Thursday, October 30, 2014

Forecasters Say Gardner; Handicappers Call it Toss-up

The forecasters, such as FiveThirtyEight, New York Times, Washington Post and Huffington Post, are predicting Cory Gardner the Senate winner, with higher and higher percentages: 538 – 78%,  NYT – 84%, HuffPost – 62% and WashPost – 96%.

The handicappers, that is, observers who examine more than just the late polling data and trends, but also consider the campaigns, history of the state, etc., still rate the state a toss-up as of Wednesday, October 28 (Cook, Rothenberg, Sabato).

Udall counters this national narrative with private polls that claim he’s up a point or a bit more and a massive GOTV campaign to try to bring out people who, but for the effort, would not vote (and, hence, be missed by pollsters).

November 4 will provide the judgment.

Advertisements Making the Difference With Food Labeling and Gaming

Two Colorado ballot issues are headed to defeat because the negative advertisements have convinced voters they’re bad ideas. Another one is just a perennial loser.

The agricultural community’s stomp on food labeling is especially impressive. Former Agricultural Commissioner Don Ament, the head of the Farm Bureau, and others have effectively persuaded Coloradans that labeling genetically modified food is a bad idea. It’s now losing 49 percent to 30 percent after leading nearly 2-to-1 in mid-September (52% yes to 27% no). The food industry spent about $15 million compared to less than $1 million by the proponents.

Not surprising, gaming is losing, but now by 3-to-1. When will the out-of-state gaming interests realize that the public has a low tolerance of more gaming and the current gaming cartel has no intention of allowing it to happen? We don’t even like Rhode Island. Very big money in this issue is good for consultants and TV stations.

Personhood expires again, but is getting about a third of the vote, which is more than usual. Even in a better year for the issue, it’s a loser.

The open meetings proposal is winning. The Independence Institute finally wins one 3-to-1.

Down Ballot

The Secretary of State and State Treasurer races appear to have a little life in them, but Republicans are advantaged in low visibility down ballot races by the expected more conservative and more Republican midterm electorate.

More than a fifth of voters are still undecided in the Secretary of State race and Democrat Joe Neguse is only five to seven points back of Republican Wayne Williams (31% to 36%) in one recent poll. Neguse is on TV with a positive advertisement.

The State Treasurer contest appears to be the only close race. Betsy Markey is two points behind incumbent Republican Walker Stapleton, with 12 percent undecided in the only public poll from PPP published October 19. Markey has been on the offensive with negative ads concerning Stapleton’s attendance at work, always an attention-getting charge.

Democrat Don Quick simply never gained any traction for Attorney General against Republican Cynthia Coffman. He’s been ten points or more behind in three polls published during the last month.

See Denver Post: Turnout may determine Williams-Neguse race

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Returns Near One Million, Republicans Still Ahead

The second update on the 2014 turnout shows returns of 905,500 as of Wednesday, October 28. They are slightly less than half of the expected turnout of 2.2 million (41%). The estimate based on voter turnout in 2010 is about 2.2 million voters (72% of active voters of 2.9 million).  They are 31 percent of the active registration of 2,916,145.
Ballot mailing began Tuesday, the day after Columbus Day, October 14. First returns were reported Friday, October 17.

Broncos – America’s Team

The Denver Post story by Mike Klis on October 14, 2014 cited a new Harris poll that reports that the Denver Broncos are the most popular NFL team in the U.S. (not the Cowboys). Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue (head of Georgetown University alumni) said Pat Bowlen is one of the greatest owners in modern NFL history. A key player over the years in labor negotiations, TV rights, new stadiums and global reach. Hall of Fame – next time!

Democrats in Full Defense

Mark Udall’s team and allies are fighting back against the dominant narrative that polls and national forecasters are projecting – Udall loses.

He has released three internal Democratic consultant polls in the last week claiming that he is ahead. Mark Mellman, one of the party’s best known pollsters who correctly predicted the Democrats would win North Dakota in 2012 in spite of most of the public poll predictions, claims Udall is three points ahead (44% to 41%). President Obama’s pollster, Joel Benenson, also claims Udall is up three (47% to 44%). Finally and most recently, a local pollster, Chris Keating, asserts Udall’s lead has declined to one point, but he’s still up.

These polls were released the week of October 20 as Udall was contending with the “war on women” meme and poor national polls. They also argued public polls in Colorado have underestimated Democratic votes, especially Hispanic and cell phone voters (i.e., youth). FiveThirtyEight’s Harry Enten wrote a blog addressing most of the criticism, but, of course, one benefit of election polling is that on November 4 there will be a hard count.

The campaign’s main alternative narrative is not arguing polling accuracy, but highlighting what it hopes will pull the race out – GOTV.

Election 2014

My election analysis in the Denver Post Perspective section, October 26, 2014:

Colorado is still a political battleground

After 2012, Washington pundits characterized Colorado as “leaning blue” following two convincing wins by Barack Obama and Democratic control of its U.S. Senate seats, the governorship and the state legislature. Indeed, as 2014 began, both incumbents — Sen. Mark Udall and Gov. John Hickenlooper — were expected to win re-election, possibly not by large margins given the challenges of a midterm election with an unpopular president, but win nonetheless.

First, no incumbent Colorado governor or senator had been defeated since the 1970s. But also, during the last 10 years, the Democratic Party built one of the best state-level political machines in the country with interlocking funding, candidate recruitment and support, and an advanced get-out-the-vote operation.
Despite these advantages, Colorado’s 2014 Senate and gubernatorial races are among the most competitive in the country. In fact, now Washington analysts believe control of the U.S. Senate may be decided with the fate of Mark Udall.