One of my distinct disadvantages in trying to gauge the political climate in Colorado, however much it helps me to view the issues independently, is that I watch very, very little television and listen to more non-commercial than commercial radio. Well, tonight was an exception. I was expecting house guests (who were delayed en route due to bad weather), and as a result was up unexpectedly late. I didn't feel like working or blogging, so on went the TV for a once a season splurge.
The ads for Referendums C and D, previously discussed here, were on in force, and they were not contadicted by any anti-C and D ads. Big deal, you say. There are ads on every issue in every election cycle. But, the difference was that these ads were highly effective. The AARP, American Cancer Society, and a host of other organizations shown to endorse the referenda were not your usual political hacks you'd never heard of before in your life. The idea of selling C and D as a property tax reduction for seniors was brilliant. I could go on, but the bottom line is that these are some of the most effective political ads, on what is at first blush a pure policy wonk issue, that I have ever seen. And, the fact that it is such an obscure issue until you realize its impacts on government services, means that most people don't have deeply held preconceived notions about it. This isn't like advertising for a parental notification to obtain an abortion measure, where almost everyone has deeply held opinions in advance about the larger issue of abortion. As a result, these ads look to me like they could significantly sway public opinion in the month to come before the November election. Given that most of the newspaper coverage involves the Independence Institute being outed for telling fibs, I can't imagine that the anti-campaign is doing a whole lot better in the free publicity area.
Issue 3A, for more funding for Denver Public Schools, also had an ad, not a moment too late either. I wasn't even aware that there were any school funding or board issues on the ballot until this week. Political groupies like to obsess over what is going on months or even years before elections, but in races like these, a few weeks make all the difference. If it isn't on the radar screen of political bloggers until October, it isn't on he radar screen of 99% of the voting public either.