Colorado Statesman reporter Ernest Luning has been diligently tracking ballot returns since ballots were first mailed last Monday. Today, Luning provides some important historical context:
Share of #copolitics statewide ballot return 14 days out:
Party 2012 2016
GOP 41.6% 32.9%
Dem 36.3% 41.1%
Unaf 22.1% 24.6%
— Ernest Lee Luning (@eluning) October 25, 2016
(BTW: If you’re interested in regular updates on this topic, we’d suggest you follow Luning on Twitter: @eluning)
We’ve been marveling at the rate of ballot returns for Democrats since numbers first started to emerge last week, and now even Republican strategists are getting nervous. From Jon Murray of the Denver Post:
— Jon Murray (@JonMurray) October 25, 2016
Right-leaning political consulting/polling firm Magellan Strategies has been poring over ballot returns today, and they don’t have good news for Republicans:
As of this morning, the total number of ballots returned is 287,854, an increase of 128,959 from yesterday morning’s tally. The increase in ballots returned among Democrat voters since yesterday morning was 55,476, bringing their current total to 118,444. The Republican ballot return total increased by 39,779, bringing their total to 94,734. If you do the math, the Democrat advantage over Republicans in ballots returned is now 23,710, nearly triple since yesterdays lead.
Based on our 10 years of experience tracking early and absentee voting in Colorado, it’s very clear that a Democrat wave election is in the making. Although there is still a lot of time before Election Day, Colorado Democrats have never had an early voting lead this large with two weeks to go. [Pols emphasis] In the 2008 election two weeks prior to Election Day, Democrats held an early turnout lead of 2,987 votes. (184,386 Democrats had voted / 181,399 Republicans had voted). In the 2012 election with two weeks to go, Republicans held a lead of 11,798 votes. (72,585 Democrats had voted / 84, 383 Republicans had voted.)
We’ve been saying for awhile in this space that we can’t recall another time when Democrats were continually outpacing Republicans in early voting. There’s not really much of a question that Colorado Republicans, by and large, do not appear to be enthusiastic about casting ballots this year; the key question at this point is just how bad turnout might get in the next 14 days.