On Monday, Quinnipiac released a poll that showed a dramatic shift from the survey they had done the week before for Colorado’s US Senate race. In the poll last week, the firm showed Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO) ahead of the incumbent Democrat Mark Udall by seven points, 46% to 39%. However, Monday’s results showed the race a lot tighter, with Gardner’s lead shrinking to two points, 45% to 43%.
The poll also showed that the state’s gubernatorial race is just as up in the air. Incumbent Democrat John Hickenlooper currently trails his Republican opponent Bob Beauprez by two points, 45% to 43%. The firm’s previous survey had Beauprez up by five points less than two weeks ago. This election is Colorado’s first with an all mail-in ballot. Therefore, a number of voters have already cast their votes. Among those who have, Beauprez leads Hickenlooper by four points, 46% to 42%.
As for the Senate race, Udall trails Gardner by five points among those who have already voted, 47% to 42%. However, the Democrat is up significantly with independent voters. 43% of independents favor Udall while only 36% back Gardner. Udall is up with women voters, but not by that much, as he only has a three-point lead, 47% to 44%. Gardner holds a nine-point lead with men, 47% to 38%. The poll also showed that most voters had made up their mind. Only 4% stated that they may change their mind before voting.
Interestingly, Quinnipiac did not release much demographic information with this most recent poll. Aside from party affiliation and sex, nothing else was released. Therefore, we are not privy to information regarding race, ethnicity and age, as well as the sampling size of any of these particular groups. Considering that Colorado has a significant Latino population that tends to vote Democratic, it is possible that this poll, and other that have been released over the past couple of months, are not accurately reflecting the Latino voter base.
On Friday, Politico published an article from a Latino polling firm, Latino Decisions, in which the authors argued that polls in Colorado are are not providing an accurate portrait of Colorado’s Latino voters. Essentially, due to polling firms relying exclusively on English-speaking pollsters, as well as dialing up mostly landlines, the picture provided via their polls of Latino voters could be vastly different from the actual Latino voting base. The authors also suggested that the polls have vastly underestimated Latino voter participation in this election.
Latino Decisions brought up the 2010 Nevada election where Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) held off a challenge from Republican Sharron Angle. Reid ended up winning by nearly six points despite him being down to Angle in nearly every poll heading into the election. While part of Angle’s loss has always been tied to her extremist views, Nate Silver and other poll watchers have said that the main reason for the surprise is that polls in Nevada didn’t accurately measure the Latino vote. Basically, Reid was always up in the race but the polls didn’t do a good job capturing a true reflection. This is Latino Decision’s argument in Colorado.
It is quite possible that the polls in Colorado have been accurate the whole time and Udall has generally been behind these past two months. However, it may just be that Colorado, a state with a growing Latino population that counted for 12% of the electorate in 2010 and 14% in 2014, isn’t being accurately portrayed by the polls that have been conducted and Latino voters will be the difference in this race.