GOP-Leaning Pollster Sees Democratic Tsunami in Colo

(Promoted by Colorado Pols)

“If 2018 was a Democratic wave, then 2020 is very likely to be a tsunami.”

That’s the conclusion of an analysis of Colorado voting trends, released in a blog post last week by Ryan Winger, Director of Data Analysis and Research Projects at Magellan Strategies, a Republican-leaning pollster.

Here are three paragraphs of details from the post:

Winger: “It seems obvious to say that voter turnout matters. Of course, the outcome of any election is going to be determined by who actually votes. But it’s often under appreciated just how much voter turnout can change on an annual basis, and how those changes alter the fate of candidates and ballot measures. The last two elections in Colorado are instructive. The evidence from the 2018 election in Colorado suggested a huge turn toward Democrats as they swept the statewide offices, while conservatives rightfully claimed a victory in 2019 with the defeat of Proposition CC. The difference between 2018 and 2019? Voter turnout. Over 2.5 million votes were cast in 2018 compared to over 1.5 million in 2019.

“And those extra roughly 1 million voters in the 2018 election matter. They are the difference between Republicans finishing as a plurality of 34.4% of the electorate among all votes cast in 2019 and finishing in third behind Unaffiliated voters and Democrats in 2018. Those roughly 1 million voters are also the difference between voters aged 18-34 comprising only 14% of the electorate in 2019 compared to 22.5% in 2018. Clearly, those extra one million voters are younger and more Democratic-leaning. That fact alone, more than any other observation, explains why election results in Colorado can be so different from year-to-year. So what will voter turnout look like in 2020? If past presidential elections are any indication, it is very likely to be younger and more in favor of Democratic candidates than the 2018 electorate. If 2018 was a Democratic wave, then 2020 is very likely to be a tsunami.

“That’s because as historic as the 2018 voter turnout was, it still did not match turnout from 2016 when 2.85 million votes were cast. This isn’t surprising and it’s certainly not unique to Colorado. Presidential elections always have higher voter turnout than midterm elections. In fact, in the last two presidential elections here in Colorado, there were over 900,000 voters who participated in a presidential election who did not vote in the previous midterm election.”

Winger goes on to predict that it’s “likely” voter turnout will pass 3 million in 2020, as the percentage of young voters, many Unaffiliated, increases further. Between Jan. 1, 2017, and Election Day, 2019, about 580,000 new voters registered.

Winger looks at these numbers and sees darkness on the horizon for Republicans in 2020.

His advice for Republicans: “maximize turnout” among GOP voters.

The problem: “Appealing to the Republican base is often in direct contrast to the kinds of issues and messages that attract support from Unaffiliated voters.”

“High turnout will be across the board,” Winger told the Colorado Times Recorder. “Republicans will be high turnout. Democrats will be high turnout. Unaffiliated voters will be high turnout. But those Unaffiliated voters are finally starting to punch at their weight in terms of voting. For the longest time, there was a high percentage of Unaffiliated voters registered, but they didn’t show up to vote. That’s what was so historic about 2018, is that more Unaffiliateds voted than Democrats or Republicans. And there’s no reason to think that is going to change this year. “

8 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. Blackie says:

    A question not asked by Magellan: How will the recent U.S. Senate vote by what I call the "51 Cowards" affect that younger turnout and vote that is talked about? I do not think it will be pretty for the Republicans.

  2. RepealAndReplace says:

    Stay the course, Senator Gardner! Some day someone will thank you!

  3. JohnInDenver says:

    National estimates are that voters will go up substantially in 2020. 

    Turnout in the prior midterm has a good record of corresponding with the following general election.  2014 was close to the average midterm turnout of 40%. 2016 was a bit ahead of the average general election turnout, at 60.1%.   2018 was a modern record of 50-53% — at least 10% higher. Based on that, Michael McDonald of the US Elections Project is suggesting a jump in turnout

    2016     Ballots cast= 138,846,571    or 60.1% of eligible voters

    2020     Est. Range   156,000,000-161,000,000    (65-67%)

    Others estimate a possibility of a 70% turnout, which would be about 173 million.

    CNN notes "Half the electorate (50%) say they are extremely enthusiastic about voting in next year's presidential election. That's the highest percentage ever recorded in a CNN poll since we started asking the question in 2003."  In 2015, a year before the 2016 election, the corresponding number was 26%.

  4. kwtree says:

    To preserve democracy, we need more states to follow Colorado’s electoral reforms – paper ballots, same day registration, and we need to support organizations like Stacey Abrams FairFight , anti-gerrymandering coalitions like Obama and Holder’s National Democratic Redistricting Committee, the ACLU voting rights project, and more. 

    When voting access is free and fair, democracy wins.

  5. CDW says:

    A tsunami only if people vote and vote blue. Part of Hillary's problem was defections from a certain quarter of the L voters. 

  6. Conserv. Head Banger says:

    “maximize turnout among GOP voters………”

    Easy to say, hard to accomplish, for following reasons, in no particular order:

    1) Trump is at the head of the ticket. Even if only 10% of past Trump voters defect, or stay home, it’s bad news for the GOP.

    2) face of the current Colorado GOP: Ken Buck, Kristi Burton Brown, Steve House & all those “successful recalls.” 

    3) Dudley Brown. Not all GOP voters are “ammo-sexuals.” 

    4) the non-conservative, religious, persons, who want to control young female vaginas and control what people do in their bedrooms. Remember the “personhood” ballot initiatives failed in 2008, 2010, 2014 by an average vote of 69% to 31%. Those  ‘No’ votes weren’t all Democrats and unaffiliateds.

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