- 'T ain't what you bring, it's the way that you bring it
- 'T ain't what you swing, it's the way that you swing it.
- 'T ain't what you sing, it's the way that you sing it.
- That's what gets results.
Ella Fitzgerald (singing here)
As Colorado Peak Politics has reported, this month's Colorado's presidential polls bounce like hacky sacks.
Gallup, emphasizing different data, records a transformational change – toward Republicans – for our state in the last four years. Gallup's partisan leanings in Colorado and all other states are here, here, here, 2008 through the first six months of 2012. Colorado currently:
- Democrats plus Democratic-leaning Independents = 39.9%
- Republicans plus Republican-leaning Independents = 45.1%
- Independents (no lean) = 15.0%
Analyzing these foundational results, Republicans are in better shape than they've been for several elections. We lead:
- in active registration, substantially,
- in having Independent voters lean our way and
- because Obama's Colorado job disapproval is 50%, critically above the national level.
In 2004, by the way, Colorado's Republicans were “up” only 1.6% over the Democrats, yet Bush won. We are now up 5.2%.
From 2008, this is a gynormous difference. See the data table (the PARTY section):
2008 | 2010 | 2011 | 2012 | Change
- Dem | 48.8% | 43.0% | 41.3% | 39.9% | -8.9%
- Rep | 38.2% | 40.8% | 44.3% | 45.1% | 6.9%
- Ind | 13.0% | 16.2% | 14.4% | 15.0% | 2.0%
- Ind Ln Dem | 14.6% | 9.4% | 9.2% | 8.3% | -6.3%
- Ind Ln Rep | 3.2% | 1.3% | 7.0% | 8.6% | 5.4%
By 2010, Democrat froth had melted under the baneful influence of Obamacare and wasteful deficits. It continued to dissipate the next year and half.
Independents who say they don't lean either way are the smallest part of the political world. Respected analysts unite in saying that “leaning” Independents behave, in fact, pretty much like the party members they lean toward – so this table accurately reports the small share of voters who might vacillate between Romney and Obama.
Republicans (including leaners) saw increases, year over year, and are now up 6.9% over '08.
How Independents lean is as important as which party leads in registration.
The LEAN section of this table compares how registered Independents lean, some toward Democrats, some toward Republicans. (This compares Gallup's party plus leaners to registration data. I use actual turnout by party for '08 and '10; Dec '11 and July '12 active voter registration; my calculations.) If, for example, 30% of voters registered as Democrats and 40% of Gallup's sample said they were Democrat or leaned D, then 10% of registered Independents would be 'leaning' Democrat.
This section shows how badly damaged the Republican brand was in 2008 and even 2010. Democrats enjoyed an 11.4% advantage in Independent lean in 2008, and an 8.1% advantage in 2010. Though tiny, this year we enjoy an Independent lean advantage. This may augur hope for Republicans generally in our state.
Three other swing states, each with available active voter numbers, offer comparative data.
Gallup reports Iowa's and Nevada's numbers of party plus party leaners have moved in tandem with the Colorado change over the last four years. North Carolina voters have seen a smaller shift (away from Democrats and toward Republicans). For 2012:
- Democrats (including leaners) still enjoy about a 2% advantage in Iowa,
- Republicans (with leaners) are ahead about 4% in Nevadaand
- the parties (when leaners are included) are tied in North Carolina.
In active voter registration, Iowa is the star for Republicans. Since 2008, Dems have lost 110,00 active voters while Repubs are up 22,000; this puts Republicans ahead of the Democrats while they were well behind in 2008. In Nevada both parties are down from 2008 active numbers, but Democrats have fallen 56,000 further. (North Carolina active 2008 numbers are not available.)
Bottom line: Colorado trending Republican is not an isolated example. This explains why Obama's campaign is ignoring every state he lost in 2008; his game is 100% defense.
If Republicans bring it, swing it, sing it right, we'll get good results.