- ISIL creates all-female brigade to terrorize women into following Sharia law
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- Obama to Latin leaders: Help with border
- Military bans troops from Baptist church event honoring ‘God’s Rescue Squad’
- ‘Pocket drones’: U.S. Army developing tiny surveillance tools for the next big war
- Belgian cafe posts sign: Dogs allowed, but Jews stay out
- Gen. Dempsey: Pentagon studying Russian readiness plans not viewed ‘for 20 years’
- John McCain: Botched, two-hour execution of murderer is ‘torture’
- House GOP ready to move border bill
- Bomb squad called after live WWII artillery washes on Cape Cod beach
‘Big oil’ label turns in candidate’s favor
Question of the Day
DENVER — Bob Schaffer’s opponents have spent the past two months tarring him as “Big Oil Bob,” an advocate of oil drilling and an energy-industry insider. Maybe he should thank them.
The reason, according to one poll, lies in fuel prices. Since gas hit $4 a gallon here, a majority of Colorado voters have come out in favor of offshore oil drilling and exploration in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, said a Quinnipiac Poll released last week.
At the same time, Mr. Schaffer went from trailing Mr. Udall by 10 percentage points in June - 49 percent to 39 percent - to a 44 percent to 44 percent tie in July. The June survey of 1,351 likely Colorado voters had an error margin of 2.7 percentage points; the July poll of 1,425 likely voters had a 2.6-point margin.
A second survey, conducted by Rasmussen Reports, found Mr. Udall leading by four percentage points - but the 47 percent to 43 percent lead was within the poll’s margin and half the nine-point lead Mr. Udall had in that survey in June. Both Rasmussen polls had 500 likely voters and an error margin of 4.5 percentage points.
Quinnipiac pollster Peter Brown also noted that Colorado voters now consider energy policy more important than the war in Iraq.
“That ‘Big Oil Bob’ label has suddenly become an accolade,” Denver pollster Floyd Ciruli said. “I’ll bet he’s quite pleased to be Big Oil Bob. He’s arguing that we should find more production and that the Democrats are restricted by their excessive environmentalism.”
The turnaround in the Senate race in Colorado is a glimmer of hope for national Republicans, who may have found an issue that can slow or even turn this year’s Democratic tide.
“The main reason these polls have closed is that the dynamics of the energy issue have dramatically changed,” said Schaffer campaign manager Dick Wadhams. “The public wants more drilling, they want more exploration, and people like Boulder liberal Mark Udall have essentially killed domestic exploration for the past 20 years.”
If there’s any candidate in the state whose name is synonymous these days with fossil fuels, it’s Mr. Schaffer. One TV ad sponsored by the League of Conservation Voters shows a photo of Mr. Schaffer with oil rigs pumping in the background.
“When you look at Bob Schaffer’s resume, one thing comes through: Oil,” the ad intones.
Mr. Schaffer, a former congressman who later took a job with a midsized Colorado oil and gas company, has called for both renewable energy and “American-based conventional energy resources,” including offshore and ANWR oil exploration.
Mr. Udall, a four-term congressman, has made energy policy the centerpiece of his campaign, but his focus has been on reducing foreign-oil dependence through conservation and renewable energy sources such as solar, biomass and wind.
At the candidates’ July 14 debate, Mr. Udall said he was in favor of “responsible drilling” while faulting Mr. Schaffer for failing to jump aboard plans to explore alternative energy strategies.
“If he’d followed my leadership when he was in Congress, we’d be using 1 million less barrels of oil a day,” Mr. Udall said.
About the Author
Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Plagiarism scandal threatens Senate campaign of Montana Democrat John Walsh
- Conservative groups decry Democrats' 'war on women' tactic
- Act would create tax-free savings accounts for the disabled
- Rep. Jared Polis' anti-fracking crusade riles Colorado
- Carson wins straw poll as conservatives focus on winning battle of ideas
Latest Blog Entries
By Mark Davis
The nation founders, the Lone Star State thrives
- Rahm Emanuel: Send illegal immigrant shelter kids to Chicago
- 'Pocket drones': U.S. Army developing tiny spies for the next big war
- DCCC raising money on suggestion Obama impeachment is 'imminent'
- U.S. evacuates embassy in Libya amid violent clashes between militias
- NAPOLITANO: What if our democracy is a fraud?
- 'We're coming for you, Barack Obama': Top U.S. official discloses threat from ISIL terrorists
- ISTOOK: Obama wants to be impeached
- CANNON: With Russia, different airline crash, same results
- 3 rockets hit Israel as Hamas rejects Gaza truce
- Obama orders Pentagon advisers to Ukraine
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world
Fighting in Iraq