The massive failure of A66 is part of a larger story: Democrats’ 2013 failures to match Obama’s 2012 successes. Sean Trende of Real Clear Politics calls it the drop-off problem. If it persists Republicans will perform three to five percent better in 2014 than Romney did in 2012.

People who voted in 2012 were AWOL in 2013. Colorado matches that downward direction.

Magellan Strategies published detailed Colorado turnout statistics (here and here). The Secretary of State offers similar break-outs of registered voters. Magellan very kindly provided turnout by their previous three factors in every Colorado county matching official registration break-outs. I have previously noted that their September poll was remarkably close to the final outcomes for A66.

We can see what the turnout of registered voters was in both 2012 and 2013 in Colorado. What follows is a verbal analysis (no fancy statistics or tables of numbers). Any errors are mine, not the Secretary of State’s or Magellan’s. This turnout analysis does not compare actual voting behavior to the number of eligible citizens, but rather to the number of registered Coloradans.

The 2012 election turnout showed the power of the Democrats’ registration/identification/persuasion/get-out-the-vote operations. They use this four-part process as their path to victory.

2013 was a different year.

Republicans were more faithful voters in 2013 than Democrats, turning out at the highest percentage. (As they had, even in 2012.)

Three factors helped Republicans win the turnout battle of 2013. First, female Republicans substantially led the charge in turnout and male Democrats just did not bother to vote at customary levels. Second, Independent turnout collapsed compared to 2012 – and male Independents fell less far than female Independents compared to 2012. Male voters are, bluntly, less supportive of higher taxes for education them female voters. Third, voters under 40 didn’t vote anywhere near 2012’s levels.

Looking at the detailed “splits” of turnout made possible by Magellan’s data, the Democrats’ efforts looked punk even in Denver (one of two counties A66 won) and Arapahoe. Add ski areas and the heavily Hispanic counties of Southern Colorado to the Democrats’ list of fall-downs. Perhaps as an echo of the September recall elections, Democrats flopped in El Paso and (less drastically) in Pueblo County. Teller County may have echoed the El Paso thumbs down messsage.

Some speculation:

  • 2013 didn’t have 2012’s fervid registration efforts.
  • Transient voters led the AWOL parade.
  • Ski counties’ 2013 turnout results continue to suggest some improper voting.
  • Southwest Colorado didn’t hear about the 2013 election.
  • Urban minorities don’t embrace tax hikes they pay for.

There’s plenty here – if analysis is pushed down to the precinct level – to show conservatives how to win in 2014.