Tuesday Ballot Returns: Great News for Better-Known Candidates

UPDATE #2: More interesting voter trends from Magellan Strategies, a Republican polling and consulting firm, show that at least 28% of Republicans and 32.5% of Democrats that have voted thus far are casting a ballot for the first time in a Primary Election.


UPDATE: In 1998, Colorado saw primaries on both the Democratic and Republican sides, for both U.S. Senate and Governor. Turnout in the 1998 Primary was 25.5% for Republicans and 19.7% for Democrats, so we are well into record territory here.


Kudos to the Colorado Secretary of State’s office, which is going above and beyond the call of duty in reporting ballot returns early today. The numbers below are as of Noon, while a second report will come out after 3:00 p.m.

*Party/ Ballots Returned Thus Far/ Total Active Voters/ Percent Returned

Democrats: 298,062/ 817,458/ 36%

Republicans: 340,788/ 855,667/ 40%

Considering that El Paso and Weld Counties are two of those that are not conducting all-mail balloting in Colorado, it’s safe to say that these numbers are going to rise significantly. This is really good news for the campaigns of Sen. Michael Bennet, Jane Norton, and Scott McInnis, because (as we’ve said repeatedly) the more well-known candidates almost always benefit from higher than normal turnout. Both Democrats and Republicans are voting in record numbers, easily surpassing turnout from any of the three previous Primary races.

The one caveat here is on the Republican side, where there have been rumblings for weeks of Republicans undervoting on their ballots. So while it’s true that a record number of Republicans are returning their ballot, it may not be true that a record number of people are actually voting in the Senate or Governor Primary. We’d say it’s more likely that people are undervoting the Governor’s race than the Senate race, but the point here is that these returns may not mean as much for McInnis as they will for Bennet.

Richard Coolidge, the Public Information Officer for the SOS Office, also included these handy tips with today’s report:

The question is “When” not “If” provisional ballots are counted. Primary night results are only an initial tabulation. The OFFICIAL count is due 13 days after the primary when the canvass board meets and reviews the votes. This 13 days allows time to verify provisional ballots and time for overseas military ballots to arrive (8-day extension for these ballots).

When will results be posted? Clerks are allowed to process ballots 15 days before the election. For the most part, counties will have most ballots cast up until Monday-ish processed and ready for tabulation after 7:00pm tonight. The rest of the results will be forthcoming. Obviously, your patience waiting for these results is most appreciated.

74 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. wade norris says:

    Republican turnout in raw numbers suggest a more energized base.

  2. StrykerK2 says:

    If the higher turnout will result simply in the better known candidate winning, I wonder who that is.  

    Bennet was up on TV first and ran months of positive TV on himself to boost name ID, but he was completely unknown prior.

    Romanoff got on later, but has enjoyed the benefits of full-time campaigning and the earned media that comes with it.  Additionally he was well known at least among the base.

    I think it’s an interesting question.  On the Republican side, you have to think Norton is better known, except that people will confuse her with other Nortons — not always good.  So is the higher name ID helpful to her?

    • Colorado Pols says:

      Bennet and Norton have been the most well-known of the candidates. That gap closes somewhat as we get closer to Election Day (today).

      Bennet started out with higher name ID, and had much more airtime than Romanoff, so it’s hard to argue that Bennet doesn’t have the better name ID (just a few months ago, one poll showed that 55% of Democrats had never heard of Romanoff — that’s not the case now, but that shows how far behind he was).

      Norton began with higher name ID than Buck, but Buck’s TV ads have been more prevalent (though Norton’s name is still better known). We’ve always wondered if Norton’s name ID is overall a positive, since she can be confused with Gale Norton,, but in a GOP Primary, that name confusion probably matters less (since Gale was also a Republican).

      In terms of turnout, the more uninformed voters you get, the more you have people just voting based on which name they remember best. Most people who don’t really follow the campaigns won’t separate the noise (the good or bad name ID).

      If the candidates with the best name ID win, then it will be Bennet, Norton and McInnis, respectively.  

      • StrykerK2 says:

        that’s the issue.  “a few months ago” Romanoff wasn’t on TV with ads, wasn’t on MSNBC twice a week as a guest, etc.

        Not saying his is higher — saying I don’t know if Bennet’s is much better.

        Also there is the issue of “which democrats” of course — if you poll all of them, then sure — Romanoff probably isn’t well known.  We are still talking about 300K here though (a bit more later on sure) — that’s a pretty small audience.

        I think it’s a question we won’t really have an answer to without serious exit polling (which is probably impossible given this race being mail in — no one will do it in 13 days when everyone knows who voted and who didn’t).

        As for the Norton point, you very well could be right there.  I guess it’s mostly disturbing people wouldn’t care if they thought it was Gail (and know her).

        • Voyageur says:

          and Norton Salt…oops, that’s Morton.

          But the International Norton Conspiracy is widespread in Colorado.  For my part, I keep wanting to call Ken Buck Dan Buck.  Dan was the super efficient staffer for Pat Schroeder for all those years and all-around good guy.

        • Colorado Pols says:

          Is that Romanoff was unknown to 55% of Democrats just a few months ago — which means he has a looonnggg climb to getting his name ID as high as a sitting Senator who has on TV exponentially more often.

          All your other arguments aren’t really relevant. Logically, there is really no way that Romanoff could have higher name ID than Bennet. That doesn’t mean Romanoff can’t beat Bennet. But your question was about name ID only, and there’s just no realistic argument to make that Bennet isn’t more well-known; he has the benefits of being a sitting Senator and he was on television significantly more often than Romanoff. When you combine these major points, along with the fact that Romanoff was unknown to the majority of Democrats just a few months ago, it would be completely illogical for Romanoff to have higher name ID than Bennet right now.

        • JO says:

          We now learn that the winner — of any contest, presumably — will be the better known. Known for what doesn’t matter; just name recognition. Lady Gaga elected! Vows to name office for which she was running later

          Before, I seem to recall it was the better-financed will win, financed by whom and in exchange for what didn’t matter; just the bank balance. Warren Buffet and Bill Gates Elected. Expected to Designate Home States Next Week

          Nice thing about these gauges is they are numerical. No more arguing about issues, policy, obligations, boyish good looks, high heels versus cowboy boots (although that could be a future gauge: who’s heels are higher? Whose toes more pointed?). Hell, we don’t even have to wonder about the Biggest Issue of All: When, exactly when — year, month, date, day of week, hour of day, minute of hour, second of minute, with accompany photographs — when, sir, did you enter Nicaragua and on what dates did you teach English, to whom at what location! Lieutenant Colonel North wants to know and he wants to know now!

          • Colorado Pols says:

            The discussion here is that IF the most well-known candidate is going to win, then that should mean Bennet, Norton and McInnis will be victorious. The higher the number of voters, the higher the likelihood that the most well-known candidate will indeed win, but that’s not set in stone by any means. We’re just talking about trends.

            • JO says:

              Did I also get it wrong about how the best-financed candidate should be supported so that he can buy the office down the road?

              • Voyageur says:

                the shit-slinging mode.  When do you toggle to kiss and make up?

                • JO says:

                  Did I specify who did the kissing? Anyway, you can read details on where to show up, and when, in the Cheery Cheeks News, below the fold, so to speak. Due to high demand, we may have to extend hours on Wednesday.

                  (PS: Please refrain from using ChapStick(r) in the 24 hours before your appointment. “Naked lips” are so much more effective. Thanks.)

      • rwnemanich says:

        Every election in a change period is developing its own dynamics. This primary was well known to most of the interested electorate and the turnout is as much a reflection of an almost all mail in ballot for over 70% of the electorate and in the two Front Range counties mail in ballots went out to almost half of the electorate.

        There is a duo anti-establishment undercurrent with the electorate and also the economy issues.

        This race will be close.  

  3. LakewoodTodd says:

    I decided to do my own unofficial survey of the Democratic Primary. I have two good friends whom I know are committed Democrats but not junkies like me. (I also confirmed that neither knew who I voted for.) So I decided to ask both of them for whom they voted in the Senate race. Both voted for Bennett.

    One has been unaware of how ugly this campaign has gotten in recent weeks and didn’t know about the various accusations flying around. The other had heard some of the radio and television ads and said she was particularly turned off by the tone of the attacks on Bennett.  

    I asked her if it would matter to know that the ads were not run by Romanoff but by a third party. She said it would matter a little bit but she was skeptical that a candidate would not know ANYTHING about an ad intended to benefit him.

    Very unscientific but interesting. And, regardless of my mail in ballot, I will be 100% behind whomever comes out of this election.

    • JO says:

      I asked three people who voted for Romanoff whether they thought taking money from investment bankers and corporate PACs would influence a politician’s future deliberations, votes, commitments made in cloakrooms, or any other way. One was sure any politician would forget who contributed money before the polls even closed. One said she knew for certain that corporations gave money away simply to avoid having to buy bigger coffers, thus allowing anyone to pocket cash without doing anything in return. The third said she was filing to run for office, any office, the same day and immediately dictated a letter to the Businessmen Concerned with the Common Good Political Action Committee announcing her candidacy.

      Then I asked whether procreation was relevant to holding office. All three heartily agreed that they were really voting for a candidate’s family, not the candidate, and were horrified, shocked, and entirely stunned that they had voted for the opponent of a family man. One of them fell on her knees, weeping and tearing at her hair, and prayed that she had put insufficient postage on her ballot.

      Not wanting to upset anyone further, I vowed to ask just one last question: what if Obama endorsed one candidate and Clinton endorsed the other? I knew I shouldn’t have pressed it. The three fell into a vicious street brawl: one thought Obama was Commander in Chief; one thought Clinton seemed more empathetic; and one said she was following Lady Gaga’s advice no matter what. I called 911 and left the scene to file this report.

    • ColoDem Di says:

      This weekend I had dinner with a friend who is a lifelong Dem and always votes.  He is not a junky and doesn’t know anything about either candidate.  He said he voted for Bennet because he was so turned off by Romanoff’s negative ads.

      • StrykerK2 says:

        usually our friends and social circles are like us in many ways.  All of us can tell stories about how our social circle is filled with people who voted the way we did.

      • koop says:

        my wife cancelled my vote by voting for the other guy

        the sad thing is knowing this we actually took the time to drive to the polling place to drop off our mutually cancelling ballots.

        ahh, democracy

        • PERA hopeful says:

          My husband and I voted the same (so he says, anyway), but if we were cancelling each other out, I’d make damn sure we both dropped off our ballots together.  Much as I love my dear husband, I wouldn’t trust him enough to agree just to pitch the mutually-cancelling ballots.  I could imagine him saying he had thrown his away, then after I threw mine away he’d be driving to the post office with his.

          Ahh, democracy?  No, ahhh marriage!

    • Teeter says:

      and from BJ (whatever that stands for) even!

      With OFA on the ground that probably bodes well for Bennet turn out, and, perhaps, the inverse for the GOP, favoring the insurgents?

      • bjwilson83 says:

        Bennet is actually newer to the political scene than Romanoff, so who knows?

        • RedGreen says:

          these first-time Democratic primary voters are the new Obama voters from 2008 (who would have had no reason to vote in Colorado’s primary that year). If so, it probably is a good sign for Bennet, and even more so for Democrats in Colorado this fall — it’s always been a big question whether these voters will return without Obama on the ballot.

    • bjwilson83 says:

      The party regulars are the ones who vote for the “well known” candidates; new voters like grassroots type people who have inspired them to vote.

  4. DavidThi808 says:

    Why? Because if they do I’ll be the only one who predicted it 🙂

    • Teeter says:

      on the Dem side were a lot of folks pulled in by Obama, 2008 and on the GOP side as BJ (whatever that stands for) said–tea baggers.  

      • StrykerK2 says:

        on one hand you have many (like MADCO) that became active and are now supporting the establishment.  On the other, you have a lot of pissed off new voters that expected unicorns and rainbows overnight.  The first will side with Bennet, the second with Romanoff.

        • Voyageur says:

          though I commend you for a thoughtful analysis.

          The question is who is the establishment choice: The former speaker of the house who got 60 percent of the vote at the state assembly, showing his strength with party insiders and activists?  The appointed incumbent with good ties to Hickenlooper, appointed by Ritter, and strong ties to business community?

            It’s one kind of establishment vs. another kind.  There’s no firm answer here, just a culture clash that crosses the usual establishment/anti-establishment lines.

          • StrykerK2 says:

            unless of course they were all Obama caucus/delegate/etc, in which case they might have gone through this assembly, in which case they are 60% Romanoff.

            The point is I don’t know, and there are no large, public, comprehensive polls that could give us a good enough picture.

            Fortunately we will know in a few hours and can stop navel gazing.

          • jpsandscl says:

            I believe the establishment line has more to do with the entrenched party heirarchy than insider/activists as you call them.

            I hardly consider myself an insider, even though I’ve been working every election to elect Democrats since Gore’s ill-fated run in 2000. I would fall on the activist/not insider end of the scale.

            On the other end of the scale are the party apparatchiks, pols and power brokers. Thus the overwhelming elected official endorsements for Bennet (they all must hang together, or most assuredly they will hang alone, to paraphrase a great man…) These latter Dems are the establishment INMHO.

            The former are the insurgents trying to overturn the power structure to benefit more people. I’m thinking Chicago 1968 on a lower keyed scale.

            • Voyageur says:

              more like like sticks with like.  Members of Congress and tthe gov, of course, stuck with bennet    legislators and former legislators mostly with romo.  Ken Gordon, former senate majority leader, sos candidate, strong romo guy, is no outsider.  Neither is Mark Ferradino, etc.

                I call this closer to a civil war (or an uncivil one) among the establishment than outsiders vs. insiders.   Cary Kennedy is certainly no outsider.  She stuck with her friend and patron Romo (though largely and wisely kept her candidzacy apart.)

                 I have a hard time seeing Romanoff, that horny-handed son of Harvard, as a modern pitchfork Ben Tillman.   That’s just as well.  Tillman was one of the lowest forms of American political life ever.

                As a journalist, I covered my first campaign in 1964.  It’s been a while.  This is the first time, freed of the “journalists can’t be citizens” curse, that I’ve actually been able to do a bit of active work in a campaign.  

               anyway, good luck to you.   At least one of us should be happy tonight.

        • Teeter says:

          to have cheap fun with.

        • MADCO says:

          And expect to be active long after his 8 years are up.

        • CourtneyLovecraft says:

          And a lot more of the latter than people realize, I think.

    • RedGreen says:

      Well, since all three led their races in the most recent Survey USA poll, that’s hardly the roguish prediction you think it is.

  5. StrykerK2 says:

    the 4of4 voters are probably older voters, as older voters vote every election.  They are only 15.8% of dems casting ballots.  

    Didn’t PPP say that 33% of voters in the primary would be 65+?

  6. Ellie says:

    if SoS is going to post on their website primary votes and totals as they come in?  So far there is not a link as there is in Mesa County.

  7. rwnemanich says:

    El Paso County which has the 4th largest Democrats (81,000) has only 21.5% reported at Noon, take their numbers out and Dems in the rest of the state are at 38.58%

    What I am saying is that Denver Metro is pulling the turnout where both candidates are well known.  

  8. ThillyWabbit says:

    There was a huge voter registration surge that came with the presidential election. A good chunk of those first time primary voters this year were first time general voters 2 years ago. On top of that, the all-mail primary made it easier to vote.

  9. Half Glass Full says:

    OK, everyone will say the Republicans had a bunch of first-timers voting due to the Tea Party effect.

    But what are we to make of the fact that the percentage of first-time voters for Democrats is actually HIGHER than that of Republicans?

    1. What brought out all these first-time Democratic primary voters? Somehow I find it hard to believe it was Romanoff attack ads, or those scintillating Bennet “Washington versus Washington” ads. So what was it, then?

    2. And will that translate into first-time voters in November?

    Because if the Democrats succeed in getting a higher percentage of first-time voters to the polls in November than the Republicans do, I think that may bode ill for the vaunted Tea Party effect.

Leave a Reply

Comment from your Facebook account

You may comment with your Colorado Pols account above (click here to register), or via Facebook below.