Early Ballots Favor Republicans in Colorado, But Less Clear in Georgia

By: David Bastawrous—Special Report College Associate

In a strict party-line vote last year, the Democrat-led state legislature opted to push Colorado to a largely mail-in ballot system in an effort to boost voter turnout. While the Republicans, including the secretary of state, opposed the measure due to the burden it would place on county clerks and the postal service, they’re not exactly complaining today.

According to numbers released by the Colorado Secretary of State, nearly 1.4 million votes have already been cast. Of the voters, 41% are registered Republicans, 33% are registered Democrats, and about 26% are unaffiliated. Election officials expect slightly over 2 million votes to be cast by 7 pm Tuesday night.

However, history tells us that these numbers may not be as indicative as Republicans would hope.

2010 Colorado early ballot numbers were nearly identical:  of 1.2 million voters who cast early ballots, 40.7% were registered Republicans, 34.6% were registered Democrats and 24% were unaffiliated. Despite the apparent early Republican lead, Democratic candidate (and current Colorado Senator) Michael Bennet went on to defeat Republican candidate Ken Buck by just under 30,000 votes.

And while the polls have given Republican Senate candidate, Rep. Corey Gardner, a slight but consistent lead over the past month, Democratic incumbent Senator Mark Udall still has reason to hope he will  hold on to his seat.

Unaffiliated voters commonly cast their ballots later than party-affiliated voters. Additionally, it seems reasonable to assume that a significant amount of younger voters would take advantage of the provision to surrender their mail-in ballots and vote in person at the polls on Tuesday. Both constituencies largely favor Udall in the polls.

In Georgia, early ballot numbers are even less revealing.

Nearly 1 million early ballots were cast in Georgia, up more than 20% from 2010. But without a party registration system in the state, pollsters are left relying largely on demographics.

Coming into Election Day, President Obama and the First Lady often appeared on African-American radio shows, urging the base to get out and vote.

Of the early voters in Georgia, 32.8% were African-Americans—an initial good sign for Democratic candidate for Senate, Michelle Nunn.

However, an exit poll revealed that a majority of these African-Americans were already likely voters, simply opting to cast their votes early.

The poll also revealed that 93% of these early voters were 45 and older.

“It is doubtful that the African-American turnout will continue to be this high, which favors the Republicans, and it’s doubtful that the electorate will skew this old, favoring the Democrats” the pollster Fredrick Hicks said.

While the poll gave Republican candidate for Senate, David Perdue, a slight lead, the race is still neck and neck. The Libertarian candidate Amanda Swafford may very well garner just enough votes to force a runoff in January.

 

We’re gearing up for a long, but lively night here at the Fox News Channel. As exit polls began to trickle in, be sure to tune into FNC at 6 pm as Bret Baier and Megyn Kelly anchor the on-the-ground coverage and in-studio expert analysis of all the battleground races. 

Midterms: Races to Watch

Gardner Closes the Gap in Colorado

By: David Bastawrous- Special Report College Associate

While you may not have uttered the “my dad is better than your dad” quip since your days on the school playground, don’t put it past Colorado’s political playground. Anything goes in this high stakes race as Republican Rep. Cory Gardner seeks to oust Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall.

The Wall Street Journal argues that Colorado’s Senate candidates are vying for an electorate composed of voters who decide presidential elections: suburban women, an increasing Hispanic population, and a plurality of unaffiliated, independent voters. In fact, of the past 6 presidential elections, Colorado chose the Republican and Democratic candidate 3 times each, and 5 of whom went on to become the President.

Jon Caldera of the Independence Institute, a Denver based libertarian think tank, labeled this a true kitchen table-issue election. A recent Suffolk/USA Today poll suggests that voters pinpoint jobs, healthcare, and national security as priority issues.

Though it didn’t take long before Democrats aimed to cast Gardner as a republican of the Todd Aiken ilk. A July ad put out by the Senate Majority PAC accused Gardner of trying to “redefine rape.” Udall’s team also blasted Gardner for co-sponsoring a federal Personhood Amendment that would effectively outlaw abortion. But in March, Gardner said he was “not right” and “can’t support personhood” after the realization that the bill would outlaw certain forms of birth control. He also clarified his support for exceptions of rape, incest, and life of the mother to his pro-life position.

But back in July, Patrick Davis, a Colorado Republican consultant, suggested that Udall went too negative too early, “pulling out an October tactic in July,” he said. And he just may have been right.

While Sen. Udall kept a slight, but consistent lead throughout the summer, Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball recently moved Colorado from “Lean’s Democratic” to “Toss Up”. All indicators show that momentum is swinging Gardner’s way. Though the Real Clear Politics average has Gardner up by just 0.6% (a statistical tie), they write, “the race seems to have closed and Gardner now has a slight lead.”

And the biggest thorn in Udall’s side: President Obama. During a Sept. 6 debate, Udall said, “Let me tell you, the White House, when they look down the front lawn, the last person they want to see coming is me.” But it may be the other way around. When President Obama flew up to Udall’s turf in Colorado to host a fundraiser in July, Udall elected to stay in Washington. The Real Clear Politics average shows Colorado with a 54% disapproval to 41% approval rating of the President. And while Gardner repeatedly claims that Udall has “voted with President Obama 99% of the time,” Udall has made clear efforts to distance himself away from the President, but maybe in the wrong direction.

Sen. Udall criticized President Obama’s plan to carryout airstrikes against ISIS, a decision that the American people overwhelmingly support.

On the other two aforementioned issues pinpointed by Colorado voters, healthcare and jobs, public opinion bears more bad news for Udall.

55% of Colorado voters say that Obamacare has been bad for Colorado, while only 37% would disagree. In yesterday’s debate, Udall said that he would vote for Obamacare again, touting the 400,000 now on the Colorado exchange and that the uninsured in Colorado dropped from 17% to 11%. Gardner, on the other hand, mentioned the 340,000 health insurance cancelations due to the law and argued that 2.5 million jobs were lost because of the law. Though Udall attacked Gardner for voting to repeal the law over 50 times without suggesting with what to replace it.

In a state with a booming oil and natural gas economy, energy has emerged as a key issue. A poll conducted in March showed that the majority of Colorado voters support the building of the Keystone XL pipeline. Gardner noted this in yesterday’s debate and argued that it would bring thousands of jobs to Colorado. Udall expressed environmental concerns and said that Gardner exaggerates the economic benefits of the project.

Still, this race remains as close as any in the country. 50 million dollars could be spent to court a state with a population of just 5 million. This race may very well decide who controls the Senate and may indicate the national mood for an early look at 2016.

For interviews with both candidates and more on the race, be sure to tune in to Special Report tonight as Bret reports live from Denver. 

Grapevine: A Man's Job, Paying Putin & The Bald Truth!

A MAN'S JOB

One thing missing as world leaders meet for a second day at the Nuclear Security Summit at the Hague… women servers. A Dutch newspaper reports the caterer decided only men would be allowed to serve lunch to the leaders of 53 countries. The caterer is defending his decision, saying he wanted a uniform look among the servers… which apparently…women cannot pull off. 

PAYING PUTIN

As president Obama pursues sanctions against Russia for its incursion into Crimea the US is paying Russia more than 70-million dollars to hitch a ride into space.  A Soyuz rocket was scheduled to take off today with NASA astronaut Steve Swanson joining two Russian cosmonauts on a trip to the International Space Station.  Since NASA's manned space program missions ended the only way into space is to carpool with the Russians at a price tag of 70.7 million for one seat.  A NASA spokesman says the ongoing conflict between the U-S and Russia here on Earth will have no bearing in space.

THE BALD TRUTH

And finally, a Colorado girl's bold move of support for her friend with cancer got her kicked out of school. Nine-year old Kamryn shaved her head in solidarity with her good friend Delaney who is undergoing chemotherapy. But what many saw as a heartwarming display of true friendship the Caprock Academy saw as a dress code violation. School policy bans shaved heads on girls. Kamryn was told not to come back unless she was wearing a wig or her natural hair grew back.  School officials told Kamryn's mom they would not make an exception, but late yesterday-- after word of the suspension spread-- the school changed its tune. It has allowed Kamryn to return while it reviews the policy.

For more fresh pickings follow us on Twitter @SRGrapevine

Paul Ryan in battleground state of Colorado

 

Lakewood High School gymnasium where Paul Ryan is set to speak-- the fire marshal tells Fox News the crowd has reached maximum capacity. Congressman Ryan just wrapped up his interview with Brit Hume! Tune in tonight 6pm ET to Special Report for more!

Sandra Fluke to campaign for President Obama

Politico: Sandra Fluke to campaign with Obama in Denver


 


The Georgetown law student famously insulted by Rush Limbaugh for backing insurance coverage of birth control will introduce President Obama at an event in Denver on Wednesday, a campaign official confirms to POLITICO.


 


Sandra Fluke, whom Limbaugh called a "slut," will introduce Obama at a campaign rally at Auraria Campus.


 


The event is one of several scheduled during his swing through Colorado on Wednesday and Thursday. He will also attend events in Colorado Springs, Grand Junction and Pueblo.


 


Limbaugh's insult, for which he ultimately apologized, came earlier this year after Fluke testified against a bill in Congress that would have allowed companies to avoid providing contraception for religious reasons. Obama personally called Fluke after the incident and Fluke later wrote an op-ed endorsing him for president. Her presence on the campaign trail this week was first reported by the Denver Post.


 


 


 

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