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October 17, 2018 04:23 PM UTC

The Race for Governor Does Not Appear to be Tightening

  • by: Colorado Pols

Today the political prognosticators at unveiled their latest predictions about the races for Governor across the country. FiveThirtyEight’s take on Colorado’s gubernatorial battle is about as optimistic as you can get for Democrat Jared Polis:


We’re not going to get into a discussion here about probabilities and likely outcomes, in part because attempting any sort of math is frightening, but we can still make some good assumptions based on everything we know with three weeks to go in the 2018 election.

According to, Polis has a 90% chance of becoming Colorado’s next Governor and projects to have a 9.4 point advantage (meaning Polis is nearly in double-digit win territory). Interestingly enough, this about what Colorado Pols readers have been predicting in numerous non-scientific queries conducted in this space. We also learned today that a new poll from Republican-aligned firm Magellan Strategies shows Polis with a 7-point lead over Republican Walker Stapleton.

We’re seeing these new numbers the same week that a shady outside group started to run ridiculously-false new television ads portraying Polis as the villain in a 1999 incident in which he was actually the victim of a crime. And finally, it was just a few weeks ago that Stapleton started airing his first big General Election television ad that was (oddly enough) 90% about Polis.

Stapleton has responded to questions about polling numbers by shrugging off the existence of all polls, which is probably what he needs to say. But candidates who believe they are in a close race do not make TV ads that are entirely about their opponent. Likewise, Stapleton supporters would not pack a television ad full of lies that are easily crushed by media outlets unless they thought that they were in a deep hole already. In short, Team Stapleton is behaving exactly how you would expect them to behave if they felt as though the race was getting away from them.

The other interesting thing to note here is that the negative attacks on Polis might not be moving the needle. The TV ad from Colorado [cough] Citizens for Truth [cough, cough] did not go on the air before Magellan began its survey of voters, but anti-Polis ads from Stapleton had been running for weeks. A Keating/Magellan poll released in early October showed Polis with the same 7-point lead we see in today’s release.

As Donald Trump reminded us all in 2016, it ain’t over until it’s over. But if you’re looking for signs that Stapleton might end up pulling it out in November…well, there aren’t any.


13 thoughts on “The Race for Governor Does Not Appear to be Tightening

    1. No, let's not forget the Tom Bradley Effect. This is probably a statistical tie in reality.

      As for Polis having a 90% chance of being elected governor, did not Nate Silver give Hillary Clinton an 84% of being elected president two years ago at this point?

      1. R & R: you're correct about the Hillary prediction. Evidently 538 missed the big swings to Trump in WI, MI, PA. Not "big" in total vote numbers, but enough to put all three in Trump's column and give him the presidency. 

        1. Don't forget, the polls were right about the popular vote, where hillary won bigly.  No state has an electoral college to screw up the popular vote.

        2. also couldn't react to the specifics of the FBI Director Comey letter to Congress being leaked.

          Nor have I seen any indication of an enthusiastic rally for Stapleton, the type Trump was able to produce.

          Nor have I seen a great deal of "free media" devoted to Stapleton. The number I saw on the 2016 campaign was $5 billion for Trump, $3.6 (or maybe $3.4?) billion for HRC. 

          So, Stapleton has no  "free media" advantage. No enthusiasm gap. As of yet, no law enforcement letter (and the "criminal" charge offered by Stapleton backers is pathetically weak and probably backfiring).  No structural advantage like the Electoral College to skew things. 

          The only hope left is in the Bradley effect / "ick" factor issue. Even the Bradley effect was only good for 5% — one study looking at many races had its impact as about 3%.

  1. I just got a crazy ad pushed to me on my phone from SOS ( I can't take a screen shot from my phone, but it showed an attractive blonde thinking hard about:

    Don't vote for Polis for Governor! He wants to bring Sharia into our schools!

    I shit you not, that's what it said. It's based in Greeley. I'll look into it, see if I can find out where the money's coming from.

    The registered agent for “Save our state“, a business registered in Colorado in 2004, reactivated in 2011 and again in 2015, is Michele Austin, of Englewood.

    She stars in the video scaring people about Polis, and is listed as owner of Red Map Strategies, caucus secretary at the Colorado General Assembly, and treasurer and registered agent at the Colorado Leadership Fund.

    All you big time reporters waiting for someone to research your next scoop, here ya go:

    Colorado Republicans Underwrite Vicious Smear Telephone Ad against Jared Polis

    Holy crap.


      1. Any real difference between "sharia" and the rapture/theocracy desired by the far right wing religious groups?

        I wonder if Michele Austin is acquainted with Gordon Klingenschmidt?

        1. No real differences except the names on the checks, CHB. It's all about social control.

          What's funny about this particular lady is that she is quite blatant about who she is and what she's doing. She is the registered agent for "Save Our State", as well as the CEO of Red Map Strategies, and a former secretary and treasurer of the Colorado GOP's political arm, the Colorado Leadership Fund.

          To top that off, she stars in her own unfunny "comedy" videos (designed to appeal to millennials and "edgy" people, according to the SOS website) . It's obviously the face of Michele Austin and matches her LinkedIn profile. If she's trying to appeal to millenials by targeting their phones, she's seriously underestimating their taste and intelligence. I have 14 year old students who would think her anti-Polis ad was lame AF.  They also get all their news from their phones – but they don't vote.

          The videos disparage Polis as a tax-hunting socialist who wants to "Californicate" Colorado and kill 250,000 gas and oil jobs….same old tired talking points as the entire GOP base. 

          I don't know how much it costs to be able to "push" these ads to phones – I don't seem to opt out of these ads as long as I have an android phone with Google calling the shots – but it must be pricey. Where does an amateur propagandist like Austin come up with those kinds of funds ?

    1. A gay Jewish guy is a proponent of Sharia law……..

      Exactly how stupid are people?

      This might sell in Alabama, West Virginia or South Carolina but I have to believe that most Coloradans – being better educated – see how ridiculous this stuff sounds.

    2. Nice. Wouldn't be a GOP-involved election without a heapin' helpin' of racist piggery. 

      It'll never happen, of course, but the state needs to nut up and get serious about enforcing C.R.S. § 1-13-109, under which knowingly or recklessly making, publishing or circulating false statements relating to a candidate for public office is a crime punishable by fines and/or imprisonment. 

  2. The only person to overcome those kind of odds had Russian intelligence agencies hacking into elections. I don't think that Stapleton has the same kind of pull with Putin as the draft dodging traitor Trump.

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