Friday, August 26, 2016

Four Highlights From Colorado Polls on Presidency

The big news on the presidential race in Colorado is that the state is no longer considered a battleground (The Buzz, July 22, 2016). And, indeed, Hillary Clinton is so far ahead she has withdrawn a television buy and is depending on her ground game (which is extensive as Donald Trump’s is miniscule). It is unlikely Clinton will reenter the state’s media market unless the race tightens substantially nationally, and then Colorado could come back into play.

Examining the latest Colorado poll’s internal data highlights four trends:
  1. Colorado Youth Vote Looks for Alternatives. Millennial voters in general are more likely than any other age group to be considering Gary Johnson and Jill Stein, the two independent candidates on the ballot. Johnson beats Trump in the latest Colorado Quinnipiac poll 29 percent to 18 percent among Millennials. Together, Stein and Johnson receive 46 percent of the Millennial vote. Clinton only gets 34 percent. This is more than national polls, which show them together receiving 28 percent of the Millennial vote. Johnson and Stein are still mostly spoilers and not contenders. Even when Ross Perot received 19 percent of the national vote and 23 percent in Colorado, he failed to carry a single electoral vote.
  2. Educated Voters Go Democratic. No Democratic nominee has carried educated White voters (four-year degrees) in the modern history of polling (since 1952). Clinton leads Trump by 7 points among them nationally. In Colorado, she is leading Trump by 29 points among educated White voters in the Quinnipiac survey and 32 percent in the earlier NBC/WSJ/Marist survey. Colorado is the second most educated state in the country after Massachusetts. Compounding Trump’s problem is that educated White voters are more likely to turn out. Usually that means the Republican candidates can expect a little bump in late polls and on Election Day. But, if these numbers don’t shift, Clinton will get the final push from the most dependable voters.
  3. Republicans are Resisting Trump. For all of Clinton’s problems with the youth vote, she has consolidated the Democratic vote, getting 93 percent of it. Trump continues to lag with only 86 percent of his vote. In Colorado, about a quarter of the vote is unaffiliated. Given both parties are closely divided, winning the unaffiliated vote becomes extra important. The latest Quinnipiac survey shows Trump losing the self-described independent voters by 13 points (46% Clinton vs. 33% Trump).
  4. The Gender Gap is Net Clinton Win. In 2014, Republican Cory Gardner won the gender gap by 4 points. He lost women to Mark Udall, but won men by more. Trump is losing the gender gap in Colorado by 21 points. He’s even losing the White gender gap (by 12 points), which is doom in races where more than a quarter of the electorate is non-White, and Clinton has more than 30 points of advantage.

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