Saturday, July 7, 2018

The power of the unaffiliated is working for Democrats in 2018

A version of this was published in the Sky Hi News  July 11, 2018

Update July 11, 2018:When you hear Trump has 90% of affiliated Republican's support, he has 90% of a shrinking party..part of a trend but more dramatically since his election. GOP loss iof
their younger voters. Democratic Party affiliation has also dropped, but not to the extent of the GOP. Where did all the voters go? Unaffiliated. They rule.

Colorado just had its first "open primary", permitting unaffiliated to vote in a party primary of their choice. It benefited the Democratic Party turnout and gives  a preview of  the November 2018 outcome when all House of Representative and numerous  statehouse legislative  seats, some state and local officials,  and the governor are up for a vote. Our purple state appears to be turning  bluer.

 Nearly 38% of all voters in Colorado are registered unaffiliated and the rest are split somewhat evenly between Republicans and Democrats, with Democrats having a slight edge. What the unaffiliated do in November is key to the results. Many register unaffiliated because they are not very  loyal to one party or another.  The unaffiliated polled are  leaning more heavily Democratic.. The Democratic  party is relatively unified. There was no cross the board ideological sweep by  either progressives or more traditional Democrats, with both factions winning individual  state wide primary races in June.   There were issue  nuances, especially in education  (charter v public) and in  methods  and degrees of health care insurance access.   If the GOP in Colorado was hoping for an ideological split in the Democratic party to  give them a chance to waltz into the statehouse and local government, they will be disappointed.             .
What was very significant was the relative numbers of turnout  of those who voted in either party primary.  It indicates a greater degree of enthusiasm of Democrats and unaffiliated leaning Democratic in November. . A poll of 600 likely Colorado voters by Alabama based Republican firm Cygnal Research found that unaffiliated voters in June  planned to vote in the Democratic primary "in sharply high numbers than the Republican primary."  and had a negative view of Donald Trump. Unaffiliated voters also favor leading Democrats for governor than leading Republican candidates  in November 2018.  (Source: Durango Herald, June 26, 2018.)  Colorado based pollster Floyd Ciruli reported  in a recent Facebook posting "Democrats attracted 119,000 more voters than Republicans, and importantly, 65,000 more unaffiliated voters."

Our own Grand County voter registration by party affiliation is 22% Democratic, 38% Republican, 37% unaffiliated, the rest minor parties. This is a very red county. Since unaffiliated could vote in the primary of the party they chose , Grand County Democratic primary voters for governor comprised  45% of the total primary turnout. In comparison to the 2016 presidential election, 39% voted for Hillary Clinton. It appears that in June Democrats outperformed by 6% relative to 2016.. This shows Democrats turned out in greater numbers and/or more of the unaffiliated chose to vote in the Democratic party primary in June.

This should be a warning to both political parties in crafting their campaign messages it they want to appeal to the unaffiliated in the November midterms.  Do not be so extreme on issues you are out of tune with those who are not party loyal.   Nationwide, 70% do not want Roe v Wade overturned. That has implications for any GOP candidates who are voting to confirm a Supreme Court nominees. For those chanting abolish ICE, it sounds like they want us to  have open borders and no restriction on immigration (which is not what they mean: they do propose  kinder, gentler replacements), yet a January  2018 poll conducted by Harvard found that 80% of all voters said US needs secure borders.    (poll of Colorado voters January 2018)

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