Monday, December 07, 2009

Ranking Colorado's House Delgation from Most Liberal to Most Conservative.

Here is our rankings of Colorado's House delegation based upon how liberal or conservative they are.

Most Liberal to Most Conservative:
Dianna Degette CD 1 Liberal Score of 97.69 PVI D+21
Jared Polis CD 2 Liberal Score of 97.25 PVI D+11
Ed Perlmutter CD 7 Liberal Score of 94.93 PVI D+4
John Salazar CD 3 Liberal Score of 92.54 PVI R+5
Betsy Markey CD 4 Liberal Score of 87.50 PVI R+6
Mike Coffman CD 6 Liberal Score of 2.54 PVI R+8
Doug Lamborn CD 5 Liberal Score of 0.84 PVI R+14

Nothing surprising here, the Representatives' voting patters mirror the partisan voting patterns of their districts. For comparison the State of Colorado has a PVI of D+0.

Sources: Progressive Punch for Progressive scores from 2009-2010. PVI from Wikipedia.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Colorado State Senate 2010 Forecast.

We are going to begin our look at the State Senate Elections with this observation.

During the last three election cycles there have been 25 elections held in districts which should be competitive on paper. These are districts where neither the Republican nor the Democratic Parties have a registration advantage of greater than 10%. Of these 25 races the Republicans won 3. That is right, a win percentage of 12%.

Is the Republican Party really that dismal in Colorado? The answer is complex, but in short, no. In 2002 the Colorado State Constitution was amended, what resulted was a game changer for local elections. Amendment 27 radically changed Colorado Legislative elections, while many can debate its merits, its effects have been to cripple Republican fundraising.

Here are some examples from the 2006 election cycle:

SD 5. Democrat Schwartz raised $222.8K vs. Republican Entz who raised $125K. This district had a 7% Republican registration advantage. Schwartz squeaked out a 51-49 win. Who says you cannot buy an election?

SD 6. Democrat Isgar raised $97K vs. Republican Tate who raised $26.5K. That is nearly 4-1.

SD 11. Democrat Morse 120K, Republican Jones 61.6K.

SD 20. Democrat Keller 126K, Republican Sargent 41.6K.

SD 16. Democrat Fitz-Gerald 147K, Republican Neilson 22K.

In 2008 Democrat Dan Gibbs ran to finish the second half of Joan Fitz-Gerald's term in SD 16. He raised 122.7K, Republican Ytterberg raised 63.5K.

We will reserve our detailed analysis of Amendment 27 (it is a joke, and a complete failure at its stated goal, which was to reduce the influence of money in politics) for a later date. Let us just say that 2004 was a watershed election in Colorado, and that the Democrats have been in power ever since.

As for the current election, here is our forecast of the five top races. Remember, the current breakdown of power in the Colorado State Senate is R 14 D 21. The number to get to in order to gain control is 18.

District 6: Senator Bruce Whitehead (D) took over this Four Corners district when former Senator Isgar left for a post with the Obama administration. The current makeup of this district gives the GOP a 10% registration advantage (that would be a R10 in Mile High Delphi speak). Fundraising will be critical and we don't expect the GOP to be outspent 3-1 this time around. Ellen Roberts, R-Durango, who represents House District 59, has announced that she plans to challenge Senator Whitehead in 2010. According to the Colorado Secretary of State, Roberts already has $22,500 cash on hand. Senator Whitehead has $3000.

After District 6, things really get a lot less fun. The Republican's dismal record in close registration races makes the probability of them picking up 3 additional State Senate Seats nearly impossible. Here are the four most competitive races that we forecast:

District 5: The two parties are locked in a registration dead heat in this mountain district. However, as we mentioned before, the GOP wins only about 1 out of 9 times in races where it has less than a 10% registration advantage. We mark this as leans Democrat at the moment. However, if the Republican's do pull off something like 2002, with the Gubernatorial candidate and the Senate candidate pulling off big wins, we could see a coat-tail effect.

District 16: Another mountain district that has a registration dead heat. Our model gives the GOP a one out of nine chance of winning it. See above for further analysis.

District 2: This South Eastern Colorado District looks like it should be solid GOP territory, but don't tell that to the voters, the GOP only has a 2% registration advantage. The Democrats could, with a carefully picked candidate win this district. Keep an eye on it.

District 11: Colorado Springs. Take a district with a small GOP registration advantage, outspend the Republican incumbent 2-1 and, abracadabra, you get a Democratic pickup. That was in 2006. Now this district has a Democratic registration advantage of 5%. This one has probably forever slipped away from the GOP. But we will watch it anyway.

Honorable Mention: District 20. This is Moe Keller's old Wheat Ridge centered district. It is made up of aging inner ring suburbs. Congressman Ed Perlmutter (D) lives in this district (he used to represent it). It is currently rated D+7. An Likely Democrat hold. Hell, this side of town elected Gwen Green (D) and she could have been outsmarted by a bulldog. Seriously, she couldn't debate anyone, she couldn't hold a conversation, she may not have been able to hold a thought. The days of "Jeffco" being a Republican stronghold are over.

We will flesh out this forecast over the next year. With, we promise you, a look at all the races. As things stand now, look for next year's State Senate to have 14-15 Republicans and 20-21 Democrats.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

2010 US Senate Projection Dec 2009 Update.

36 Races Current Make Up R-18 D-18 Projected Make Up: R-21 D-15 Net Gain R +3

Alabama (Richard Shelby - R) Inc. GOP Hold
Alaska (Lisa Murkowski - R) Inc. GOP Hold
Arizona (John McCain - R) Inc. GOP Hold
Arkansas (Blanche Lincoln - D) Inc. Toss Up -early listing as Dem Hold- 50%
California (Barbara Boxer - D) Inc. 75% Dem Hold
Colorado (Michael Bennet - D) Inc. GOP Pick Up -45%
Connecticut (Chris Dodd - D) Inc. GOP Pick Up -mid 40s
Delaware (D) Open GOP Pick Up -mid 40s
Florida (R) Open GOP Hold
Georgia (Johnny Isakson - R) Inc. GOP Hold
Hawaii (Daniel Inouye - D) Inc. Dem Hold
Idaho (Mike Crapo - R) Inc. GOP Hold
Illinois (D) Open Dem Hold
Indiana (Evan Bayh - D) Inc. Dem Hold
Iowa (Chuck Grassley - R) Inc. GOP Hold
Kansas (Sam Brownback - R) Inc. GOP Hold
Kentucky (R) Open GOP Hold -competitive
Louisiana (David Vitter - R) Inc. GOP Hold
Maryland (Barbara Mikulski - D) Inc. Dem Hold
Missouri (R) Open Toss Up -early projection Dem Gain-
Nevada (Harry Reid - D) Inc. GOP Gain
New Hampshire (R) Open GOP Hold competitive
New York (Chuck Schumer - D) Inc. Dem Hold
New York (Kirsten Gillibrand - D) Inc. Dem Hold -competitive
North Carolina (Richard Burr - R) GOP Hold
North Dakota (Byron Dorgan - D) Dem Hold
Ohio (R) Open Toss Up -early projection GOP Hold-
Oklahoma (Tom Coburn - R) Inc. GOP Hold
Oregon (Ron Wyden - D) Inc. Dem Hold
Pennsylvania (Arlen Specter - D) Inc. Toss Up -early projection Dem Hold-
South Carolina (Jim DeMint - R) Inc. GOP Hold
South Dakota (John Thune - R) Inc. GOP Hold
Utah (Bob Bennett - R) Inc. GOP Hold
Vermont (Patrick Leahy - D) Inc. Dem Hold
Washington (Patty Murray - D) Inc. Dem Hold
Wisconsin (Russ Feingold - D) Inc. Dem Hold

Race by Race Analysis will be coming up over the winter. These projections are very fluid. Some races, such as Pennsylvania are really Toss Ups. We will have a top ten list available during this next week for the most competitive races.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A new look at Colorado State Unemployment Numbers.

We here at MHD felt that just looking at the increases in Colorado State's unemployment rate during the Ritter years, and during the years since 2005 when the Democrats took control of the Colorado State Legislature for the first time in forty years, is rather unfair.

A better measure of how any party is dealing with the macro environment in Colorado would be to compare Colorado's unemployment rate to the national rate, that difference is the measure that we have created to look at how Colorado's State Government has performed.

We looked at the yearly rates for both Colorado and the United States as a whole (not seasonally adjusted) from 1998 to 2008 and at October 2009. That gave us 12 data points. Five of these points had the State Government in some form of split control, three with GOP control of both the legislature and the governor's office and four with total Democratic control.

From 1998 until 2001 Colorado generally outperformed the nation as a whole by about a percentage point. From 2002 until 2006 Colorado basically performed the same as the United States as a whole. During this time the Democrats swept into power, in what has since become know as the Colorado Model . From 2007 until October of 2009 Colorado has again outperformed the nation as a whole.

On average during the years of split control Colorado outperformed the national unemployment rate by about a third of a percent. During years of GOP control Colorado did even better, about .83 percent. From 2006 until 2008 the Democrats outperformed the national average by .06%, but they currently are outperforming the national average by 3.3%, with Colorado's October 2009 unemployment rate at 6.9% vs. the national average of 10.2%.

On average the Democrats beat the national average by 1.275% when you include the October data.

The Republicans would do well to point out the number of lost jobs since the Democrats have taken office, and especially since Democratic Governor Bill Ritter took office. However, the Democrats, if they are smart, will quickly retort with "but it could have been worse" and demonstrate how Colorado, under their stewardship, has outperformed the Nation as a whole.

Look for a sneak peak at the State Senate elections coming up next week. The Republicans need to pick up three seats to gain control of the chamber, and to deny the Democrats total control over redistricting, much as the Democrats did a decade ago.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Updated Projections for 2010. Colorado Senate, House, Governor.

Lets make this short and sweet.

Senator Michael Bennet (D) is now rated by MHD as the underdog to ANY Republican. Don't blame us, if you think we are wrong go buy a Bennet futures contract over at, he is trading for about 45 cents on the dollar. Rate this race a Leans GOP Pick Up. That is right, you heard it here first, 50 weeks out.

As for the US House Races.

You can bet money (literally, you can bet money on this) that the GOP will pick up 25 to 35 House Seats in the fall of 2010. How many will come from Colorado?

HD 1 (Denver) Safe Democrat. Degette could be in a coma and still win this race.
HD 2 (Boulder) Safe Democrat. No Republican is going to win in Boulder.
HD 3 (Western Slope) Leans Democrat to Toss Up. This depends on who challenges Salazar. But his vote on Health Care along with the fact that this district voted for McCain make him vulnerable. Keep your eyes on this district. If Salazar starts to look weak it could be a very bad year for the Democrats. The GOP has even set up a website at targeting all 24 House members who voted for the Health Care bill and are from districts McCain won.
HD 4 (North Eastern Plains) GOP Pick Up. That is right, Lucero beats Betsy Markey (D). This is a Republican District, the perfect storm of Obama on the ballot and Musgrove defending her seat is over, look for a return to normalcy.
HD 5 (Colorado Springs) Safe Republican. Remember what we said about Boulder...
HD 6 (South and West Denver Suburbs) Safe Republican. Mike Coffman could go far, we doubt that the House is his last stop.
HD 7 (Northern Denver Suburbs) Leans Democrat. Perlmutter should by all accounts have a more middle of the road voting record in this district which is designed to be competitive. However, the GOP hasn't been able to find a candidate that can give him a challenge, and we doubt they will this time.

State Races:

Governor: We are going to update the odds, moving from 3:1 in Bill Ritter's favor to 3:1 Bill Ritter gets nicknamed Rill Bitter. That is right, the first Governor in several generations to get kicked out of office by the voters after one term. Blame it on whatever you want, but you cannot go from an unemployment rate (per BLS) of 3.9% (seasonally adjusted in January of 2007) to 7.3% as of August 2009. We here at MHD aren't sure what the Colorado Promise was, but we are pretty sure that a doubling of the state unemployment rate wasn't part of it. Look for Ritter to get the boot.

As for the other statewide offices, come'on, that stuff is hard enough to predict when we know who the candidates are, we gotta wait for the primaries.

State House and State Senate.

So much work goes into those projections. Let us just say this, the last time the GOP had majorities in these houses was when Bill Owens (R) won a landslide election for Governor in 2002. Maybe the GOP can muster up a landslide against Ritter, but so far the tea leaves say that the Democrats are safe in both houses.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Gearing up for 2009 and 2010.

Well, you can tell that we are entering summer in an off year.

Things are pretty slow here at MHD. But we are starting work on next years elections already.

As far as Colorado is concerned, this year should be considered a real high point for Centennial State Democrats. The Democrats control both houses of the State Legislature, both US Senate Seats, five of seven US House Seats and most of the State Wide Offices. The conventional wisdom here is that this year is a high water mark for the Democrats. But can the Republicans quit their circular firing squad?

We are going to say it here first, Senator Bennet is one of the most endangered Democrats in the US Senate. Realistically, the only member of the US House that the GOP has a chance of knocking out is Rep. Markey (CD-4).

Both of these races will make it to the first tier on national lists for endangered Democrats.