There’s some new polls on our senate race, and the news leans towards Gardner, but only a little. Quinnipac has Udall up by only a point, and a Politico story has a Chamber of Commerce poll putting Gardner up by a point. Obama’s approval fell, with 59% “disapproving”, a continuation of the trend. Because senate races like this tend to be pretty tied to presidential approval ratings, that might be the most significant number in these polls. This is especially true in CO, where the economy was the #1 issue on respondents minds, and Obama’s approval numbers are even lower. With Obama at an all time low in Colorado, Gardner is neck-and-neck. If President Obama’s approval numbers start turning back the other way (as many DEMs hope/expect), then expect things to get worse for Gardner- but if Obama’s approval keeps falling, then there’s nothing Udall can do to save himself.
Of course, a couple days after I gripe about no new info. So Karl Rove’s Super Pac did some polling in Colorado on Udall/Gardner. And, pretty much nothing’s changed. 45% said they’d vote Udall, and Gardner was just a whisker behind at 43%. Considering the margin of error in this poll is 4.35%, and I’d call that neck and neck. The interesting part is that the poll also asked about generic vote, where 47% said GOP, and only 43% said DEM. So Udall’s a little ahead of a generic DEM candidate, and Gardner’s a little back. Once again, this is all super close, and the margin of error makes reading too much into numbers this close just a waste of time.
There’s been some news and events in our senate race here, but the facts are still harder to come by than opinions. I’m gonna be a bit sad if CO moves out of the “swing state” national spotlight that we’ve held for quite a while, I really am. Anyhow, Gardner and Udall locked down their party’s nominations, and the news people started talking about the 2013 Dem overreach in the state gov’t. NPR has a big story on us today, saying “Backlash Over State Party’s Progressive Agenda May Hobble Udall”- but I don’t think the evidence supports their claim. The real problem with the story is that we currently don’t have much in the way of evidence. There’s some anecdotal evidence that people are excited by Gardner, and that it’s gonna be a tight race, but anecdotal evidence had Romney doing well, too. In the generic congressional ballot (a ballot of just GOP/DEM, not actual personalities), the Democrats still hold a slight lead nationwide, and in local polling, Udall still has about the same lead he did before Gardner was in the race. The most interesting claim of the NPR article was made by Floyd Ciruli, the pollster from Denver. He
predicts that voter turnout this fall will be about 30 percent less than it was two years ago, when Obama won the state and Democrats took over the Legislature.
I couldn’t find any evidence on the Ciruli website for this claim, so I don’t really know where he’s coming up with that guess. If voter turnout dropped by 30% from the 2012 election, that would be a drop from 2.495 million voters to 1.746 million. That’s pretty large. By comparison, 1.82 million voters came out in 2010, the last non-presidential election cycle. If Ciruli is right, that would be the smallest turnout since 2006 (which seems really unlikely). I wrote down my estimates of demographic/voting patterns in the upcoming senate election, and I’d still say they’re fairly good guesses (for being guesses). I’d like to see some new polling numbers statewide, but until that comes, we’re just have to tolerate more factless opinionating. Oh well, worse things have happened.
TL;DR: no news is no news.
Does anyone else have some baseless speculation to throw in? C’mon, you have as much info as the talking heads on the TeeVee.
I love FiveThirtyEight- I’m a numbers kinda guy, and they bring the numbers. Their recent Senate Roundup says that overall Senate control is looking more and more to go GOP, and that sounds sensible to me. Obama’s hurting, and the senators up for re-election last had to compete in 2008, when voter mobilization and turnout were much more DEM than they are now. In 538’s analysis, Udall has about a 60% chance of beating Gardner, and that seems like a tolerably vague estimate given how few polls we have so far.
The only new poll in the last few weeks l is coming out of the (left-leaning) PPP, who surveyed 568 registered voters last week. Udall still leads, although Gardner is doing better than the previous GOP batch. The issues at hand haven’t changed in years (Obama! Obamacare! Guns!), and even though 17% of voters say they’re undecided, I doubt that that many people are actually on the fence about who they line up with- it’s more likely that they’re not actually passionate in either direction about either candidate.
Finally, PPP also polled the state on the 2016 race, and I love that Rand Paul is the GOP frontrunner here- he’s only 3 points behind Hillary Clinton. I wonder if we’re actually shifting towards a sort of left-libertarian mentality here in the Centennial State. I guess we’ll find out when we get there.