Ritter to Quarterback the Denver Broncos

This headline has nothing to do with the content of this post, or with reality. But then again, neither does this one…

Check out the headline on this AP story about the Colorado governor’s race – a story that appears on the Web sites of several major newspapers around the country:

Colo gov’s race looks like tossup after missteps by GOP candidate

I could say that this story is inaccurate, but lets just put it this way: The only people who might still call the governor’s race a “tossup” are Bob Beauprez and his wife. And maybe one of his cows.

And the cow probably wouldn’t believe it, either.

With polls consistently showing Democrat Bill Ritter with double-digit leads and growing (the last two public polls showed Ritter with a 17- and 16-point lead, respectively), this race is far from being a “tossup.” In fact, at this point in the campaign it isn’t even close. The governor’s race may well be decided by less than five points when all is said and done come November, but today it looks like a runaway for Ritter.

To say that Beauprez errors have made this race close would indicate that Beauprez was recently the favorite, which isn’t true. The last time Beauprez led Ritter in a publicly-available poll was in May, when Rasmussen Reports showed him ahead by just two points. You can’t even really call that a lead, however, because those numbers fall easily within the poll’s margin of error and every other Rasmussen Reports poll – before and since – showed Ritter ahead of Beauprez.

In fact, the last time Beauprez had a lead over Ritter of any significance was more than a year ago, when a Wall Street Journal/Zogby poll gave Beauprez a 44-39 lead. But even that poll is worthless, because at the time several big-name Democrats were also considering running against Ritter in a primary.

Since Ritter has been the unquestioned candidate of the Democratic Party, which basically occurred in February, he has led Beauprez in every single publicly-available poll but one. Not only that, but Ritter has steadily increased his lead in every poll that has come out since the spring (Colorado Pols has tracked all publicly-available polls in the 2006 governor’s race to date). For example:

April 6, 2006 – Rasmussen Reports
Ritter: 41%
Beauprez: 40%

June 8, 2006 – Rasmussen Reports
Ritter: 43%
Beauprez: 38%

June 22, 2006 – Wall Street Journal/Zogby
Ritter: 44.2%
Beauprez: 36.1%

July 17, 2006 – The Denver Post
Ritter: 42%
Beauprez: 35%

August 17, 2006 – SurveyUSA/9News
Ritter: 50%
Beauprez: 40%

September 14, 2006 – Rocky Mountain News/CBS4
Ritter: 50%
Beauprez: 33%

Ritter has steadily been pulling further and further away from Beauprez for months, so Beauprez’s errors couldn’t have made the race a “tossup” – it just put the governor’s mansion further out of reach for Republicans.

It’s not bias to say that the governor’s race “looks like tossup after missteps by GOP candidate” – it’s wrong. Completely, absolutely, totally false. There is no evidence that you can point to today that would show this race to be a “tossup.”

But if you are a Ritter fan, don’t be too upset. At least he gets to play quarterback for the Broncos in two weeks.

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