Michelle Obama told Colorado Democrats on Oct. 24 that “we all need to be as passionate and hungry for this election as we were in 2008 and 20012. In fact we need to be even more passionate.”
Unfortunately for the first lady and her fellow Democrats, early returns showed Colorado Democrats have all the passion of a middle-aged man falling asleep in front of the TV, while Republicans have the passion of a teenager sneaking out past that snoring father.
GOP voters had submitted 40,000 more ballots than Democrats in Colorado’s midterm election, in the race between Republican congressman Cory Gardner and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.), by Oct. 22, the Denver Post reported.
The Colorado secretary of state’s office released ballot return data that showed 145,824 Republican voters had mailed back ballots, compared to 105,401 Democrats who had done the same thing.
More than 77,000 unaffiliated or independent voters had also returned ballots.
Every voter in Colorado will receive a mail-in ballot this year and Udall is getting swamped by the GOP wave of envelopes.
The NBC News/Marist Poll released Oct. 26 showed Udall trailed among those who have already voted by 12 points.
Beyond the early voting, the NBC News/Marist Poll also showed Gardner with a 1 point lead over Udall, 46 percent to 45 percent among likely voters, including those who were undecided yet leaning toward a candidate or had voted early.
Among likely voters in the NBC News/Marist’s September poll, Gardner trailed Udall by 6 points.
The NBC News/Marist Poll released in October showed 5 percent of Colorado likely voters were undecided, and 2 percent of those with a candidate preference said they might vote differently.
Independents likely to vote and gender play a role in how the race has changed. Udall’s once 15-point lead among independents had shrunk to just 3 points.
The NBC News/Marist poll was not an anomaly. Udall was in the lead in only one of the polls released in October. The CBS News/New York Times/YouGov poll released Oct. 24 showed the Democrat had a 1-point lead.
Other than that it was Gardner at the top of every survey in October, from the 1-point lead in the NBC News/Marist poll to the 7-point lead in a USA Today/Suffolk poll.
The Real Clear Politics average gave Gardner a 3.3-point lead Oct. 28. However, Real Clear Politics still had the Gardner-Udall race as a “Toss Up.”
“To seal up the potential crack in the Democratic firewall for the U.S. Senate, Udall needs a big ground game,” said Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, the director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.
Democrats have brought out their headliners to rally the faithful.
Bill and Hillary Clinton spent two days in Colorado campaigning for the Democratic Party’s ticket Oct. 27-28.
“You just have to decide what you want, a future of shared opportunities and shared responsibilities, a future of where people do not hate people in the other party and will have a conversation with anybody if it helps you to have a brighter future,” Bill Clinton said at one of the rallies.
Clinton also told another crowd that when a politician leaves office, only three things matter.
“Are people better off than when you started? Do your children and grandchildren have a better future? And, are we coming together or being driven apart? If that is the test, Mark Udall will be the next senator from Colorado.”
Michelle Obama said the midterm races would be more difficult than the presidential elections of 2008 and 2012.
“These midterm races will be even harder and even closer than those presidential elections,” said Mrs. Obama. “But they are just as important. And the stakes this year could not be higher.”
“If you don’t want women’s bosses making decisions about their birth control, if you think women should get equal pay for equal work, you need to get everyone you know to stand up and vote for Mark Udall,” she added.
Udall is still pushing the gender gap issue and the question of whether Gardner supports a personhood amendment.
As part of that effort, Udall for Colorado on Monday released its newest TV ad, “Decision.”
The 30-second commercial highlighted what the Udall campaign described as “Gardner’s repeated and deliberate deceptions regarding his long record of fighting to take Colorado women backward.”
“In Congress, Gardner continues his eight-year crusade for radical Personhood measures that would ban all abortion and outlaw common forms of birth control. Colorado just can’t trust the real Cory Gardner,” said the narrator of the ad.
Gardner is using a new ad, “Endorsements,” to counter Democrats’ charges he would flip years’ worth of calendar pages backwards in an effort to do away with women’s rights.
The narrators in “Endorsements” quote the Denver Post and the Daily Sentinel to dispute charges from the Udall campaign that Gardner would support bans on contraception.
The NBC News/Marist Poll showed the gender gap has widened, with men as the driving force behind the gains for Gardner. He now leads Udall among men by 15 points, up from 5 points.
Jeb Bush was scheduled to be in Colorado later in the week to campaign for the Republican Party ticket, including Gardner.
(For complete 2014 midterm coverage, get your campaign fix on The Grid.)