Colorado has been shifting underneath the feet of the Democrats this election cycle. While many have believed Colorado to be a blue state, especially after the 2012 election, events in 2013 along with events during the campaign have proven otherwise. The latest ballot returns show a large lead for Republicans in key counties across the state, and it appears [mc_name name=’Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’G000562′ ] may be the next Senator for Colorado.
So what is going on? Well, we can learn a lot from the public polls but now that we have ballots already returned and data on who has and hasn’t voted, we should be able to understand the make up of the electorate a bit more as well.
For instance, I was recently given a demographic report conducted by Magellan Strategies on 2014 voters who have already returned ballots and the data is simply shocking.
The report shows a drop off of female voters of 3% and an increase in male voters by 3 percent. This single stat is critical in an election where the Democrat has been called out by the media for focusing too much on abortion and birth control.
But there is more.
Millennials have dropped off sharply from their 2010 make of of the Colorado electorate. The 18-34 age group went fro 16.18 percent in 2010 to 8 percent as of last week. This certainly puts a kink in the lefts plan to turn out the young single ladies for Udall and Hickenlooper.
In addition to the demographic doom that appears to be laying in wait for the Democrats, you also have the raw ballot return numbers.
The Republicans have managed to run up the score in counties like Douglas and El Paso to great effect. Don’t get me wrong, these are places we expect the GOP to do well, but they are doing better than well this cycle. In El Paso county the GOP ballots make up ~ 70% of the two party split. The GOP has pulled ~50k ballots, Democrats ~19k and Unaffiliated’s hold ~21k. A GOP lead this great in El Paso hasn’t been seen in a decade. For perspective, El Paso county went to Romney 53%, and we are currently surpassing that.
But there is still more.
The biggest indicator that this election might be outside of the Democrats ability to win are the Denver ring counties of Jefferson and Arapahoe. These two counties are critical to a GOP win in any cycle, and for a while we have performed badly there.
This cycle seems to be different. The Magellan report shows that both of these counties are on pace to outperform the 2010 raw vote, but what is interesting about this is that both of these critical counties are also providing a GOP lead in ballots. The GOP leads by nearly 9k votes in Arapahoe and just over 8k in Jefferson.
Here is a helpful map of just how crazy red Colorado looks right now based solely on ballot counts per county:
Obviously we can’t call this election. We don’t honestly know who voted for who, or, more importanly, who the unaffiliated vote has chosen. That said, based upon the current lead in GOP ballots, and assuming GOP voters vote for GOP candidates, the GOP would only need to reach the mid-30’s in unaffiliated support.
I am feeling good about how things have gone so far, but I will be much happier when all that ballots are in and counted. Especially if that results in Senator Cory Gardner.