Colorado Republicans continue to outpace their Democratic rivals in turning in their ballots with less than a week before the election, according to numbers from the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.
More than 905,000 ballots have been submitted to county clerks around the state.
Building on a lead they held Monday, the GOP has seen 84,601 more partisan ballot returns than Democrats with six days to go. Republicans voter returns stand at 379,250 with Democrats trailing at 294,649. Unaffiliated voters have returned 222,043 ballots so far.
The partisan ballot advantage today is higher than the 74,000 ballot gap Republicans held on election day in 2010. While Democrats won a topsy-turvy gubernatorial battle and narrowly upset the Tea Party wave with their win in the U.S. Senate, the partisan advantage likely explains how Democrats lost two seats in the U.S. House, all other major statewide offices, and the Colorado House of Representatives that year, despite massive get out the vote efforts in Democratic strongholds.
As a percentage, nearly 42 percent of the returned ballots are from Republicans hoping to capture the seats currently held by Governor John Hickenlooper and U.S. Senator Mark Udall. Democrats represent 32.5 percent of the returned ballots, with unaffiliateds hovering just under 25 percent.
According to pollster Floyd Ciruli, the 900,000 votes turned in represent about 41 percent of the expected total turnout of approximately 2.2 million, based on active voter data.
In addition, Republicans have seen significant gains over their 2010 efforts, in both absolute votes returned and in the overall return percentage. Democrats have increased their returns over 2010 by nearly 23 percent in the all mail-in ballot election, while Republicans have notched a 35 percent higher return. Get-out-the-vote efforts from both parties have likely stirred the dramatic increase in unaffiliated ballot returns, as the 2014 figure at the same point in time is approximately 48 percent higher for those voters not registered with any party.
In all 12 battleground counties–Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, Mesa, Pueblo, and Weld–Republicans have outpaced Democrats in increasing their turnout as measured by comparing 2010 to 2014 cycles at the same point in time, the Wednesday before the election.
Republicans also hold dramatic leads in 8 of the top 12 battleground counties, including Arapahoe and Jefferson, the expected bellwether counties. Though the partisan GOP leads have slimmed from 11 and 8 percent to 9 and 7 percent, respectively, since Monday, Democrats haven’t seen much gain. Most of the additional percentage coming from Republicans appears to be from an increase in unnaffiliated returns.
In the four counties with significant Democratic leads, only Denver has seen a slight shift away from the GOP. Republicans are holding steady against Democratic turnout efforts in Adams, Boulder, and Pueblo counties, all significant and traditional Democratic strongholds.