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.


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