Colorado Post-Mortem by David Ramos

The below write-up is by one of our readers David Ramos:

An election wrap from Colorado …

The breakdown of voting patterns will roll out over the next few weeks. The keys for a Romney victory, that were outlined previously, quickly fell by the wayside.

Minding the gap – Based on early voting ballot returns, the Republicans did a good job on minding the gap in the swing counties and keeping the gap as close as possible in the Democratic stronghold counties of Denver, Boulder, Adams, and Pueblo. Of course, nobody knew how any ballot was marked until counting began after the polls closed. As the counting proceeded, the swing counties of Arapahoe, Jefferson, and Larimer were swinging in Obama’s direction – which he eventually carried. In the Democratic stronghold counties, the margins in Denver, Boulder, and Adams established by the Democrats held. In Pueblo County, Romney did a good job cutting the 65-35 Obama lead by 10 points. One of the little electoral secrets here in Colorado is that reliably Democrat Pueblo County has been trending Republican since 2006.

Running up margins in Republican strongholds – In the stronghold counties of El Paso, Douglas, Mesa, and Weld, the margins the Republicans established in the early voting period were reduced. The 68-32 margin was reduced significantly in El Paso County to a 60-38 split. In Douglas County, the 71-29 margin  was reduced to a 63-36 margin. In Mesa County, the 69-31 margin was reduced to 65-32. And, in Weld County, the 62-38 margin was reduced to a 55-42 margin.  In each case, it may be fair to conclude Obama took away enough unaffiliated (independent) voters in those counties to reduce the Republican strength.

Win a majority of unaffiliated voters – The assumption regarding the voting pattern of unaffiliated voters voting similar to where they live is quite logical. Estimates suggested this group would break narrowly for Romney. With that said, Obama is one of those candidates in which conventional wisdom seems not to apply. PPP suggested that Obama had a six-point lead among unaffiliated voters going into Election Day. It appears PPP made a correct call, wiping out the R+1.8 to +2.6 advantage, and giving Obama his four-point win.

— David Ramos


  1. John
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    372,122 votes out of nearly 120,000,000 total votes cast yesterday was the difference between having a President Elect Romney today. The Obama margins in four key swing states shown below. Shame on any republicans in these states who stayed home.

    Obama winning vote margins fom FoxNews site:
    Virginia: 112,884
    Colorado: 112,080
    Ohio: 100,142
    Florida: 47,016

    • Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the numbers. Unfortunately, it’s actually worse than you indicate. One changed vote is -1 Obama, +1 Romney, for a net swing of +2. So, we either needed 372,000 more Republicans, or just a meager 186,000 changed minds.

      This is unreal.

  2. GV
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Permalink | Reply

    All that talk of high propensity voters vs low propensity voters and the Dems cannabilizing their election day vote, I’m just dumbstruck as to how off the mark most of us were. Wow, just wow! Our GOTV operations/Orca must’ve been woefully inadequate compared to theirs.

    • Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:14 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I think GOTV for Republicans came up short because the voters weren’t there. I believe there was significant number of Christians who wouldn’t vote for Romney because he was a mormon & I say that because even my own wife was so hesitant + we know millions of Christians sat out for John McCain and if they’d come out for Romney their numbers would be reflected. The real key here though was the early voting – when Democrats run up the numbers by running through all the folks in mental hospitals, etc., and then have all the cemeteries in Cuyhoga County to fill out the remainder … it’s near impossible for an honest + honorable man + cause to defeat.

  3. Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:10 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Keith – please go back to Gallup some point and reflect on its closing – the last day Romney was down 2 and Obama was up 2 – I personally attribute this to Hurricane Sandy and voter intent to ‘hold on’ and favored incumbency, whether it be Republicans in the house or Obama in the White House. Thanks again for all your great reports & insight throughout the 2012 campaign – onward & upward + God Bless America 🙂

  4. Bucknutz
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Permalink | Reply

    I’m very thankful for this site for last few months, it has made this election time go by fast and enjoyable for me. I don’t want this site to end at all and have an idea on how to keep everybody involved and wanting to keep coming back.
    We should create a free and open source, online think tank. Something like Wikipedia or Linux, where we could come together bi-partisan and create solutions to the many issues that are happening in America. This will also keep us informed and studied on the issues, which could help us better spread the conservative word.
    We all know the people in Washington are not trying to come together and find common ground on issues, so why can’t the people of the land do it and turn around and persuade our local representatives to look at our solutions to the problems and have them bring it back to Washington.
    Maybe wishful thinking, but could become a really incredible experience and a story that could be made into a Hollywood movie.

    • AG
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I love this idea – it might be idealistic, but through this whole process I have felt so voiceless and frustrated by polarized politics. There are answers out there, it’s just a matter of getting those idea out there in a coherent manner! Not to mention that media picks and chooses what is news/stories – a website like that wouldn’t be as subject to stupid phrases and gaffes that various parties make, but about ideas and progress. Maybe if we all felt like a part of America that we love changed yesterday with the prospects of Romney not winning the election, this would be a chance for us to continue one thing that makes America great – the idea that the thoughts of all the people are better than just a few elect.

      I have loved the civil conversations on this board over the last couple of weeks since I discovered this site. Great idea.

      • Bucknutz
        Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

        As a large group with many ideas, we could really do something big that we could have a voice and also solutions. We all have valuable resources, not just money, but experience, talents, ideas, specialties that we could come together and create the solutions and answers.,

  5. Eric
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:27 pm | Permalink | Reply

    This is for those of you who are puzzled as to why Romney got fewer votes than McCain.

    Turnout was WAY down across the board. Fewer voters voted than in 2004 or 2008 despite there being a larger population. I have several friends who voted for McCain but did not vote this time. They said that they just believe that whoever is elected, it won’t make a difference. The cynicism about the direction of the country runs deep as evidenced in every poll on the subject. Many people have just given up hope.

    The turnout was also low due to the very negative, nasty tone of the campaign, especially by Obama. This was Obama’s plan. Lower the overall turnout, then use his massive ground game to get his supporters out there. It’s easier for a Democrat to get their supporters out there because most of the time they are confined to small geographic locations. He got his supporters out there.

    Also, what is troubling is that this election indicates that 2008 was not an aberration. It was a re-alignment. The 2008 election reminds me of the 1932 election. 2012 is like 1936. MANY MANY people out there want nothing to do with the Republican Party. Bush and the Republicans are seen as responsible for the mess that the country is in. It’s their fault, just like it was Hoover and the Republicans fault in 1932. Roosevelt continued to wreck the economy throughout the 30’s but won re-election in 1936, 1940, and 1944 despite the miserable suffering in the country. Republicans didn’t really recover to close to parity with Democrats until the 1980s. This shift is much smaller in scale than in the 30s.

    As to this election, a large number of people rejected Obama who embraced him in 2008. That should have been enough to win as Romney won independents. Republicans will be facing a D+6 electorate going forward unless they can re-brand the party. They need to rapidly distance themselves of anything that reminds people of Bush. The next 4 years are going to be a disappointment for a lot of people. Most people (especially Obama voters) believe that things will turn around and get better. This country has deep, structural problems. The free market is trying to correct the imbalances but the government is resisting the corrections.

    Hope that clarifies some things.

    • AG
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Permalink | Reply

      I agree with a lot of what you are saying, although I also think this article is worth reading. There’s some truth to it:

      • JohnGalt
        Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Permalink

        Very good article AG. I worked on Bush 04 campaign. He had a HUGE centralized office in Arlington VA, for VA. RNC did a massive 72 hour GOTV operation sending people all over the country in 2004 too. I was sent to Manitowac WI. Romney in VA was unfocused. small little unconnected offices all over the place. zero centrally organized GOTV efforts for the country.

    • MikeN
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

      That doesn’t clarify anything. Why would it be D+6 in the future if you acknowledge that lots of McCain voters stayed home?

  6. Mike M
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Curious if anyone has any thoughts on the marijuana referendum question that was on the ballot in Co. Could that have brought out traditionally unlikely voters and tipped the scales for Obama? Curious.

    • Eric
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Permalink | Reply

      A lot of people don’t care about smoking marijuana. They’re fine with it. It might have brought a few more voters out but not enough that it tips the state to Obama. I think we just had a very low turnout across the board in all states on election day despite the reports of long lines. A lot of the GOP voted early compared to normal.

      • Mike M
        Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

        I understand a lot of people dont care about smoking marijuana, and they are fine with it, however, there’s a huge difference between being fine with it and having the opportunity to basically legalize it (at the state level). I just looked it up, the initiative received 993,264 votes in favor, I just cant help to think 10% of those people may have come out just to support the initiative and voted for Obama along the way.

    • David
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:31 am | Permalink | Reply

      No likely effect overall. This was the third or fourth time legalization was on the ballot. This time it got through with the promise of money for the state budget.

  7. Shane kovac
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Permalink | Reply

    A win is a win but any talk of a mandate has got to be battled by the media LOL. and the house.

    . 0031‰ of all the votes spread in four states was the difference. Hopefully for America Obama won’t misread how closely divided the country is and this was in no real way a glowing endorsement of either party’s last four years of actions

  8. Neil in NC
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Well – we’re not the only ones thinking this way. The question is…

    What are folks willing to participate in – what level of commitment – over the next year before things get ramped up for 2016.

    • Neil in NC
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:08 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Daily Kos is a good template. Let’s “crowd source” a start.

      What should we call it?

      • Neil in NC
        Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        Daily Draw, Morning Meet …

  9. rcl_in_va
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink | Reply

    David I’ve appreciated and enjoyed your analysis. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    • David
      Posted November 8, 2012 at 12:28 am | Permalink | Reply

      I appreciate your kind thanks.

  10. live_free290248
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:46 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Demographics defeated Romney in Colorado. Self-deportation and veto threat of the ‘dream act’ ring a bell?

    • MikeN
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Colorado was one of Romney’s best states. Iowa, New Hampshire, Minnesota did not show the same movement towards Romney as Colorado, I guess those states just have more Hispanics.

  11. PeterJ
    Posted November 7, 2012 at 9:48 pm | Permalink | Reply

    There are a lot of aspects to Romney’s defeat and many of them are discussed by David and other comments here. Getting 3 mil less votes than McCain is huge and simply unbelievable. And the reason is both technical GOTV/EV stuff and substantive issue stuff. But there are others. One is that the democratic party is a huge and successful patronage machine of many different elements who mutually support each other despite probably not caring about the goals of other elements much.

    But there is a larger reason which is simply that the voters in the center who hold sway don’t care about theories of the left or right, about limits or elasticity of the constitution, or even taxes per se. What they care about is outcomes. Jobs, good jobs, freedom to do as they please socially, health costs/insurance, and yes, “feelings” about candidates, both personally and in abstract.

    And the fact of our particular primary is that despite the number of candidates, we did not have a lot of good choices. While I am a religious conservative, folks like Perry and Bachman, and Palin and Huckabee of the last cycle, come across as purposefully ignorant. By which I mean they don’t demonstrate a broad grasp of all the issues a candidate needs to have, and which could easily be solved by reading a major daily newspaper and weekly news magazine. The two smartest candidates besides Romney were Cain and Santorum. But Cain seems like a Perot type of guy who doesn’t really want to be president, but rather just have a platform to get his ideas across, which is great for the party, but not as a candidate. And Santorum is comes across as too strident and hostile.

    Economically we have allowed the democrats to frame the issue as one where there is a huge gap between Joe Average and the millionaire class, despite there being relatively few millionaires. The real gap though is between over paid government and other highly paid union workers, and workers to make not much over minimum wage. An extra $10 an hour for a union worker making $50-$75K a year in wages and benefits only buys a bigger house or a boat. But for the lower wage earners it almost doubles their incomes. And the way things are supposed to work is that those workers get better jobs and earn more and buy cars. Instead with bailouts the higher wage earners get taken care of and their trickle down only keeps the status quo for low wage earners. And not only that, but the worst auto companies linger on and drag down the others instead of the market making proper corrections and thus actually helping to make the jobs at better companies more secure. The problem is those lower wage earners don’t see the real gap and they really want to be those union workers even though most never will have the chance.

    The solutions to the problems of the republican party are going to have to come from the bottom up, i.e. at the state level like in Wisconsin. And states like CA and IL that want to have it all should never be bailed out and should be allowed to default with all that entails. And default on the national level may be what it takes as well to starve revenue from programs that bail out companies and governments and their unions. The only reason that democratic officials like Gov. Brown in CA or Mayor Emmanuel in Chicago are willing to deal with pension issues is because they have to. Otherwise they would keep placating excessive demands as they did in the past.

    And neither Romney nor Obama really comes down on the side of main street business wise. “Too large to fail” financial institutions with all their “we gotta have’em to manage risk” BS derivatives and sub-prime mortgages and predatory lending are coddled when they should be derided. And the market’s failure to rein in corporate excess due to institutional investors only being percentagers who won’t use their proxy votes to make a difference, keeps those bad corporate practices in effect. Wall Street is not the solution, it’s the problem. It caused the 2008 market meltdown while rewarding failed executives.

    Preaching small government alone apart from outcomes for average workers is not going to cut it. Nor social conservatism that includes too much nanny-stating on private matters other than the core issue of abortion, and too little focus on fiscal issues and main street business.

    • MikeN
      Posted November 7, 2012 at 10:54 pm | Permalink | Reply

      Agreed, though I think Rick Perry would have won this race. If those are missing evangelical voters or low income blue collar workers, I think Perry brings them to the polls.

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