By Dave Diepenbrock  

At year's end let's look back before we commit ourselves to the political roar of 2012.  

How the Parties Voted in 2010  

The average of seven Colorado pre-election polls (my calculation) forecast this outcome by party.


My allocation comes quite close to the vote given to Bob Schaffer and Mark Udall in 2008.

A similar allocation by party affiliation suggests where John Suthers, the GOP top-of-ticket, got his extra votes: 32,000 more Democrats (5.2%), 49,400 more Republicans (6.8%) and 54,500 more Independents (11.4%). Suthers actually got a majority of Independents' votes.  

What does this mean?  

Republican Unity  

First, Republicans cannot win if 17% of Republicans won't vote for our candidate. Republicans must, again, believe in their party and stick together. Backing a third party candidate or simply not voting in a given race is tantamount to ensuring the Democrats win. (A lesson Democrats learned in Florida in 2000.)  

Independents' Leanings

Second, Buck did worse than many past Republican candidates with Independent voters. George W. Bush won in 2000 in Colorado with 44% of Independents and with 45% in 2004, about where the final 2010 pre-election polls said Buck would be. Bill Owens did it with 42% in 1998. Given our state's current larger Democratic registration, Republicans must improve on those percentages, so Independents are important. But we dare not focus solely on them given our past track record.  

Fairness and Working-Class Families  

Third, Buck did better than the allocation model suggested in blue collar counties like Adams and worse than expected in highly educated counties (Boulder, ski counties). This past May, Henry Olsen said blue-collar white working-class voters' “unusually high support for the GOP caused the massive victory [in 2010]. If the House GOP cannot explain why its fiscal program … is fair…it is unlikely 2012 will be as favorable a year for Republicans.” We must have reality-based messaging that persuades these voters that our solutions will protect them. Promises to do nothing except raise taxes (the Democrats' solution) are fairy tales.

The Democrats' corruption of government will almost certainly work against them in 2012. As Hot Air's Ed Morrissey said recently, “Everything they [the Democrats] have done in their domestic agenda has been about improving their position politically rather than actually growing the economy and creating jobs.” Health care and Solyndra have harmed the Democrats as much as Iraq hurt Republicans in George W. Bush's second term. Our job is to show voters our program of action will help them. And that we won't be a rerun of the past.