Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Colorado on the Front Lines of 2012 Presidential Race

In Colorado, the only statewide race taking place in 2012 will be the presidential election. Colorado Democrats can expect to get a lot of White House attention over the next 24 months since observers and presidential strategists list Colorado as a top swing state. Republicans, too, should see an endless stream of those testing the presidential water and the declared candidates.

Unfortunately, the public’s disenchantment with partisan and polarizing rhetoric will be severely tested as the campaigns begin to seek advantage in earnest. We can expect to see 2010 midterm expenditure levels and negative advertising on steroids.

Colorado may be the most closely balanced electorate in the union. Democrats feel they have the infrastructure to win it in spite of what appears to be a weak economic recovery and presidential popularity below 50 percent (albeit improving).

Republicans have a longer track record of taking Colorado in presidential races, even with weak candidates, like Bob Dole. And, they swept all the lower offices in the 2010 midterm.

But, the Michael Bennet death-defying 28,000-vote Senate win (the closest Senate race in the country) in spite of the Republican sweep shows Democrats are in the game. And, of course, they had the good fortune to win the governorship for use as a platform to run a statewide campaign (shortly, Governor Hickenlooper, with Colorado’s senior elected Democrats, will help select the state chair to help run the campaign).

Louis Jacobson rates Colorado as a 2012 toss-up state in his latest list, citing the Obama 9-point win in 2008 and the split midterm results. Along with Colorado (9 electoral votes), he also places in the toss-up category: Florida (29), Iowa (6), Maine (1 of 4), Michigan (16), Nevada (6), New Hampshire (4), New Mexico (5), Ohio (18) and Wisconsin (10).

This will likely become the standard list, but a few differences may arise among pundits; for example, Pennsylvania (20), which leans Democrat, and North Carolina (15) and Virginia (13), which lean Republican, are on the cusp.


interweaver said...

CU Regent-at-large (Steve Ludwig) will be up.

toto said...

By 2012, The National Popular Vote bill could guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

Every vote, everywhere, would be politically relevant and equal in presidential elections. Elections wouldn’t be about winning states. No more distorting and divisive red and blue state maps. Every vote, everywhere would be counted for and directly assist the candidate for whom it was cast. Candidates would need to care about voters across the nation, not just undecided voters in a handful of swing states.

In the 2012 election, pundits and campaign operatives already agree that only 14 states and their voters will matter under the current winner-take-all laws (i.e., awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in each state) used by 48 of the 50 states. Candidates will not care about 72% of the voters– voters in 19 of the 22 lowest population and medium-small states, and big states like California, Georgia, New York, and Texas. 2012 campaigning would be even more obscenely exclusive than 2008 and 2004. Candidates have no reason to poll, visit, advertise, organize, campaign, or care about the voter concerns in the dozens of states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind. Voter turnout in the “battleground” states has been 67%, while turnout in the “spectator” states was 61%. Policies important to the citizens of ‘flyover’ states are not as highly prioritized as policies important to ‘battleground’ states when it comes to governing.

The bill would take effect only when enacted, in identical form, by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes–that is, enough electoral votes to elect a President (270 of 538). When the bill comes into effect, all the electoral votes from those states would be awarded to the presidential candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states (and DC).

The bill uses the power given to each state by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution to change how they award their electoral votes for president.

1,922 state legislators (in 50 states) have sponsored and/or cast recorded votes in favor of the bill.

In Gallup polls since 1944, only about 20% of the public has supported the current system of awarding all of a state’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate who receives the most votes in each separate state (with about 70% opposed and about 10% undecided). Support for a national popular vote is strong in virtually every state, partisan, and demographic group surveyed in recent polls in closely divided battleground states: CO– 68%, IA –75%, MI– 73%, MO– 70%, NH– 69%, NV– 72%, NM– 76%, NC– 74%, OH– 70%, PA — 78%, VA — 74%, and WI — 71%; in smaller states (3 to 5 electoral votes): AK – 70%, DC – 76%, DE –75%, ME — 77%, NE — 74%, NH –69%, NV — 72%, NM — 76%, RI — 74%, VT — 75%, and WY – 69%; in Southern and border states: AR –80%, KY — 80%, MS –77%, MO — 70%, NC — 74%, and VA — 74%; and in other states polled: CA — 70%, CT — 74% , MA — 73%, MN – 75%, NY — 79%, WA — 77%, and WV- 81%.

The bill has passed 31 state legislative chambers, in 21 small, medium-small, medium, and large states, including one house in AR, CT, DE, DC, ME, MI, NV, NM, NY, NC, and OR, and both houses in CA, CO, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA ,RI, VT, and WA . The bill has been enacted by DC, HI, IL, NJ, MD, MA, and WA. These 7 states possess 74 electoral votes — 27% of the 270 necessary to bring the law into effect.