Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Colorado Voter Registration Numbers And "Uncommitted" Dems Spell Trouble For Udall

Ben DeGrow points out in the previous post that Rep. Mark Udall captured only 67% of the Democrat vote in the Senate preference poll against a weak candidate, with 32% of Democrats polled remaining "uncommitted".

This is not good news for Udall the Senate candidate--the latest Colorado voter registration numbers have been released (more complete analysis at Slapstick Politics), and a growing unaffiliated bloc stands in contrast to a stagnant Democrat base, which Udall obviously hasn't fired up enough with 32% refraining from selecting him in an essentially non-binding preference poll.

Here is a quick look at those voter registration numbers (click to enlarge):

Both candidates and parties explicitly acknowledge the enormous importance of the "unaffiliated" bloc in Colorado politics, determining as it has the state's recent slide to purple with the election of Democrats at the state and local levels since 2004.

What these new voter numbers and causus poll results indicate is that both Bob Schaffer and Udall will have to "secure the base"--a much easier task for both without a nasty primary--and then move to gain an advantage among the unaffiliateds, who have grown by over 90,000 since early 2004.

A lack of party support in the form of "uncommitted" Democrat voters in a preference poll lacking a formidable primary opponent demonstrates the weakness of a Udall candidacy even within his own party (in spite of early declarations by the MSM and pundits that Udall was all but guaranteed Sen. Wayne Allard's vacated seat, and a hefty campaign war chest).

Though Udall, Sen. Ken Salazar and Gov. Bill Ritter are all Democrats, the latter two won state-wide elections on relatively "moderate" records and campaigned as such to garner support from the unaffiliateds in the "center". Udall's campaign has tried desperately to paint Schaffer as "outside the mainstream" when in fact it is the Boulder liberal Udall who faces the rather daunting task of trying to move to the middle by running from his own record (even while embracing it back in the People's Republic).

The larger point is that any sizeable unaffiliated advantage that Udall will be contrasted with a less-than-unanimous base. A strong candidate, running virtually unopposed (Benner was never a serious candidate) should garner a larger showing in a preference poll than 67%. Before Udall attempts to grab the great Colorado unaffiliated bloc, he should ask why his base was less than enthusiastic back on February 5.

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