DENVER–Republicans retained a 32,963-vote lead in early voting heading into Tuesday’s election, according to figures released Tuesday by the Colorado Secretary of State’s office.
At the same time, Democrats whittled down what was once a 3-point gap to less than 2 percentage points in the final days of early polling.
The final figures show Republicans with 36.1 percent of total ballots cast between Oct. 22 and Nov. 2, while Democrats held 34.3 percent. Unaffiliated voters represented 28.5 percent of the total.
That’s an improvement for Republicans from the 2008 election, when Democrats held the early-voting lead. President Obama won Colorado that year by a margin of 54 to 45 percentage points.
Nobody’s predicting a repeat of 2008 for either party, with the margin of victory expected to be tight. Numerous polls show the presidential race within one or two percentage points.
Still, Republicans appeared to hold the advantage moving in to Tuesday’s balloting. Most analysts agree that Republicans tend to show up on Election Day in greater numbers than Democrats, and polls have shown that there are more Mitt Romney voters planning to cast their ballots Tuesday than Democrats.
About 1.87 million Coloradans took advantage of mail-in and early-voting opportunities, meaning that about 69 percent of the state vote has already been cast. The Secretary of State’s office is predicting voter turnout of 2.7 million, which is the number of active voters in the state.
The total number of voters in Colorado is 3.6 million, and Democrats are counting on some of those inactive voters–the ones who didn’t cast ballots in 2010–to make their presence known at the polls. Higher voter turnout tends to favor Democrats.
Polls in Colorado are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday.