by Jimmy Sengenberger | 9:18 pm, August 8, 2012 | Comments Off
The following was originally posted on my website, www.SengCenter.com.
Over the course of the next several weeks, I am going to pick out and briefly analyze various key swing states in the 2012 presidential race, discussing who is likely to take home the gold in each of these states. First, let’s explore my home state of Colorado – the very state that the election might come down to.
Winner: Mitt Romney
For some time now, I have been arguing that Mitt Romney is likely to take the state. History, and recent polls, suggest this to the point that this is increasingly likely. Consider the following results from the 2010 elections in Colorado:
- In the U.S. Senate, Republican Ken Buck loses by a razor-thin margin of 0.9 percentage points to the then-unelected incumbent, Democrat Michael Bennet.
- In the flukey, three-way fight for governor, Democrat John Hickenlooper leads third-party contender Tom Tancredo and Republican nominee Dan Maes with 50.7% of the vote compared with 36.7 and 11.1% of the vote for Tancredo and Hickenlooper, respectively.
- Republicans take back the State House with a one-vote majority but lose the State Senate.
- Republican revoke U.S. House District 3 from Democrat hands. Republican Scott Tipton defeats John Salazar, whose brother was previously the U.S. Senator from Colorado and elevated to Obama’s Interior Secretary. The margin is substantial: 50.2% to 45.6%.
- Republican Cory Gardner successfully wrestles Betsey Markey, incumbent Democrat, with an almost-13-point lead: 53.1% to 40.8%.
- GOP Attorney General John Suthers triumphs in his reelection bid, garnering a whopping 56.9% of the vote compared with Stan Garnett’s 43%.
- Republican candidate for Secretary of State, attorney Scott Gessler, trounces on incumbent opponent Bernie Buescher, securing 50.1% to Buescher’s 43.3%.
- GOP nominee for Treasurer, Walker Stapleton, bests well-known incumbent Cary Kennedy with 51.2% to 48.7%.
Let’s take a moment to more closely consider these races:
- U.S. Senate: Ken Buck, in my view, was an excellent candidate. He is incredibly personable and a truly great guy. But unfortunately, in a state where social issues do not play well – especially social conservative positions – the Democrats successfully painted Buck as an out-of-the-mainstream social conservative with disregard for women. His botched appearance on Meet the Press and his innocuous (and rather humorous, in-context) comments about “high heels” at a social gathering, just two of several examples, easily provided fodder for the Democrats. In essence, it wasn’t a win for Bennet: it was a loss for Buck.
- Governorship: This one’s easy. The Republican primary was a mess, the party ended up with a genuine fraud as its nominee, and the race was divided three ways. Everyone knew that Hickenlooper was going to take home the gold and be our next governor. This was no surprise. But what was extraordinarily impressive was that, despite the downfalls of the two top-tier candidates for the party (U.S. Senate and Governor) – which traditionally drags down the lower ticket races – Republicans still scored key victories in other races.
- Congress, General Assembly, and Statewide Positions: Incredible victories in two U.S. Congressional Districts. Outstanding wins for Attorney General, Secretary of State, and Treasurer. Retaking the state House of Representatives. All this in spite of the Senate and gubernatorial collapse. The idea that Republicans lost Colorado in 2012 just doesn’t fit with the data. Sure, we won the State House by just one seat – but that’s the margin we lost the State Senate by, too. In addition, these were tougher, more local races that were already leaning toward Democrat favorability. However, if we take it on the whole, Republicans scored 6 victories to the Democrats 3 – a 2:1 ratio.
Now that we’ve debunked the myth that 2010 was a loss for Republicans in Colorado, let’s take a look at the present facts:
- RealClearPolitics.com has Obama leading, yes – but only by an average of 1.2 percentage points. The most recent CBS/NYT/Quinnipiac poll – hardly a right-wing polling outlet – has Romney leading by an astounding five percentage points. Rasmussen Reports daily tracking poll shows the race at a tie. Together, these recent polls show an improvement for Romney from polls that have regularly shown Obama in the lead. Even the Denver Post was forced to acknowledge the lead.
- Arapahoe County, my home county, has been identified by several major, national media outlets as one of the battleground counties not just of the state, but of the entire country. In fact, just last month the Wall Street Journal did a piece focused directly on Arapahoe and the sentiments that are waning more and more away from Obama and toward Romney. I encourage you to read the article closely if you are able to access it, but it shows a steady victory for Mitt when it comes to Obama’s class warfare rhetoric turning off voters, especially the more affluent voters that make up much of Arapahoe County. Plus, with Obama’s all-out assault on the Catholic Church, which seems to be a large group in this crucial county, and the energy of Mitt’s Mormon counterparts in the state (Arapahoe also has a sizable Mormon population), Catholics and Mormons can be expected to pour out in droves.
- Finally, as I addressed in my previous post suggesting that national odds are in Romney’s favor, the enthusiasm gap nationally is striking. A Gallup recently polled a 51% to 39% Republican advantage in voter enthusiasm nationwide. This can, and I believe will, translate to a state like Colorado in terms of voter turnout, potentially a real bane for Colorado Dems.
Of course, this prediction is not definitive, and nothing is ever set in stone in an election – especially one as volatile and bitter as this cycle. Colorado is certainly complicated by it’s split in voter registration, with approximately 1/3 Republican, 1/3 Democrat, and 1/3 Independent voters. But this just means that conservatives and Republicans have to make sure to keep vigilant in this state, to remain active, and to fight the good fight as hard as we can to turnout our voters and bring disaffected Independent voters, many of whom have turned off from Obama’s 3.5 years of failure and high unemployment.
Together, we’ll paint Colorado red again.
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