Last week, Harpers Polling published a poll that showed U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner and liberal U.S. Senator Mark Udall neck and neck in the 2014 U.S. Senate race. That’s not surprising given that Gardner is a formidable candidate. But, when we looked at the underlying numbers, it revealed the Udall may be in worse shape than anyone thought. See the results below from the Harpers polling memo.
The interesting thing about the poll is that the pollsters weighted the sample close to registration, which doesn’t necessarily reflect actual turnout. The turnout that they modeled is 31% Republican, 33% Democrat, and 36% Unaffiliated. Local pollsters have been weighting their polling for this year at 38 or 39% Republican, 34 or 35% Democrat and 27 or 28% Unaffiliated. Historically speaking, U’s have never come close to 36% and likely won’t in this environment.
And, indeed, the turnout for 2010 was as follows: 39.47% Republican, 33.63% Democrat, and 26.21% Unaffiliated, a full ten points lower than the Us predicted in the poll. Even former Obama strategist David Plouffe is warning that Republicans could have another banner year like 2010, according to Bloomberg:
“We have a turnout issue,” Plouffe said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital with Al Hunt,” airing this weekend. “This is a screaming siren that the same problems that afflicted us” in 2010 when Democrats lost control of the House “could face us again.”
With a margin of error at +/- 4.35%, even with the potentially unrealistic weighting, it’s easy to see that Udall is in some treacherous waters. And, this is with weighting in favor of Udall in a poll commissioned by a right-leaning Super PAC, American Crossroads. Come election day, things could be a lot uglier.