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As I said before I do ex-officio early and post election data analysis for our local Democratic Party and have been compiling early vote election returns since 2008. I wish I had maintained better archives but I am recompiling it as I go along, (funny I feel like a squirrel who finds his winter stash as he forgot about it.)

Anyway the press is a day late on stuff I am compiling but the most recent link to statewide CO early vote returns is

1.1 million Coloradans have already cast votes
DENVER (AP) - More than 1 million Coloradans have already cast their votes by mail or at early-voting polling places.

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler's office said Wednesday that turnout results show about 1.15 million Coloradans already have voted, less than one week before Election Day.

Of those voters, about 439,000 are registered Republicans, almost 405,000 are Democrats and about 295,000 are unaffiliated.

Colorado has more than 3.6 million registered voters.

This equates to 38.6% for active Republicans, 35.6% for active Democratic and 25.97% for active Unaffiliated registrants but that was Monday's numbers. Tuesday's again the Democrats moved up to 40.6% against Republicans at 42.1% and Unaffiliated voting at a rate of 30%.

Before I went off to my GOTV nightly participation I got a call from a political reporter from a major CO newspaper who wanted to talk on "deep background" about the early polling numbers. He knew I was a D party data cruncher and we first talked about how talking to political people like us is like talking to deadpan accountants. He said he happened to be over at a local Republican Party office today and had a conversation with one of my counterparts about the early voting numbers and wanted to get my take.

I told him that coincidentally I had just put my finger tips on 2008 and 2010 early vote data and was comparing this year's returns or trends, to this year, though the previous years I only had county detailed data sets but as far as percentage turnouts by registrations go, they are comparable to the state returns by using a simple ratio. He then asked how is that so and I said they are large data sets and margins of errors are very small when comparing what is a large sub data set of the larger data set.

That said both 2008 and 2010 Democrats trailed 5-6% points by voting registrations during this same period. In fact in 2010, I had just found an email that I sent to the Dem County Executive Director that said on October 31 Republicans carried a 37.5% turnout versus Dem's who were at 32.1%. Then in 2008 I found a spread report that had Republicans voting at a rate of 36% and Democrats at 31.8%.

Back then Unaffiliated voters were still voting below 20% but what was interesting was that in 2008, over 25% of PMV (permanent mail in voters) cast their votes on the final two days of the election period. In 2010 it was 30% of PMV votes.

So what are you seeing now, he inquired. Democrats have maintained a level of two to three percent from the beginning and the above Secretary of State release is actually October 29th numbers, yesterday's numbers again the Democrat registrants closed to 40.6% to 42.1% Republicans and Unaffiliated registered just over 30%. "But that is just the headline, underneath is where the statistical story is happening," I said. So what is going on?

Permanent Mail In turnout is now reaching 60% for both partisan voters separated by 0.70%, way up from 2010 and 2008. Unaffiliated PMV are voting at 50% of their registrations. On top of that is the fact that Early Voting at polling centers is way up. Compared to 2010, only 11% from each registration designation registered votes from this venue, as of yesterday Democrats have 26% of their non PMV active registrations voted, 24% of Republicans and Unaffiliated are at 16%.

"What is this telling you?", he continued. Well for one thing there is no such thing as an Enthusiasm GAP!. It takes much more motivation to go to a polling center than to mail in a ballot or drop it off that was mailed to your home. Secondly, if there was a gap it would have shown up with more of a partisan spread, greater than the previous two years.

He then cut in and said, "it is ironic that your Republican counterpart said the same thing, even though his campaign operatives were more disbelieving with the statistical assessment." I replied that numbers are numbers and if you choose to ignore them than you are simply dealing with fantasy or imaginism as what you want the world to be instead what it is. I then said, I was concerned early on with a down ticket race with our state legislator where the first week the Republican turnout seemed to sprint out. But now even in raw numbers the Democrat has overtaken the challenger where I know that the unaffiliated in that district lean Democratic 52-53%. Again in that race it is the Early Vote that appears to make the difference where Dem's hold a 23% to 20% advantage.

His reply was. "first you don't know what the vote is and two isn't it now being said that the Obama campaign is simply getting those who would vote on election day to vote early?", ( a recent common meme.)

"To your first question I can predict the vote by knowing the previous voter trends in the area and state. Democrats vote between 91-93% according to party affiliation, Republicans in El Paso vote at 85% and statewide 87% according to party affiliation and Unaffiliated lean Democratic 51-54%. So I could run the numbers and have a pretty good picture."

He then said that is a spread of what 10% where I said, "actually 7% which is what showed up in the numbers between Obama and Bennet in two wave elections. As long as the Democrats occupy the center in Colorado it is going to be a turnout race until the political landscape changes, it has been this way since 2006."

"As for the GOTV efforts, the more you remove spending time and resources on those who are going to vote and most likely to vote, resources can be spent on sporadic voters, which is not phone calling but knocking on their doors. This is why I think Early Vote is up, since the beginning the campaign has been segregated in sending canvassers to targeted sporadic voters at their door and likely PMV voters via the phone. They are also still seeking volunteers for the final weekend/two election days. "

He then asked about the volunteer numbers and I said I have not noticed any difference between 2008 and 2012, except more regulars and less one timers. Finally he asked what I thought and I said each day I get more confident about the prospects in Colorado, numbers don't lie. I then asked a return question, what did my counterpart say to that question?

He said "it was going to be close but did not say he was gaining confidence. His campaign field organizer was very confident, though."  Of course the operative was confident, he is a salesman, the data guy is a numbers guy.

Originally posted to RWN on Thu Nov 01, 2012 at 05:14 AM PDT.

Also republished by Colorado COmmunity.

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