Monday, October 31, 2005

Colorado Election Projection: Ref. C and D 2005

Referendum C is Too Close To Call

Projected Results
Yes: 49.4% No: 50.6% Probability: See Footnote.

Referendum D is Too Close To Call

Projected Results
Yes: 48.7% No: 51.3% Probability: See Footnote.


The reason why the races are too close to call is because the predicted vote percentages are the mean points of a zone of probability. For each predicted value (excuse the mathematics) the 95% zone of probability is -/+ 2.5.

For example, our current projection on Referendum C is that it will get 49.4% of the vote. However we can only predict to 95% accuracy that the percentage of the vote that Referendum C gets will be between 46.9% and 51.9%. The same spread applies for Referendum D. A good rule of thumb then would be that if the predicted result falls below 47.5% then we will be able to be 95% confident that the issues will fail (and vice versa if the predicted result is above 52.5%.

Final Fundraising Numbers...

Here are the final fundraising numbers from the two sides of the Referendum C and D battle...

Pro Side

Vote Yes on C and D

Total expenditures as of Late September Report (9/28) $3,722,000
Early October expenditures: $1,173,000
Total expenditures as of Early October Report (10/17) $4,895,000
Funds on hand as of 10/17 $477,000

Con Side

Vote No; It's Your Dough

Total expenditures as of Late September Report (9/28) $130,000
Early October expenditures: $123,000
Total expenditures as of Early October Report (10/17) $253,000
Funds on hand as of 10/17 $15,000

If C Wins, You Lose Committee

Total expenditures as of Late September Report (9/28) $222,000
Early October expenditures: $104,000
Total expenditures as of Early October Report (10/17) $326,000
Funds on hand as of 10/17 $104,000

Colorado Club for Growth-Issue Committee

Total expenditures as of Late September Report (9/28) $582,000
Early October expenditures: $626,000
Total expenditures as of Early October Report (10/17) $1,208,000
Funds on hand as of 10/17 $19,000

As of these reports the Vote Yes on C and D campaign has outspent the allied opposition by a factor of about 2.75 to one. Normally to get a ballot measure to pass you need to outspend your opposition by 10-1, however, the Yes on C and D side has spent so much money that they are probably facing as many problems from diminishing returns as they are from the opposition.

Tomorrow we will do a projection based upon county by county projections (we are kinda lazy so some counties, such as the eastern plains will just be grouped together). Look for it around noon.

Also, check for an updated version of our Referendum C and D homepage.

Alea iacta est...

Alea iacta est...the die has been cast.

Well not yet, but we are getting close.

With no new polling information out yet our final projection will stay what it is. Its our sophomore effort, lets see how much better we are than last year.

We are being flooded with new requests for the futures market so we've extended the trading deadline until 5:00 pm tomorrow. That's it. No more extensions, don't even ask.

You can also submit your B market guesses up to 5:00 pm tomorrow. Be sure to get them to us, we want to put the mean and the standard deviation up before polls close tomorrow so that we can test the B market in real time.

We will also be putting up an analysis of this election cycle tomorrow during the day. This is a combined effort of a historian, a MBA, a banker and a biology teacher, even I don't know exactly how it will end up.

Thanks everyone for playing, and if you haven't yet, get out and vote!

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Futures Market Info...Five Days to Go.

The Futures Markets will be open all weekend long and until 5:00 PM Mountain Time on 11/1/05.

The A market is the regular futures market. Volume has picked up of late. The payout for that market is $100 to the winner, $50 to second place and $25 to third. Read the FAQ's to find out more.

The B market is simpler and we really would like at least 100 participants in it. All you have to do is guess what percentage of the vote Referendum C will get at the polls. You must guess to within 1/100 of 1%, for example you would guess that it will get 52.14%. All you need is an e-mail address to register. The winner of this market gets $100.

Thanks for reading and playing.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

One week to go

There is only one week left until election day in Colorado. We are going to extend our time period for both of the futures markets until 5:00 pm Mountain Time on Monday October 31st.

Also on Monday we will release our final projection for the outcome of the Referendum C and D election.

For those of you who are political junkies here are a few tidbits to chew on...

While sorting through the information in the Denver Post poll from October 17th, we found some details that make the passage of C and D less likely.

The story contained this paragraph:

...the poll uncovered several bad omens for backers of the ballot measures: too many undecided Republicans, slipping support in the Denver suburbs and a majority of voters who say they'd accept across-the-board budget cuts.

Which points out the regional problem that the Yes on C campaign is having. You don't have to take Mile High Delphi's word, listen to Brad Coker:

The narrow margin suggests that the ballot measures are likely to lose because undecided voters typically opt for the status quo, Coker said. Another factor is Republicans compose the biggest group of undecided voters.

"Unless it's over 50 percent, I'm always skeptical," Coker said. "It could pass. It could fail. You can't really make a call."

The poll also confirmed a pattern that, if it holds through to the general election on November 1st, will spell defeat for the C and D campaigns.

Recently poll numbers have shown the ballot measure picking up steam. For example support for Referendum C increased by four percentage points from July until mid October. During that period most other ballot initiatives have lost support in prior years elections. However, it appears that the pickup isn't spread evenly around:

The lead is widening in strongholds such as Denver. In July, Referendum C had 56 percent support; now it has 66 percent.

But the ballot measure is falling further behind in the suburbs.

In July, poll respondents in the north and east suburbs were evenly split at 41 percent on Referendum C. Now, 43 percent support and 46 percent oppose the measure.

In the south and west suburbs, the number of poll respondents planning to vote against Referendum C has risen from 43 percent to 48 percent.

This discrepancy makes the passage of C and D increasingly unlikely.

Simply put, 66% support with 42% voter turnout doesn't get you to 50% state wide when the rest of the state votes 55-45 with 50% turnout.

A Rocky Mountain News story by Stuart Steers demonstrates this fact. The way this election works, it pays for the supporters of C and D to rake up huge majorities in Denver and Boulder counties, however only four of the metro counties will be voting by mail, two of which, Douglas and Arapahoe, are widely expected to vote against C and D. "Typically, in off-year elections, mail balloting brings in a much larger turnout than traditional voting at percincts." Boulder will be voting by mail, but Denver, which the yes on C campaign is depending on to get over the hump is voting by percinct. "'We expect the turnout to be consistent with other off year elections, around 42%,' said Alton Dillard, spokesman for the Denver Election Commission." With Denver unable to rake up a huge Yes count, Douglas, Arapahoe and El Paso Counties should easily be able to neutralize the effects of Denver and Boulder, making the rest of Colorado the real battleground, and basically consigning C and D to defeat.

Another Stuart Steers story available here reveals how each campaign acknowledges this structural problem for C and D.

For more detail into the structural problems facing C and D I suggest you read this Ciruli Issue Brief. Especially go down to the table labeled "Turnout and Required Vote for Proponents." It gives a much more detailed analysis of the structural problems that C and D face.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Futures Market Info...

For those of you who don't know, we are doing three different experiments this election cycle.

The first one is the typical modeling that we have done before that uses econometric modeling to try and predict election outcomes. We had some success last cycle, but we are hoping to improve dramatically (mainly through better data).

The second experiment is a full on futures market. Like the Iowa Presidential Futures Market, or, we are looking to see if a market can predict the winner of an election.

The third experiment is where we are asking participants to give us a guess at what percentage of the vote Referendum C gets. We want to see if these guesses will have any predictive power.

We have cash awards for the best three performers in the futures market and a simple $100 cash prize for whoever guesses closest on the third experiment.

For more info click on the links to the right.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

When Journalists Use Statistics It Gets Fugly.

We are doing some research right now on a recent RMN story about Colorado's "Achille's Heel." The story threw out a bunch of statistics, which, to the average reader probably looked quite impressive, but, look to us like garbage. Right now we are trying to do research (since the reporter's source also uses reams of garbage stats) that should answer if the statistics really are relevant.

What are we doing? We're looking at the rational behind the article, mainly that the cited "weaknesses" of Colorado have a correlation to negative economic growth, or just slower than average economic growth. Since both the News and the Source failed to give us either a correlation coefficient (which tells us if the statistic is even statistically significant) or a coefficient of determination (which tells us how much one variable explains about another) we will do it for you.

Our hypothesis: That the stats thrown out were garbage. That a state's state and local support for higher education, K-12 spending as a percent of personal income or high school graduation rates have no statistically significant correlation to either job creation, unemployment rate, GDP growth or personal income growth.

If you have any ideas tell us. Do you think that these rankings matter? Do you think that we should compare the state spending stats to another variable that would better measure the vitality of Colorado's economy?

The RMN Story is available here.

Reporter's Source.

Here is a gem from the article:

Here's what Colorado can report as strengths, the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp. found: Colorado is the fourth most highly educated state in percentage of college graduates and the 10th most productive work force by one measure. Property taxes for families, as well as overall business tax burden, are the second-lowest in the U.S.

And the state has the lowest obesity rate in the nation.

On the flip side, Colorado is 48th in state and local support for higher education and 49th in K-12 spending as a percent of personal income. While the population as a whole is well-educated - thanks to an influx of well-educated residents from other states - Colorado is 29th in high school graduation rates, down from 26th in 1995.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

From Tabor to Today...

Here is a quick look at the off year elections from 1993 until today. Only two passed. Both were bonding measures.

1993: Referendum A Reinstatement of Sales Tax on Tourist-Related Purchases Yes: 44.8% No: 55.2%

1995: Referendum A Multiple-Year Financial Obligations - Nonstate Prisons Yes: 45.1% No: 54.9%

1997: Amendment 1 Tax and Fee Increases for Funding Transportation Projects Yes: 15.8% No: 84.2%

1999: Referendum A Financing State Transportation Projects Yes: 61.7% No: 38.3%

Amendment 26 Surplus Revenue to Test I-70 Fixed Guideway Yes: 34.1% No: 65.9%
Referendum A GOCO Bonds for Open Space Yes: 57.6% No: 42.4%

Amendment 32 Taxable Value of Residential Property Yes: 22.4% No: 77.6%
Amendment 33 Video Lottery/Tourism Promotion Yes: 19.1% No: 80.9%
Referendum A Revenue Bonds for Water Projects Yes: 32.9% No: 67.1%

Source SoapBlox Colorado.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Mike Rosen Op Ed Could Foreshadow Defeat Of C and D.

A recent Op Ed by Conservative Talk Radio Host Mike Rosen outlines what, in hindsight, we may agree were the reasons for Referendum C and D failing at the polls on November 1st; if they do.

Here are a few of the highlights:

No more than a handful of voters are well-versed on the details and nuances of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights and the state budget process. The rest derive their impressions from activists on each side, fair and unfair "news" stories, opinion commentaries, and 30-second radio and TV spots.

While Rosen may be a conservative, he does do excellent, if partisan, analysis:

While C and D opponents are correct in saying that overall state spending has not gone down in any year because of TABOR, it's also true that inflation-adjusted per capita spending is, in fact, down from prior years in some areas. And while C and D advocates are correct in saying that there will be no increase in statutory tax rates, there will be an increase in effective tax rates under their proposal. Your effective tax rate is what you pay net of your TABOR refund. If the state keeps your TABOR refund and spends it on government programs, your effective tax rate will necessarily be higher...Bottom line: C and D constitute a tax increase.

Colorado's fiscal problems were compounded by Amendment 23, which put K-12 spending on autopilot, regardless of overall revenue shortfalls. That contributed to the squeeze in other areas like roads, transportation and building maintenance. This was good for the teachers unions that contrived Amendment 23, but bad for everyone else.

So Mike Rosen throws out a compromise, mired in the memory of the 100/100 plan that the GOP controlled legislature tried to put out before 2004:

So I'm willing to compromise something I like - TABOR - in exchange for which I expect Democrats to compromise something they like - Amendment 23. Such a deal was offered in 2004 by Gov. Bill Owens and Republican leaders in the state legislature. The 100/100 Plan would have reduced the TABOR refund by $100 million for two consecutive years and also slowed Amendment 23-mandated K-12 spending by the same amount for the same period. Democrats, in tow to the teachers unions, rebuffed it.

This echoes closely analysis that Mile High Delphi has recently done.

In 2005, after Democrats took control of the state legislature, Owens found himself negotiating from weakness. Since a change in Amendment 23 can only be put to the voters in an even-numbered year, Owens believes C and D is the best deal he can get in 2005 and doesn't want to risk a death blow to TABOR next year if C and D fail.

Many wavering Republicans seem to be echoing Rosen's rational. Shot down C and D and go for a better offer in 2006:

A compromise with $2 billion in additional taxes and spending should be sufficient to meet the state's essential needs. It should also include a rainy-day fund to cover future shortfalls and a reduction in Amendment 23 increases - which can be put to the voters in 2006...In a fair compromise, both sides give. So far, Democrats and liberals haven't given anything. So I'm voting "no" on C and D and relying on reasonable Democrats in the state legislature to roll up their sleeves and cooperate in forging a more sensible compromise in the next session.

It may be a little premature, but if C and D go down, I'd re-read this Op Ed. The seeds of C and D's destruction may have been planted in 2003.

Closer look at Friday's Rocky Mountain News Poll.

Here is a closer look at Friday's RMN poll:

Referendum C Definitely Yes: 36% Probably Yes: 13% definitely No: 36% Probably No: 10% Undecided: 5%

Referendum D Definitely Yes: 31% Probably Yes: 19% definitely No: 32% Probably No: 12% Undecided: 5%

This more complete breakdown, from page 4A on 10/14/2005, is not available on the internet. It nicely parallels another question in the poll that found that 31% of voters like C & D and will support them, 33% don't like them all that much but can support them because they could be good for Colorado and 31% who don't like C & D and won't support them.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

New polling on Referenda C and D put issues behind. Ritter (D) favorite for Govs race.

(updated 10/18/2005)

A new Denver Post poll out today disagrees with a Rocky Mountain News poll released two days ago.

Here are the results of the Denver Post poll:

Mason-Dixon Oct 11-13
Referendum C Yes: 47% No: 44% Undecided: 9% MOE:4%
Referendum D Yes: 44% No: 45% Undecided: 11% MOE:4%

These results are interesting because they contrast somewhat with the results from the Rocky Mountain News poll. The RMN poll put support for C at 49% and D at 50%. The results of the Denver Post poll are within the margin of error of the earlier RMN poll, but they pull the average significantly down.

As a result we are further modifying our election projections:

Referendum C is Too Close To Call Yes: 49.4% No: 50.6% Probability: See Footnote.

Referendum D is Too Close To Call Yes: 48.7% No: 51.3% Probability: See Footnote.

The poll also asked who you would vote for in the 2006 Governor's race:

Mason-Dixon Oct 11-13
Ritter (D) vs. Beauprez (R) Ritter: 42% Beauprez: 36% Undecided: 22% MOE:4%
Ritter (D) vs. Holtzman (R) Ritter: 41% Holtzman: 30% Undecided: 29% MOE:4%

Update: We've updated our Referendum C and D homepage so that you can look at the polling history of the campaign and see how the campaign has evolved over the last few months.

Our last headline said that Referendum D was dead, that was a typo. Sorry for any confusion.


The reason why the races are too close to call is because the predicted vote percentages are the mean points of a zone of probability. For each predicted value (excuse the mathematics) the 95% zone of probability is -/+ 2.5.

For example, our current projection on Referendum C is that it will get 49.4% of the vote. However we can only predict to 95% accuracy that the percentage of the vote that Referendum C gets will be between 46.9% and 51.9%. The same spread applies for Referendum D. A good rule of thumb then would be that if the predicted result falls below 47.5% then we will be able to be 95% confident that the issues will fail (and vice versa if the predicted result is above 52.5%.

As for the predicted probabilities, both measures have a slightly higher than 50% probability of failing.

Friday, October 14, 2005

New polling on Referenda C and D. C in statistical tie, D is basically dead.

A new Rocky Mountain News/CBS 4 poll out today shows that support for Referendum C is nearing 50%. Support for D is at 50%.

Here is the poll:

Referendum C: Yes:49% No:46% Undecided:5% MOE:4.38%
Referendum D: Yes:50% No:44% Undecided:6% MOE:4.38%

Oct 10-12 POS

Using our model we predict that the Referendum C race is too close to call. Our model predicts that the outcome should be a 50-50 tie. This also moves the probability of passage to 50%.

As for Referendum D, it is statistically tied. Our model predicts that it will win 51.2-48.8. The probability of D passing has risen to 50%.

Other interesting tidbits from the poll:
- It appears that we have been right all along about the "GOP split" over C, it isn't as large as the media makes it out to be, in fact, surprisingly, it seems to be as large as the Democratic split, which is a huge surprise.

Among Democrats, 62 percent said yes. Republican voters polled 39 percent yes, despite the strong support of GOP Gov. Bill Owens.

- It seems that the electorate is split by thirds, with one third supporting C and D, one third opposing them and one third that is confused. This doesn't jive with the results of the poll and bodes well for the opposition.

Which ONE of the following phrases best describes how you feel about these proposals?

I like them and would support them. 31%

Even though I don't like them all that much I could support them because they could be good for Colorado. 33%

I don't like them at all and could never support them. 31%

Don't know 3%

Refused 1%

-The "Yes on C and D" campaign needs to get on message. The voters aren't sold on the "fiscal crisis" narrative. Over 50% of those polled think that the state is not in fiscal crisis.

And would you say the Colorado state budget is in crisis, has some problems but is not in crisis, or is in pretty good shape?

In crisis 32%

Problems, but not crisis 51%

Pretty good shape 12%

Unsure 5%

Overall this poll confirms what Mile High Delphi has been saying for weeks, this race is a statistical tie at best. The subheadline in the Rocky Article "Supporters seen as having an edge 2 1/2 weeks before vote." seems woefully unsupported by the text of the article.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

For Caldara and Allies, Less is More.

Not that money matters in these off year elections, but it seems that Jon Caldara's Vote No; Its Your Dough campaign has pulled even in spending with the Vote Yes on C and D campaign guys, maybe even ahead.

How can I come to this conclusion?

The thought first occurred to me on 10/07/2005, while watching Channel 4 News at 10:00. The vote no on c commercials outnumbered the vote yes on c commercials by a margin of 5-2 (and the five vote no commercials ran nearly in a row). Not one of these commercials was paid for by Caldara's campaign, instead they were all paid for by two separate groups, Colorado Club for Growth Issue Committee and If C Wins You Lose.

When you put together the monies spent by Caldara and the allies you get a total of $934,000. Vote Yes on C and D has only spent $3,722,000 (all numbers as of the 9/28 Secretary of State filings). That is a margin of about 4-1, well below the conventional wisdom margin of 10-1 that is needed for a vote yes committee to win against an organized opposition.

Additionally, during the month of September Vote Yes on C and D spent $700,000. The allied front spent $917,000. No referenda item has ever passed when it was outspent by its opposition (during a off-year election).

Sabato Speaks on Colorado Politics.

Larry Sabato, of Crystal Ball fame, has begun his handicapping of the races for Colorado's Congressional Seats.

You can look at his excellent website here.

Three of Colorado's seven seats made it onto his "Dirty Thirty" most competitive races.

He lists HD 3 (Western Slope) John Salazar's (D) seat as "leans Democrat".

HD 4 (Eastern Plains) Musgrave's (R) seat as "leans Republican".

HD 7 (Lakewood, Arvada and Aurora) an open seat as "toss up".

Also, we will be adding three new links, Technorati so that you can easily search blogs, Rossputin for some more Colorado focused commentary and Colorado Exposed which is perhaps the most off the wall political website in Colorado.

Additionally, it has come to our attention that the link to the futures market is broken. We will be fixing that later today.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Hoi Polloi and Referendum C...

Here is a little musing on the tyranny of the majority...

If by the people you understand the multitude, the hoi polloi, 'tis no matter what they think; they are sometimes in the right, sometimes in the wrong: their judgment is a mere lottery.
-John Dryden (1631-1700) Essay of Dramatic Poesy

Monday, October 10, 2005

Praise Apollo! The Oracle Speaks on Referendum C.

Our new model predicts that Referendum C has a 28.6% probability of passing.

If the election was held today referendum C would LOSE 47-53.

How did we get here? We constructed a model based upon looking at other off year elections. The only statistically significant variables we could find were all related to polling numbers. This is the result of using complete data sets from only 2003, 2001 and 1999 and partial data from 1997, 1995 and 1993. Using these numbers we constructed a formula that predicted the outcome of every election that we had full data for. Using the Student's t-Distribution we calculated the probability that C would garner at least 50% of the vote at 28.6%.

This is the equation that we used = X+(.2*Y))+/-Z = a

X = sample mean
Y = Undecided voters (as a percentage).
Z = estimator for the population standard deviation

On a less mathematical point, the first "If C wins you lose" yard sign was sighted today at 20th and Denver West Parkway.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Delphi on the Battle over Ref. C: Pro Side Needs More Money To Win.

Some members of the Colorado political prognosticati believe that since the Vote Yes on C and D campaign has outraised the Vote No on C side (by dramatic margins in fact) then Referenda C and D have a better chance of passing. Looking back at the most recent off year election it appears that the Pro C side may quickly face diminishing returns, especially as extra issue groups, such as the Backbone Issues Committee and the Independence institute, pile on.

As things currently stand now, the main anti C issue group Vote No; It's Your Dough has spent $129,550 as of 10/03. This doesn't take into account hundreds of thousands of dollars in adds by ally groups.

As of 9/19 (they are late on filing their 9/19 report) the main pro C issue group Vote Yes on C & D has spent $3,141,000. That is a margin of 24-1.

However, estimates are that the Independence Institute has purchased $400,000 of radio ads that basically blast Referendum C, and that the allied issue groups have probably spent another $250,000. The best estimate we have at this time is that the total amount the allied groups has spent is probably close to $750,000. That brings the margin down to 4-1, not enough to pass an initiative in an off year.

Looking back to 2003, the most expensive campaign was over Amendment 33 (the racetrack gambling amendment). The Pro side spent $6,711,400. The Con side spent $3,278,000 (almost all in the last four weeks). The Pro side outspent the Con side 2-1.

Polling shows that Amendment 33 was stuck basically in a statistical tie during the months of July and August, polling in the low to mid forties. An October poll, put its support at 19% (after suffering a marketing blitz by the opposition). It ended up getting only 19% of the vote that November.

Amendment 32 (Gallagher Freeze) polled in the low thirties in July (so it was basically doomed anyway). Even though the pro side outspent the con side by 87-1, it lost by a margin of 2-1.

Referendum A (Water Bonds) polled in the mid sixties in the wake of the drought. However, the pro side only outspent the opposition 2-1 overall, and was basically matched dollar for dollar during the last four weeks.

We are working on a model that can account for the effect of campaign fundraising differentials. We will have an updated model predicting the outcome of this election up on Mile High Delphi this weekend.

If you are a supporter of Referendum C you need to understand this, right now C probably is a 5-1 or a 6-1 underdog. Absent a huge GOTV and a media blitz in the last few weeks of the campaign (read as outspending the allies by a factor of 10-1) C will lose.

Cleaning up this page.

This afternoon we are cleaning up this page.

We are fixing some broken links...Such as The Plumber

Adding some new links...Follow the Money..Denver Gas Prices...The Fug Girls

And, after much confusion, we will be moving almost all futures market book info over to polstate, with only the most basic info available here.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Closing in on Referendum C! Building a better model.

The first part of building any scientific model (aside from coming up with a hypothesis) is collecting data. My last few days have been filled with the unfortunate experience of collecting new data for the model on Referendum C.

Some of our data raises interesting questions, such as, can we use even year election results to predict an odd year election, or do we need to focus on odd year election results only. Quite frankly we aren't sure yet. If we just go off of the odd year results, the future looks bleak for Ref. C. For example, in 2003 Amendment 33 (the racetrack gambling amendment) polled in a statistical tie in the months of July and August, then suddenly in a late October Ciruli poll it collapsed down to 19%. None of the 2003 ballot issues polled over 35% by October, surprising since Referendum A (the water bonds referendum) polled in the mid 60s in July. Additionally, we saw undecided voters break on average of 4-1 against the ballot measures. That means that for Referendum C to pass it will need to poll about 48% or 49%. Anything lower than that will be the kiss of death.

Can we use 2004 data? Maybe, but until we run the numbers we don't know. Even year elections have higher turnouts than odd year elections, this turnout differential makes a huge difference (h/t to the guys over at soapblox, their election data is great and they turned me on to the drop off that happens between the top of the ticket and the referenda items). Until I can quantify that differential and use it properly, I probably can't use even year data, its just too dissimilar. On example of this is the difference between FasTracks, which passed last year with basically 60% support and Guide the Ride, which was basically the same thing, but it lost with only 40% of the vote in 1997.

Campaign funding also is a big issue. Campaign finances are a statistically significant variable in legislative races (not the most significant however, voter registration numbers rule that roost). Finding the campaign finance numbers for prior year elections here in Colorado, quite frankly, sucks. The Secretary of State's website doesn't allow you to search by campaign issue, so I have to jump through hoops to find any information. Even once I find the name of the issue committee, I have to add up the campaign expenditures because they don't have a running total. I assume that we will end up finding out that the pro side must outspend the con side by a factor of greater than 10-1, that seems to be the conventional wisdom. However, maybe we'll prove the conventional wisdom wrong, I just don't know yet.

Until we work out what data to use, and find the funding numbers, it wouldn't be prudent to update our model. Just from my gut, it looks like C has an uphill battle. I can't find an example of a off year ballot measure winning without polling in the 50s.

New polling information out, Ref. C and the Top Of the Ticket.

Earlier today Floyd Ciruli appeared on 850 KOA's Colorado Morning News. In that interview he stated that polling on Referendum C was showing that support for the issue is basically stalled, and that it is statistically tied with those who will vote against the issue. He added the caveat that most Coloradoans don't seem to be paying attention to the election battle yet.

This seems to be in line with, and re-enforces the polling information that we have gotten over here. The most recent numbers that made it into the sunlight are available at our Referendum C and D Homepage. They show support for C at 48% with 44% against it. 8% are undecided and the poll had a margin of error of 4%. So Ciruli's caveat seems right on target, the issue seems statistically tied.

As for the Governors race...

ColoradoPols put these Wall Street Journal-Zogby numbers up earlier today. You can link directly to them here. They credit Coyote Gulch who in turn credits Taegan Goddard's Political Wire who in turn sends you to the Wall Street Journal Online. Quite a journey but well worth it.

Zogby looked at a variety of different matchups that are all possible next November:

Bob Beauprez vs. Bill Ritter
Beauprez: 43.6%
Ritter: 39%

John Hickenlooper vs. Marc Holtzman
Hickenlooper: 48.2%
Holtzman: 36.1%

Bob Beauprez vs. Joan Fitz-Gerald
Beauprez: 45.4%
Fitz-Gerald: 38.6%

But what is perhaps the most interesting tidbit from this poll is what Zogby gleaned from it:

"With term-limited Gov. Bill Owens set to step down, this race promises to be a shootout...Should the Democrats nominate liberal Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald, Rep. Beauprez is the GOP's best hope for defeating her. The more conservative Bill Ritter, Denver's district attorney (sic), would be a more formidable opponent and is in a close race with all three Republicans. If Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper -- who has said he has no intentions of running for governor -- enters the race, he is poised to defeat any GOP challenger handily."

Cross posted at Polstate.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Some thoughts on Katrina...

As we work on putting out an improved model for predicting the outcome of Referendum C we haven't lost sight of one of the most responsibilities that the political prognosticati have, helping our readers procrastinate with nifty tidbits.

Here are some thoughts on Katrina...

On the local leadership...
So I'm asking Congress, please investigate this now. Take whatever idiot they have at the top of whatever agency and give me a better idiot. Give me a caring idiot. Give me a sensitive idiot. Just don't give me the same idiot.
-Aaron Broussard, President of Jefferson Parish, La. (hat tip to Vincent Carroll)

On what Charity to pick...

Charity Navigator lists relief agencies that get three or four star ratings-the highest the group gives out.

The Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance offers various info about the charities.

The IRS provides tips on giving.

And on what is the most American game of all; the blame game...

The urge to blame is an innate human impulse dating back a million years or more. It's an impulse that travels through our bodies to our fingertips, as we all saw in the frenzied finger-pointing over Hurricane Katrina.

Just as meteorologists and coastal engineers predicted the hurricane and flooding, there are "blame researchers" who foresaw the storm of words and pointed fingers that followed. They weren't surprised when politicians, victims and the media angrily affixed blame for the inadequate levee system and deadly slow rescue efforts. In fact, they see the tragedy through the prism of an academic question: can our blame impulses weed out ineptitude, improve conditions and save lives?

Modern America is beset by blame-mongering. At you can buy a "calibrated blame-shifting device" for $2.95. It's a giant foam had with the words "It's Your Fault!" on the pointer finger. Run by East Bank Communications, an ad agency in Portland, Ore. the Web site offers tongue-in-cheek mantras: "You have everyone but yourself to blame." "It's not you, it's the printer." The jokes ring true because finding blame is an American Preoccupation...

Hat tip to the Wall Street Journal.