By Peak News Contributor Dave Diepenbrock

How could Obama win in 2012? That's a question William Galston raised (PDF), contrasting Colorado's and Ohio's demographic differences. Winning Colorado-style counts on college grads; the Ohio strategy requires blue collar votes. In 2008 here in Colorado, Mark Udall won both. Then things changed.

Colorado's 2010 election suggests – barring magic change – Obama will not fare well enough with either of these key voter groups.

How do we know this? Comparing 2008 and 2010 results by state legislative districts lets us better glean out specific types of voters for separate analysis. Due to its non-tortured districts, we'll use the “Witwer House Resubmitted Plan A v1” that died when Chairman Carrera railroaded the Commission's resubmission.

It turns out that two groups of districts showed statistically larger than normal growth in GOP vote between 2008 (US Senate) and 2010 (Treasurer):

  • Four Ski districts (diagonally between Grand County and the Four Corners) and
  • Five Adams County and 2 Weld County districts, plus a central Colorado Springs district and another in North Aurora, all blue collar (source).

Ski counties (including some not in the four proposed Ski districts) helped Udall in 2008. They gave him a 20% margin of victory (excluding minor candidates), with a 10% margin in the rest of the state. The 2010 Democratic Treasurer had just a 2.5% margin of victory in ski counties while losing the rest of the state by more than 1.5%.

Bummer for Obama, because ski counties have those college grads that Obama needs.

Blue collar districts are, if anything, worse for Obama. Udall won them with a 15% margin. But 2010 says Obama may not win enough blue collar Coloradans in 2012. Not only did the Democratic Treasurer lose blue collar districts by a 2.5% margin, she actually lost them by a larger margin than her margin in the rest of the state!

National Implications?

Could Obama's internal polls show he's doing even worse among blue collar voters? He stopped the Canada Keystone pipeline, kiboshing jobs and preventing lower energy prices. He picked la-di-dah over working America – despite his hyped Osawatamie speech last month. And he can't have both; the two groups have opposing political goals.

Obama's blue collar blues also impact Hispanics. Of the nine blue collar districts in this analysis, five have a non-Anglo majority!

Obama's strategists may cuddle in a security blanket because this analysis uses a down-ticket race in a non-presidential year. I hope they do. I think their 2010 Colorado US Senate win came from Bennet's overwhelming fundraising advantage. But Democrats, as you'll see in a future column, are struggling back. The question is: will they use fair or foul means?