Six days before Election Day, Colorado Republicans have cast only a few hundred more early ballots than Democrats.
By Halloween morning, 951,431 of nearly 3.3 million active voters in Colorado had turned in ballots. Registered Republicans cast 331,706 of them, and Democrats cast 331,263. Election Day is Nov. 6.
On Monday, Oct. 29, Republicans had a 4,411-vote advantage, which Democrats narrowed considerably in the course of 48 hours.
Last week, on Oct. 24, Democrats had overtaken Republicans by 390 votes, but only after the GOP out-voted them by 2,245 votes on Oct. 23, the first day the secretary of state released return numbers. Republicans swung back on Oct. 25 to take the lead by 2,222. On Oct. 26 they consolidated a few thousand more votes to hold the advantage going into the weekend. On Monday, the GOP had nearly doubled its gains on the Democrats. But on Tuesday, Democrats made up some of that ground and kept gaining by today.
Ryan Winger, who is tracking the ballot returns and offering analysis for the Colorado-based Republican polling firm Magellan Strategies, wrote on Oct. 30 that Republicans “remain well off their pace from 2014,” and that in all but one of Colorado’s top 12 counties, “fewer Republicans have returned their ballot than at this time in 2014.”
Long story short, Winger says, “It does appear that an enthusiasm gap exists right now, and that it favors Democrats. The advantage that Republicans enjoyed at this same point in 2014 is simply not there, and so Republican campaigns around the state will have to work hard to turn out their voters in this last week leading up to Election Day.”
Meanwhile, Colorado’s more than 1.2 million unaffiliated voters, the state’s largest voter pool, have cast 231,675 ballots as of Oct. 30. A big question is which way they will swing to affect the partisan statewide and legislative races on this year’s ballot.
We did get an idea of how they might vote if the results of this year’s primaries are any indication. This was the first year unaffiliated voters could participate in a party primary, and they could only pick one. The number of unaffiliated voters was about 270,000. Of that number, 63 percent chose a Democratic ballot and 37 percent picked a Republican one, according to data from the secretary of state’s office. Already, 132,066 unaffiliated voters have cast ballots in this election.
On the third-party front, 7,206 Libertarians have cast ballots and 1,868 Green Party members have voted. Members of The Unity Party, a new third party, cast 145 votes so far.
Voters between the ages of 41 and 60 are casting more early votes in Colorado than any other age group, data shows. Women are ahead of men in early voting by about 30,000 ballots.
More voters in Jefferson County are turning in early ballots than anywhere else, to the tune of 124,959. Next up is Arapaho County, where voters there cast 107,724 ballots. In El Paso County, home to a large bloc of Republicans, voters turned in 104,622 ballots so far. In Democrat-rich Denver County, voters have cast only 99,939 ballots. Democratic-leaning Boulder County voters have turned in 63,456 so far. (Both those counties tend to turn ballots in later.) Voters in the battleground county of Larimar have cast 67,350 votes. Republicans lead there by a few hundred ballots.
Colorado pollster Floyd Ciruli said the fact that Democrats are leading by a few thousand votes in Arapahoe County could indicate problems for Republican Congressman Mike Coffman. National issues could be having an impact on turnout there, he added.
Here’s the breakdown as of Oct. 31 of Colorado’s early ballot returns in the 2018 General Election, per the secretary of state: