In a long Sunday Coloradoan analysis, Jacy Marmaduke presents the case for Colorado to have an impact on Super Tuesday and an exceptional turnout. She pointed out the shift from caucus to primary, the universal mail-back ballot and unaffiliated voters as factors that make Colorado unique in 2020.
I suggested Sanders will be a strong candidate, attracting young, unaffiliated voters and that
Democrats’ intense desire to remove Donald Trump will likely drive turnout.
Sanders won the 2016 caucus in Colorado, leading many to think he has an edge here. However, the addition of unaffiliated voters and the switch to a primary adds some uncertainty to that prediction.
But Colorado’s unaffiliated voters skew younger and more liberal — two key components of Sanders’ base.
“I think you can predict that Bernie Sanders will likely do well,” said Floyd Ciruli, a veteran political pollster and analyst who founded Ciruli Associates in Denver. “He’s beat the establishment here before. If he wins here, that will show that this state remains a state with a lot of voters who like to shake things up.”
And if Sanders fares well in early state contests, he’ll do even better here, Ciruli predicts.
The four early states — Iowa on Feb. 3, New Hampshire on Feb. 11, Nevada on Feb. 22 and South Carolina on Feb. 29 — make up just 4% of delegates. But they traditionally winnow the field anyway, amplifying front-runners and casting aside the also-rans.
While the push and pull between head and heart is always on voters’ minds, the dynamic feels especially pronounced in this election, Ciruli said.
“People usually favor less risk,” he said. “The reason it’s so incredibly intense this time is that most Democrats think of Trump as an existential problem. They believe there is nothing more important than beating him.”
“It’s volatile, but that’s what makes it exciting," Ciruli said. "It is not knowing that helps bring people out — because your vote counts."