February 20 2006, 11:15 PM
The latest approval ratings from SurveyUSA for President George Bush came out last week, exactly one week before the POTUS will visit Colorado and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) out near my home. I'm hoping that the roads won't be closed off to prevent me from making it in to work...OK, I'm only half-hoping that won't happen. Anyway, Bush's approval ratings among Coloradoans are very poor, with only 39% approving of the job he is doing compared to 59% who disapprove. Colorado Luis points out that these are the lowest approval ratings ever for George W. Bush in Colorado, which is not good news for Colorado Republicans. While it doesn't always work this way, mid-term elections have a tendency to become a referendum on the job of the sitting President; in other words, since they can't vote again for the President, it gives voters a chance to voice their concern with the current administration as a whole by voting against candidates of the same political party as the President. With the various scandals that the White House has been involved in, from the ongoing Plamegate controversy and the botched response to Hurricane Katrina, to the takeover of American seaports by an Arab company and Vice President Dick Cheney running around shooting people, there is a very good chance that 2006 will indeed become a referendum on George Bush. Things look grim for Bush here in Colorado, where even residents of the conservative Colorado Springs area who are most likely to stand by their man are voicing a 48% disapproval compared to 47% approval ratings. What this all means for Coloradoans is that unless Bush is able to right the ship and find an amicable solution to his bevy of controversies, Colorado Republican candidates -- particularly those running for congress -- could feel the anger from voters in November. A backlash against Bush could swing Colorado's congressional delegation from Republican to Democratic, with two seats -- in District 7 (North Jefferson County, Adams County and Aurora) and District 4 (Greeley, Ft. Collins) -- primed to change into Democratic hands if anger towards Bush continues. Congressional District 7 is the most competitive seat in the country and is favored to turn Democratic, but a Bush backlash could be enough to seal the deal. Congressional District 4, with incumbent Marilyn Musgrave, is less likely to turn Democratic, but a strong campaign from Democrat Angie Paccione coupled with heavy backlash could make it a reality. President Bush may not have another re-election to personally look ahead to, but there's at least one more election that may hinge on his performance in the White House.