Craig Steiner, u.s.
Common Sense American Conservatism
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I wrote last week about the potential breakdown in a 3-way race. I stated that, in such a race, it was unlikely that Hickenlooper would win less than 45%.
On Sunday the Denver Post published the first poll asking about the potential 3-way race.
In that matchup based on interviews with 1,015 likely voters, Tancredo -- representing the tiny American Constitution Party -- would match Republican Dan Maes at 24 percent support, while Hickenlooper would walk away with 46 percent of the vote. Tancredo would do the same to Republican Scott McInnis, the poll said.
As I predicted last week, Hickenlooper doesn't drop below 45%.
Based on another scenario without Tancredo, the poll indicates that Hickenlooper gets 50% against Maes and 48% against McInnis. So, at best, Tancredo pulls 4% of the electorate from Hickenlooper. The rest comes from splitting the conservative vote.
The fact that both Maes and McInnis get 24% in a 3-way race suggests that about 24% of the current electorate consists of solid Republican voters that are unlikely to switch.
Indeed, from the same Denver Post article:
Masket said he doubts that Tancredo, a strident voice against illegal immigration, is pulling many votes from Democrats... American voters tend to get excited early about third-party newcomers but go back to their traditional parties by Election Day, Masket said. He noted the example of Ross Perot, who was polling ahead of President George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton in 1992, only to come in a distant third with 19 percent of the actual vote.
If the above is true, Tancredo has most likely peaked with about 24%. I wouldn't be surprised to see Tancredo eventually give back a lot of moderates/independents that are currently willing to consider Tancredo over Hickenlooper but may ultimately find him too controversial for their taste. And, as the quote above suggests, there are going to be some conservatives that are initially excited about Tancredo only to become more pragmatic and return to their Republican home, especially after the Republican candidate is established and starts campaigning against Hickenlooper.
If this election were to defy history and Tancredo were to actually build momentum, to win in a 3-way race he'd still have to take at least another 23% of the electorate away from the Republican candidate--leaving the Republican with just 1% in the general election. The other extreme alternative is that the Republican keeps the core 24% which would require Tancredo to take more than half of Hickenlooper's support. And an intermediate scenario where Tancredo takes half of the remaining Republican support still means he'd have to take a quarter of Hickenlooper's current support.
None of these scenarios seem even remotely likely. And any lesser outcome would result in the Democrat being elected.
Tancredo has asked GOP Chairman Wadhams to consider the possibility of not running a Republican candidate at all. That is, of course, impossible for Wadhams to consider. The Republican Party will be running a candidate this November, and the polls suggest that that candidate will not receive less than about 24% in a 3-way race.
Since there's no possibility of there being no GOP candidate in November--and since Tancredo knows that--the only hope conservatives have is for Tancredo to withdraw. Neither Tancredo nor the Republican can win in a 3-way race. But if Tancredo withdraws and encourages his supporters to get behind the Republican candidate, Hickenlooper will lose.
So unless Tancredo is working for Hickenlooper (which I don't believe for a second), the only explanation that makes sense is that Tancredo will withdraw from the race.
When? My guess would be no later than September 3rd.
According to Colorado Election Law [Colorado CRS 1-5-203(1) ], September 3rd is the date by which the Colorado Secretary of State must certify the ballot to the county clerk and recorder of each county so they may print their ballots.
Tancredo could withdraw after September 3rd, but his name could still be on the ballot since counties are not required to reprint ballots that have already been printed. And as we saw with the Scozzafava situation in New York, a candidate is going to receive some number of votes even if that candidate has withdrawn from the race if his name is on the ballot. With such little margin for error, simply having Tancredo's name on the ballot would probably be enough to elect a Democrat--even if Tancredo has withdrawn.
If we assume that Tancredo wants Colorado to have a conservative governor, the only reasonable conclusion is that Tancredo will withdraw no later than September 3rd.
Can we count on Tancredo being reasonable? We'll see.
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