Given That This Is CO’s First-Ever All-U.S.-Mail Election, and Given 2 Close Contests, A Pollster’s Best Advice is to ‘Hold Your Breath’
SurveyUSA offers here its final research results in the high-profile contests for US Senator and Governor of Colorado. But with 26 separate public opinion polling firms working on the contest, all trying to get these two races right, and no 2 pollsters in agreement, circumspection is in order. In polling conducted exclusively for the Denver Post, SurveyUSA finds:
* For US Senate: Republican challenger Cory Gardner 46%, Democratic incumbent Mark Udall 44%.
* For Governor: incumbent Democrat John Hickenlooper 46%, Republican challenger Bob Beauprez 46%.
The Senate results are unchanged from a SurveyUSA Denver Post Poll 10/13/14, when Gardner also led by 2 points. Then 7% were undecided. Today, 5% are undecided.
2 previous SurveyUSA polls for the Denver Post had nominally better news for Hickenlooper: On 09/11/14, Hickenlooper led by 2 . On 10/13/14, Hickenlooper led by 1. Today, tied. And when all the votes are counted on Tuesday? Jump ball.
If Gardner does in fact hold-on and “takes-away” the Senate seat from the Democrats, it will be because his message resonated with middle-aged voters, age 35 to 64. Among those 35 to 49, Gardner leads by 19 points. Among those 50 to 64, Gardner leads by 8 points. Among seniors, the contest is tied, 48% each. A Gardner win means that Gardner did in fact keep independent voters in his column. He leads today among independents by just enough to carry the state, 43% to 36%. A Gardner win means that voters turned out outside of Greater Denver in sufficient numbers to overcome Udall’s thin, 5-point lead in Greater Denver. Gardner leads by 12 points everywhere else in CO outside of Greater Denver.
If Udall upsets Gardner and holds the seat, which he may, it will be because younger voters showed up in greater numbers than shown here. Udall leads among voters age 18 to 34 by 33 points. And, a Udall win would mean that women voted in larger numbers than shown here. Udall leads by 6 points among women, which, by itself, is not enough to offset Gardner who leads by 12 among men. A Udall win will mean that Hispanic Coloradans voted more Democratically than shown here. A Udall win means that liberals will account for more than 21% of the electorate, and that Udall will have carried moderates by more than the 15 percentage points shown here. And a Udall win means that lower-income voters will have voted in larger numbers than shown here.
A split decision is possible, and Hickenlooper may be returned to office while Udall is thrown out. Hickenlooper has run 2 or 3 points stronger than Udall in the most recent 2 polls. If Hickenlooper wins, he will have overcome an early-vote advantage that Beauprez has.
Of those respondents who tell SurveyUSA they have returned a ballot: Gardner leads by 3 points, Beauprez leads by 2 points. If Democrats fail to return the still outstanding ballots in the numbers forecast here, Republicans will out-perform these poll results.
* In the election for Attorney General, Republican Cynthia Coffman edges Democrat Don Quick 45% to 38%.
* In the election for Secretary of State, Republican Wayne W Williams edges Democrat Joe Neguse 43% to 39%.
* In the election for Treasurer, incumbent Republican Walker Stapleton edges Democrat Betsy Markey 46% to 41%.
* Down-ballot, low-profile contests are notoriously difficult to forecast.
* If these results hold, and if Beauprez is elected Governor, Republicans will have “run the table” in CO.
* On Amendment 67, which would protect the unborn by defining them to be human beings, “No” leads “Yes” 54% to 32%. Almost certain defeat.
* On Amendment 68, which would allow casino-style gambling at horse-racing tracks, “No” leads “Yes” 2:1. Certain defeat.
* On Proposition 104, which would open to the public bargaining sessions between school boards and teachers unions, “Yes” defeats “No” 61% to 24%.
* On Proposition 105, which would label certain foods as genetically engineered, “No” leads “Yes” 59% to 34%.
Colorado voters react positively to the state’s new all-U.S.-mail election law. 65% see the new law as a step in the right direction, 24% see it as a step in the wrong direction. Voter fraud? No consensus. A plurality, 33%, say that voting in person at a precinct will have less fraud than voting by mail. 31% say there will be fraud no matter how you vote. 25% say there will be almost no fraud, regardless of how a ballot is cast. And 8% say that vote-by-US-mail will result in less fraud than voting at the precinct.
Cell-phone respondents and home-phone respondents were included in this research: SurveyUSA interviewed 700 state of Colorado adults 10/27/14 through 10/29/14. Of the adults, 648 were registered to vote. Of the registered voters, 618 were determined by SurveyUSA to have already returned a ballot in this first-ever all-U.S.-mail election, or to be likely to do so before the deadline. Counting begins on 11/04/14. This research was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on a home-telephone (71% of likely voters) were interviewed on their home telephone in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone (29% of likely voters) were shown a survey on their smartphone, tablet, or other electronic device.