Colorado has turned purple. Election pollsters call states tending toward Republican votes "red" states and those tending toward Democrats "blue" states. Red and blue makes purple. That's what's happening here in Colorado. And the purple states could decide the 2008 Presidential election.
What does this mean? Some important statistics suggest that Colorado has begun to shift from the conservative right toward the middle. A review of Colorado's seven largest metropolitan areas (plus a "Small Town/Rural" segment that captures the rest of the state) shows that:
"Colorado is becoming polarized over time. In 1952, these areas differed only slightly in their partisan preferences. They all sat on the Republican side of the aisle, and the differences among them were less than 20 points. Flash forward fifty-two years and we see significant polarization. Colorado Springs has become more Republican, Boulder strongly Democratic, Denver slightly Democratic, and the rural areas essentially unchanged." 1
Denver's recent voting patterns suggest a possible shift towards Democratic candidates:
"First, while Denver has split down the middle in the last five presidential elections, 2004 saw it vote more Democratic than any time since 1952. Is this simply an "outlying" point around a central tendency of moderation, or is it a signal that the city is moving to the Democratic Party? It is too soon to say. If Denver continues to vote down the middle, we should expect Colorado to stay in the middle. If, on the other hand, it votes more Democratic, the whole state will shift to the left."
We're in a state of flux. Colorado's population has grown by 30% over the past 15 years. We've seen a huge influx of Californians, as well as large increases in our Latino families. It's hard to predict exactly what that means for the voting booths.
This is not the time for complacency. Voters must exercise this fundamental right. Colorado voters have a unique opportunity to shape our world.
The word "Colorado" means color red in Spanish, but it looks like purple is the new color of Colorado. At least for now. Citizens vote!
For good voter registration and other voting information for Colorado voters, see 9News' Anastasiya Bolton's report, What You Need to Know Before You Vote:
1 Source: Jay Cost: Swing State Review: Colorado, Real Clear Politics, http://time-blog.com/real_clear_politics/2008/08/swing_state_review_colorado.html
2 Source: Purple America and the 2008 Election: http://www.city-data.com/forum/2008-presidential-election/360287-purple-america-2008-election.html
3. Source: Election map: Michael Gastner, Cosma Shalizi, and Mark Newman, University of Michigan, http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/election/