Thursday, February 11, 2016

Guide to Colorado Caucus

The Colorado presidential caucus is often too late to have any impact on the nomination, but this year’s March 1st events will join twelve other states and territories as Super Tuesday offers each party’s candidates a super market of delegates.

Also, there are events on March 1st in American Samoa and for Democrats Abroad.

Since 2000 and the end of Colorado’s presidential primary, there have only been three caucus contests of note in Colorado – two among the Republicans in 2008 and 2012, and the 2008 Clinton vs. Obama contest among Democrats. Obama won Colorado in 2008 on his way to the nomination using a small state caucus strategy fueled by young and liberal voters.

In 2010, Colorado became a Tea Party state with Republicans handing their nominations for governor and U.S. Senate to Tea Party conservatives. Then in the 2012 presidential caucus, Rick Santorum, the social conservative, beat establishment candidate Mitt Romney, reversing Romney’s position from four years earlier when he beat easily defeated John McCain.

The last public poll in Colorado (Quinnipiac, Nov. 2015) had Hillary Clinton ahead of Bernie Sanders by 28 percent, but that mostly reflected name identification, and it was a sample of Democrats in general, not the support of Democratic caucus goers (less than 10% of all Democrats, about 60,000 to 100,000 out of 1 million).

In visits, Bernie Sanders has attracted large crowds of young people and liberals. Hillary Clinton has also made numerous visits, but attracted smaller crowds. However, she’s won the endorsements of most of the state’s Democratic political establishment.

It should be a good fight. Clinton has an organization and a supportive Hispanic community if they can be motivated. Of course, Sanders has liberal and young voters.

Among Republicans, Ted Cruz will draw the evangelical constituency. The Party’s anti-immigration wing would be attracted to Donald Trump. Marco Rubio has the endorsement of the most popular Republican in the state, Senator Cory Gardner.

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