GOP can do, Ritter and the Dems will be running things for a long time to come.

    1. Everytime I hear Ritter speak, I’m actually impressed. He doesn’t need notecards or tele-prompts to give a speech, since he speaks the truth of the matter from his heart. I have more respect for what a great job he’s doing, and how he’s able to communicate his agenda to the citizens of this state.

      “It’s about Colorado leading the way, leading the nation.

      To those who are cynical about the legitimate role of government and where it can intersect and improve people’s lives – I promise a reason to hope. We will govern well. We will govern to solve problems. We will govern responsibly.

      We will govern for the people of Colorado. We will govern to fulfill the Colorado Promise.

      – Governor Bill Ritter”

  3. has grown old.  Colorado independents are not nearly as afraid of taxes as they are of fringe righties spending all their time on things like defense of marriage and protecting big corporate interests instead of looking for solutions to real problems faced by all of us as Colorado citizens.

    “Be afraid of Governor Ritter because….” is not selling but “Be afraid of fill-in-the-blank” is pretty much all Rs do message-wise anymore at any level, local state or national on any issue.  terrorism, civil liberties, new approaches to the war in Iraq, health care, taxes, gun rights, whatever; their message is be afraid of Democrats and all their works.  That’s all they’ve got and it’s getting real stale, especially here in the west where our elected Dems are as likely to speak fluent good ‘ol boy and belong to the NRA as Republicans.

    Everyone around here knows the Republican right and their tactics have done more to put Dems in office here in formerly red Colorado than any brilliance on the part of Dem political operatives.  But Ritter is a crowd pleaser and there isn’t much the Rs can do about it.

    1. From day one, the republicans have offered no solutions, but rather relied on fearful talking points http://colorado.medi… which had no resonating message with the voters other than “we don’t have an agenda.”

      And when the republicans are asked about specifics, they run away http://www.rockymoun

      They are in government, not to represent the people, but rather to work against them.

    2. You’re correct.

      I’ll try to find some empirical evidence of this but I think nation-wide the anti-tax drumbeat is having less and less of an effect on the electorate.

    3. http://www.tpmcafe.c

      Discrediting “Fiscal Conservatism”
      March 23, 2006
      By Greg Anrig, Jr. | bio

      Following up on Matt’s post, which takes up Andrew Sullivan’s challenge to discredit what has become the oxymoronic concept of fiscal conservatism at the national level, it’s helpful to look at the experience of Colorado.  Operating since 1992 under the so-called Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) tax and spending limitation – what Grover Norquist has dubbed the “holy grail” – Colorado is the very model of what fiscal conservatives say they believe in. Each year’s state spending is constrained to the previous year’s outlays plus the rate of population growth and inflation. (In the event of an economic downturn, like the 2001 recession, the baseline drops back down to that year’s lower level in determining future spending limits – the so-called “ratchet effect” that exacerbates TABOR’s impact but is only a secondary flaw in the law).

      Colorado has the 10th highest per capita income in the country. Here’s only a small taste of what fiscal conservatism under TABOR has produced there:

        * The state ranks near the bottom in the share of low-income citizens covered by Medicaid – the federal-state health insurance program. Between 1992 and 2004, the portion of low-income children lacking health insurance doubled in Colorado (from 16 percent to 32 percent) even as it fell in the nation as a whole (from 21 percent to 18 percent). Colorado ranks dead last among the 50 states in covering low-income children. The percentage of low-income adults under 65 without health insurance rose in Colorado from 31 percent in 1992 to 46 percent in 2004, sinking the state’s overall ranking by that measure from 20th to 48th.

        * One apparent connection between that austerity and public health in Colorado has been the impact on pregnant women. Largely because of reductions in Medicaid coverage and relatively meager support for health clinics, Colorado’s national ranking in access to prenatal care declined from 23rd in 1990 to 48th in 2004. Only 67 percent of Colorado’s pregnant women received adequate care, compared to the national average of 76 percent.  Over that same period, the share of pre-term births and low birthweight babies increased substantially so that Colorado now ranks sixth worst nationally.

        * Colorado ranked last among all states in vaccinations for 2-year-olds in 2002 and 2003, with coverage rates of just 63 percent in 2002 and 68 percent in 2003; its ranking increased modestly to 44th in 2004.  Medicaid coverage and state funding for health are not the only factors determining immunization rates, and Colorado tracked just below the national average until 2002. But TABOR was clearly responsible for the state’s decision to suspend its requirement that students be fully vaccinated against diphtheria, tetanus, and pertussis (whooping cough) between April 2001 and October 2002. During that period, a national shortage of the vaccine led most states to purchase higher-priced vaccines with state funds.  The incidence in Colorado of whooping cough, which is life threatening in children under six months, began to soar well ahead of the national average in 2002 and has continued to increase. In 2005, more cases of whooping cough were reported in Colorado than in any other state except Texas, which has five times the population.

        * Colorado has fallen since the early 1990s from the middle of the pack in per pupil K-12 spending to 40th among the states. In terms of “tax effort” – the percentage of income devoted to K-12 education – the state is 33 percent below where it was 15 years ago and ranks 47th in the nation. The average student-teacher ratio in Colorado is now eleventh highest in the country. The ratio of teacher salaries to average private-sector earnings is lower in Colorado than in any other state. Eighty percent of high school freshmen never receive a college degree, even though the state has the highest concentration of college-educated residents. The state ranks 48th in the country in sending minorities on to college.

      Not surprisingly, Colorado’s voters in 2004 transformed both branches of its legislature from Republican to Democratic majorities. And last year, they approved a referendum that bypasses TABOR’s restraints for five years.

      If you want to explain the problems with the alternative to borrow-and-squander conservatism that renegades of the Right like Bruce Bartlett and Andrew Sullivan are selling, tell them about Colorado.

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