National Political Insiders Talk up Colorado as a “New Blue State in the West”

In their latest issue of the newsletter Election Insider, the progressive oriented National Committee for an Effective Congress makes the case that recent success by Democrats in Colorado suggests that the Centennial State will once again vote blue for President in 2008.

Colorado’s electoral votes have not gone to the Democratic nominee since 1992, when Bill Clinton won 40% of the vote, and was aided by a strong performance by independent candidate Ross Perot (who won 24%).

But evidence suggests Colorado has at least shifted back to purple, if not full blue.

Get the details after the jump…By now, we are all familiar with the highlights. In 2004, the Salazars picked up a seat in the U.S. Senate (Ken) and the 3rd Congressional District seat in the U.S. House (John).  In 2006, Ed Perlmutter scored a major victory in the 7th Congressional District, while Bill Ritter captured the governor’s office, also by a large margin.

NCEC also notes that Rep. Marilyn Musgrave barely secured reelection, but they miss part of the story.  They fail mention that Democrats gained control both houses of the state legislature in 2004 and expanded their margins in 2006.

Further, the Republican voter registration advantage in Colorado has begun to erode, as the Republican base has weakened in the state.  Over the past 24 months, the total number of registered Democrats has ticked up by 2,140, while Republican registration has fallen by 26,145 voters and the ranks of unaffiliated voters has surged by 47,123 voters.  These figures reflect the latest cleansing of inactive voters from the voter rolls by the Colorado Secretary of State and the local county election offices.

According to the latest figures from the Colorado Secretary of State, there are now 149,751 more registered Republicans in Colorado than registered Democrats, which is down from 178,026 at the same time in 2005, a drop of 28,275.

In percentage terms, this shift translates into a 0.2% decline in Democratic registration as a percentage of the total, while Republicans now account for 1.2% less of the electorate, meaning the GOP advantage has dropped by a full percentage point.  Unaffiliated voters now account for 33.6% of all voters, while minor party voters represent only 0.4% of the total.

Later this week we will discuss where in the state that shift has occurred.  Any guesses as to where the Republican base has softened?

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Mark Mehringer

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