Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Abortion/ Personhood Amendment plays key role in keeping vote close

Denver, CO -- Project New West, in conjunction with America Votes, conducted a large Colorado poll over the weekend of voters who already cast their ballots this election. In 2008, 79% of the Colorado electorate voted before Election Day.

The automated poll of 1,836 Coloradans indicated that Senator Michael Bennet had a slight edge over Ken Buck among people who already voted - 47% to 46%. This is significant in light of the fact that there have been a larger proportion of registered Republicans voting early than Democrats. According to the Colorado Secretary of State on Monday, Republicans had a 61,520 person advantage of ballots cast by their party via mail and in person. With more than a million ballots returned thus far, Colorado looks to be headed toward record turnout in a midterm election and the U.S. Senate contest could go down to the wire, as Bennet’s lead is within the margin of error (+/- 2.29).

Bennet leads unaffiliated voters with 51% and is garnering support from nearly two thirds (65%) of Hispanic voters. Women are also outpacing men in turnout among early voters 52-48% and Bennet leads women by four points.

“The four point gender gap highlights the major role abortion and social issues have taken in the Colorado Senate race,” said Project New West President Jill Hanauer. “No one expected these issues to be front and center and in Colorado, conservatives lose this conversation.“

Among voters supporting Buck, the support for the so-called personhood amendment, on the ballot today, is split with 38% of Buck voters saying they voted against Amendment 62 and 47% saying they voted to pass the amendment. By contrast, only 6% of Bennet supporters registered their support for the amendment. It is clear that the issue caused a wedge among Buck’s traditional base and cost him votes, at least among this early voting sample. The so-called personhood amendment was put on the 2010 ballot in Colorado by citizens’ initiative even after a similar measure was defeat in 2008 by over 70% of Colorado voters.

For either candidate to win today, they needed to appeal to unaffiliated voters, who have been slower to return their ballots or vote early. Field efforts on both sides of the aisle have been geared to persuade independent voters and then to get their supporters to the polls.

The Project New West/America Votes poll was conducted October 29 – 31, 2010, among 1,836 respondents dialed from a list of Colorado residents that had already voted. The survey was conducted using integrated voice response (IVR) technology and has a margin of error of +/- 2.29 % at a 95% confidence interval.