Monday, November 1, 2010

Analysis of Early Returns

In many western states, early and mail-in voting has become the primary method of voting. In 2008, only 21% of Colorado voters went to the polls on Election Day. Typically, the voters who return their ballots fastest are hard partisans on both sides. Interestingly, men typically return their ballots or vote early at a faster rate than women. Since Democrats need women and unaffiliated votes to win, this means that the final get out the vote push will be crucial to their prospects.

Historically, Republicans have had an advantage in absentee voting by mail. This year seems to be no exception. However, Democrats should be encouraged that they are voting in larger numbers in Nevada and New Mexico. Of course, no one can tell how people are actually voting, so partisan defectors and independent voters will hold the key to the results on election night.

Project New West and America Votes will be releasing Colorado poll results early Tuesday morning. Check back here at 10 am MDT for this unique look at early voters and numbers in the crucial U.S. Senate election. Here is a swing state breakdown:


According to Catalist voter file data, CD1 & CD8 are divided roughly evenly by partisanship, so Independent voters will most likely swing those. CD3 is heavily Republican, while CD7 is heavily Democratic. In CD5, Congressman Harry Mitchell will need to get strong support from Independent voters to overtake a minor Republican turnout advantage.


According to America Votes data, Republicans have a 52,000 person advantage of ballots cast by their party.

Democrats will need a final push to win statewide. They may get support from the over 240,000 unaffiliated voters have already cast a ballot.

Democratic turnout efforts have been calibrated to go after late voters in the final few days. And of course, Colorado’s large unaffiliated vote may swing enough to decide the race.

Statewide, if Independent voters don’t break towards the Democrats by some margin, it could be a rough night. Women have been a major target of Democratic efforts. If Michael Bennet can get even a small percentage of Republican women to support him, he will be positioned to win.

In CD4 & CD3, more Republicans than Democrats have voted, but that is consistent with registration and previous years, when Democratic candidates won. In CD7, Democrats are outvoting Republicans by a small margin.


According to America Votes data in Nevada, Democrats are in good position in Nevada. Democrats comprise 43.5% of the early & absentee voters, Republicans 40.6%, unaffiliated voters are 11.3%, and minor party voters 4.3%. In overall numbers, over 11,000 more Democrats have voted than Republicans. Republicans have a slight edge in intensity, as 37.8% of their registered voters have cast a ballot compared to only 35.0% of Democrats.

CD3 numbers are extremely close to the statewide margins: Democrats have 43.3% share and Republicans 40.6%, which translates to a roughly 5,000 voter advantage.

New Mexico

In New Mexico, we are showing Democratic voters outpacing Republican voters statewide by about 8,500 votes with many more Democratic voters left to return their ballots. During the last two weeks, Democrats and Republicans were returning ballots at similar rates, however there has been a noticeable increase in Democratic voters over the past 5 days. In CD1 & CD3 Democrats are voting in much higher numbers than Republicans. In CD2, Republicans have a slight edge.

The key questions are which way are the 16% of New Mexico’s independent voters leaning and will there be a higher percentage of Democratic voters that support Republican candidates than in 2008?