November 1st, 2012
04:00 PM ET
1 year ago

CNN Poll: Tight race in Rocky Mountain battleground

(CNN) – Hours before President Barack Obama campaigns in Boulder, Colorado, a new survey indicates a very close contest between the president and Republican nominee Mitt Romney for the Centennial State's nine electoral votes.

According to a CNN/ORC International poll, 50% of likely voters in Colorado support Obama, with 48% backing the former Massachusetts governor. The president's two-point margin is well within the survey's sampling error.

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The poll's Thursday release also came just two hours after Rep. Paul Ryan, the GOP running mate, headlined a rally in Greeley, Colorado. The top line results of the CNN survey are very similar to an American Research Group poll conducted this past weekend which had Romney at 48% and Obama at 47%, and an NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll conducted last week which suggested the race was tied up at 48%.

"If you didn't know why President Obama and Paul Ryan are here today, and Mitt Romney is coming Saturday, now you know," said CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, who was reporting Thursday from Colorado.

As in most swing states, there is a fairly big gender gap, with the CNN poll indicating Romney ahead among men by 10 points and Obama winning women by 13 points. Income is also an important indicator, with the president holding a big lead among lower-income voters, while voters with more than $50,000 in income last year are tied at 49% for Romney and 49% for Obama.

"But the key may be the split between the Denver area and the rest of Colorado, with the suburbs throughout the state likely to determine the winner," said CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

According to the survey, Obama beats Romney by nearly two to one in the two big urban Democratic strongholds of Denver and Boulder. In the Denver suburbs (Adams, Arapahoe, Jefferson and Broomfield counties), Obama's support drops but he still holds a 53%-45% margin over Romney.

"But the GOP challenger appears to do better in many Front Range suburbs around cities like Fort Collins and Colorado Springs. Combine those Front Range communities with the rural east and west and Romney has a 55%-43% lead once you get beyond the greater Denver area," said Holland.

In the battle for crucial independent voters, the poll indicates the president has a 49%-47% edge.

"The president's strength in Denver and Boulder suggests Governor Romney is going to need strong evangelical and rural turnout. Splitting the votes of self described independents probably isn't good enough for the governor. He needs to boost that number in the final days to win," added King. "And while our poll gives the president a tiny edge, it's also proof his ground operation must deliver in the cities and closest suburbs."

Could minor-party candidates act as spoilers in Colorado?

It's tough to tell, but it is intriguing to note that when three minor party candidates are included in a separate horse race question, a 50%-48% advantage for Obama becomes a 48%-47% margin, with Libertarian Gary Johnson pulling 4% and Green party candidate Jill Stein claiming one percent, and Constitution Party candidate Virgil Goode coming in with less than one-half of one percent. Statistically, there is no difference between 50%-48% and 48%-47%, but it does illustrate the potential effect of the minor-party candidates in this extremely close race.

Ninety-four percent of people questioned said they've made up their minds on their pick, with 5% saying they could still change their minds.

"As always, keep in mind that the poll does not, and cannot, predict the outcome of the election," cautions Holland. "Close elections are inherently unpredictable - and elections in which a couple of percentage points separate the two candidates are even tougher, if not impossible, to forecast."

President George W. Bush carried Colorado by five points in his 2004 re-election. Four years later then-Sen. Obama accepted his party's presidential nomination at the Democratic convention in Denver, and he won the state by nine points over Sen. John McCain in the 2008 election.

This cycle both candidates as well as their running mates and surrogates have made numerous trips to Colorado since the start of the general election in early April.

The two presidential campaigns, the party committees, and the super PACs and other independent groups backing the two candidates combined have spent over $60 million to run ads on broadcast TV in Colorado since the start of the general election in early April, according to Campaign Media Analysis Group (CMAG), which tracks ad spending for its clients. Just in the past week, $6 million has been shelled out to run spots.

The CNN poll was conducted by ORC International, October 26-31 (entirely after the third and final presidential debate), with 984 adults, including 904 registered voters and 733 likely voters, questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error for likely voters is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.


Filed under: 2012 • CNN poll
soundoff (236 Responses)
  1. Critical Thinking

    CNN, wake up and start usung unbias polling, geez....

    The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey of Likely Colorado Voters finds Romney with 50% support to Obama’s 46%. Two percent (2%) like some other candidate, and one percent (1%) remains undecided.

    November 1, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  2. Thomas

    Colorado will most likely go Romney , so many people moved there from the South back in the 90s.

    It will be close !

    November 1, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    I didn't know there were stupid people in Colorado?? 50%? Really? Haha, I guess the reality check will be in 5 days, aye?

    November 1, 2012 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  4. bull

    Bunch of garbage, and we know it.

    November 1, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. Proud American

    Mitt romney 2012. The clear choice for America.

    November 1, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    OBAMA is winning this election

    November 1, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. Dean

    People are sick of Obama. It's time for a change.

    November 1, 2012 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Mikey P1

    I'm trying to remember if CNN similarly posted as headline breaking news when Romney had previously pulled ahead of Obama in Colorado... somehow I doubt it.

    November 1, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. bob

    More CNN spin to boost nobama. Every other poll shows Romney winning the early voters by 53% OBAMA ONE AND DONE

    November 1, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    It might be a "tight race in the Rocky Mountains" but it's a desperate race across the country for Romney. Those Romney ads and the unfolding of the Medicare Fraud committed by the company owned by Bain Capitol when Romney was CEO is bad news and Romney won't answer any calls about it or deny.

    November 1, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. Saboth

    Come on people, we need to get that to 60/40 in favor of Obama. Send Republicans a message this fall that we won't stand for their obstructionist, do-nothing governing. Their party is built on lies, big government, big spending, war and hate. They offer absolutely no solutions for anyone except corporations and the 1%. They do a great job of tearing down the achievements and ideas of others, but have absolutely nothing to offer in turn. The GOP is a blight on our country that is delaying our economic recovery, our education, science and advancement.

    November 1, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. Expat American

    Bring it home Mr. President!!!

    November 1, 2012 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. Conrad Murray

    suddenly polls won't matter to GOP voters

    November 1, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. Dan

    Since the 3rd debate, polls have steadily moved toward Barack Obama.

    November 1, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  15. Scott

    Who cares about polls this close to the election that isn't 100% likely voters. This poll is BS

    November 1, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  16. jinx88

    Uh oh Mittens better hurry up and get back to Colorado. LMAO!!!

    November 1, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  17. sayer

    Colorado for Obama!

    November 1, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  18. bob

    There even is a story at the top of this story on CNN"s front page that Romney 48 to obamas 47. Come on CNN this is why your company is losing readership and ad revenues. Go back to being an unbiased news source. Start telling the truth again and get your revenues and readership back to what it was.

    November 1, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  19. JS

    All the polls are as useless as all the media – Everything is biased and everything is wrong. SCAMerica is pathetic and CNN is the leader of the pack

    November 1, 2012 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  20. BostonBlackie

    Disregard! This leftie news media is in the tank for Obama and the entire USA knows it. Why do you suppose their ratings are so low? Dishonest broadcasting might be the answer.Fact is that Romney is leading in Colorado and will carry that state. Romney will Los win the election and these nerds will be on anti depressants next Wednesday.

    November 1, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. Keep Colorado Blue

    Vote a straight Democratic ticket, Coloradoans! Republicans have become too extreme nationwide.

    November 1, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. bob

    Where is your coverage of benghazigate CNN – show us you are not in the bucket for obama. Show some real reporting skills.

    November 1, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  23. pat pat

    God or whoever you may pray to HELP US IF OBAMA IS RE-ELECTED!

    November 1, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  24. fitz

    Come on, women. You must vote for Obama. Romney is clueless about equity, reproductive health, and most 21st century ideas. He is a Mormon who is out of touch with the main stream. He might be good in business but when you surround yourself with fellow Mormons who like to keep the business 'in the family' of course you will seem successful. Colorado's natural beauty will not be safe with Romney.

    November 1, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. mike58

    everyone knew CO would go Obama this is not news
    plus it's within the margin of error so it's really a tie

    November 1, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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