Colorado’s Republicans led Democrats by 3.8% in 2013 – which explains Democrats losses last year. That’s based on which party Coloradans supported or leaned toward last year. That’s quite a change from 2010 (Dems up by 2.2%) when Bennet squeaked by.
In off-year elections, voters begin their decision-making process by judging the incumbent President’s job performance. And, somehow, more voters opine about job performance than will admit their party leanings, even after being pushed. This means that there are fewer wishy-washy folks than “true” Independents.
Things have gone DOWNHILL for Obama – even given his honeymoon high approval ratings early last year. As these ratings show:
2010 45.2% Approved; 46.9% Disapproved; 7.9% No Opinion
2013 42.3% Approved; 51.2% Disapproved; 6.5% No Opinion
In 2010, Coloradans’ job ratings of Obama predicted a squeaker election … & it was.
Assuming no change in Obama’s job approval, Republicans ought to win this year.
Let’s do a bit more digging here. For safety’s sake, let’s say that Colorado’s Republican candidates ought to shoot for 55% of the vote.
To meet that goal in 2010, Buck and Maes would have needed ALL of the anti-Obama vote PLUS 103% of the “no opinion” folks.
In 2014, Colorado Republicans need only 58% of the “no opinion” people. Not nearly such a tough goal.
And five states* with U.S. Senate seats currently held by Democrats have stronger anti-Obama opinions than we do in Colorado. So strong that they don’t need a single “no opinion” vote to win with 55%, assuming all the “thumbs down on Obama” voters reject his U.S. Senate lackeys.
One final point: 2014 is a favorable year for Republican Senate pickups with many Democrats up for re-election. Republicans need six takeaways for a majority. That said, 2016 will be exactly the opposite, with many more Republicans under the gun. If national Republican and Tea Party leaders want a lasting conservative majority in the U.S. Senate, they must take away more than six seats this fall. To those five seats already likely to go Republican, Louisiana and Colorado must be added, plus a couple more.
* All data are Gallup or calculations based on that. The five states this analysis suggests will go Republican are Alaska, Arkansas, Montana, South Dakota and West Virginia. Kentucky is a likely ‘keep’ for Republicans, and it will take work for Republicans to hold Georgia.