Turnout Tsunami

June 13, 2019

By Matthew Groves, House District 6 Co-chair

I’ve elaborated plenty on how I think about elections this year. Today, I’ll let the voters speak – in the form of polling data.

Public Opinion Strategies is a national firm who works for scores of federal and state office holders. Established by Bill McInturff and Neil Newhouse, they released this week a study on the national temperature. I present it to you because Trump is certain to impact down-ballot races in 2020.


The Slide-by-Slide breakdown-

Slide 3 – 2020 will be a high turnout. In the post-Bush era, presidential elections turnout ~75%, while mid-terms get in the mid-60s. I would not be surprised if 2020 reached 80-82% turnout. Typically, lower turnout favors Republicans. But, I wouldn’t go so far as to say that higher turnout favors Democrats. We’ll see.

Second, we highlight the popular vote/congressional map divide. The GOP consistently get our butts kicked in popular vote. We’ve one 1 presidential election out of 7 since 1993. However, in those 40 swing districts lost in 2018, the margin of defeat was 1/8 of the delta in popular vote. This means, we are close in the places that matter. This is helpful as you read slide 6, which shows GOP perception improving at a steeper rate than Democratic. This is the closest “party favorability” has been since W’s re-elect.

Slide 9 – Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is becoming the face of the Democratic party –a good thing for the GOP. She is remarkably unpopular among our base and independent voters alike. The fact that she is MORE popular among “likely D voters” than “registered D votes” indicates that for every additional vote turned out this year, there is an incrementally less likely chance it will be a progressive vote.

Slide 13. Women are becoming a larger percentage of the electorate. The disparity is a +19 for Democrats. This is why the national party has been so emphatic that our road to victory includes suburban women. Suburban women tend to be younger than their rural counterparts and more likely to vote than their urban counterparts. By contrast, Gen Z currently makes up 3% of the voting population. They are a ‘must have’ this election and we should avoid collateral issues that would typically drive them away.

Slide 16 – Educated white men (typically reliable) walked away from Trump HARD in 2018. While I wouldn’t expect that to revert back to 2010 numbers in this cycle, any regression to the historical mean is a plus for Republicans. Remember, swing seats only lost by 1-2 percent. If that +8 D drops to even a +2 D, this could be a material advantage.

Slide 22 – Our zenith. Some of those folks who didn’t like Trump in 2016, agree with his policies. Of likely voters, polls have that number at 23%. They didn’t have a chance to vote on his record in 2016. But with the economy going well and the US not actively engaged in just war, a policy-based conversation favors us. On the flip side, Congress knows this and is pushing heavily away from a policy-based conversation.

Slide 34 – Offers talking points foreshadowing the national message. In Denver, this is persuasive, but not binding. These messages parallel but not linked.

Ultimately, the moral is the socialist message is failing. This is good for us, since we can justifiably label the past 2 years of the Colorado legislature as socialist. If the 2020 legislature is a repeat of 2019, many frustrated unaffiliated and new voters will be ready to walk. Since anti-socialist messaging will be reinforced on every national TV ad at no cost, we get to stay on a positive message. The RNC’s ad buys will essentially be one massive independent expenditure creating a wind at our sails.

This contrast is a silver lining to the gray cloud of social media, which seems to be ordaining Joe Biden as the 45th president. Don’t be afraid to reply here with your thoughts. I would say that we have a puncher’s chance. But, we will have to work hard on our punch in this the final off season. Because any boxer will tell you, the harder you punch, the longer they stay down.