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.

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