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. matt

    What this election is going to come down to is voter turnout according to party affiliation.

    This is NOT 2008, CNN... you are in the tank for Obama and you will be proven wrong on Tuesday.

    November 1, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. David SFA

    Obama’s friend Saul Alinksky is a well-known Marxist Socialist who taught use of Class Warfare to overthrow Capitalism. Saul wrote Rules for Radicals. His favorite policy is to use Trojan Horse tactics, Deception: hide your motives, makes people "feel so defeated" and become a "master manipulator"
    Obama was quoted as the "Best Education I've ever had."

    November 1, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  3. Both_R_Losers

    Unfortunately, it doesn't matter which one of these losers win.

    corporate sponsers + republicans = democrats + corporate sponsers

    Hopefully, someday an AMERICAN, not a repuclican or democrat will be elected to office.

    November 1, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  4. Syd

    Oh god, enough with the "polls are skewed" stuff. The complaining about the polls is getting annoying. Realclearpolitics.com takes an average of all the polls and has Obama up by an average of 1. It will be a close race and a close election, but stop complaining about the polls just cause it shows your guy is down. Obama/Biden 2012

    November 1, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  5. Patriots for America

    When is CNN (Wolf Blitzer, Major Garrett, Candy Crowley, etc.) going to start covering BENGHAZIGATE?

    Everyone knows if there had been WH lies, cover-up and MURDER with a GOP in office, CNN would have covered it 24/7 for MONTHS.

    November 1, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  6. write in

    i'm going to write in my own candidate. not the parties. to break up the corruption.

    November 1, 2012 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  7. David SFA

    While Bengazi was still burning, Obama was out on the campaign trail telling anyone who would listen "The attack was caused by some movie trailer, depicting Mohammed badly". Even now he has not offered an apology for turning down the Ambassador's urgent request for more security forces ahead of the 9/11 anniversary.

    Just put yourself in Chris Stevenson's shoes for a moment and then think about who you are going to vote for on Nov. 6

    November 1, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  8. Kathy Mills

    Come on Colorado, Florida, Ohio, NY, NJ, NC vote OBAMA 2012. You can do it! Romney is bad for America!

    November 1, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  9. The Real Tom Paine

    -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.
    *******************
    Unbiased polling from Rasmussen? Please. Quit looking for affirmation and try to find information. Did they call cell phones, or just land lines again?

    November 1, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  10. annieL

    Hey Coloradans! I invested thousands in your state sending my son to college there. Now pay me back with a victory for President Obama!

    November 1, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. Patrick in Wisconsin

    Ah, Republicans in denial. Such a sweet sight indeed.

    November 1, 2012 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. Bravo33

    Can't wait to see the blood drain from the faces of the Nobama faithful when they lose and then realize they've been duped by the oversampling of Dems from their own pollsters. Precious, just like '10.

    November 1, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  13. Daniel

    I live in Colorado. I can tell you right now there is no way that Obama is winning CO in 2012. I live in the most democratic leaning county in the state, and know many many people who voted for Obama in 2008 and are now voting for Romney in 2012. Even here the neighborhoods are filled with Romney signs.

    November 1, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    "It truly doesn't matter even if Obama wins. No one (not even plastic Pelosi) thinks the left has a chance in hell of taking back the House; so Obama will get nothing through the House for at least two years."

    Translation; "The GOP/Teatrolls plan to give the Dems control of the WH, Senate and House in 2014 because they're too stupid to realize that 2 more years of blatant obstruction won't be tolerated."

    November 1, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  15. matt

    What is the breakdown on this poll by party affiliation? Republicans are much more enthusiastic about this election than are Democrats.

    Add to that the FACT that Independents are breaking hard towards Romney.. i don't think this is even going to be that close.

    November 1, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  16. California Gary

    You're coming around the final turn Mr. President.......time to "kick" it in and sprint for the finish line. Your opponent has stumbled so many times, he is in no shape for a strong finish, and is in fact likely to fall flat on his face short of the finish line.

    November 1, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  17. Rick McDaniel

    This will be a tight race in many places. That is surprising, given the failures of Obama, but then there has never been any sensibility, in the human animal.

    November 1, 2012 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  18. BigJ

    party's over for Brigham Young.

    November 1, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  19. Elena

    Colorado favors President Obama. The race is close but the President will win the Rocky Mountain State; especially women who keep coming strong for the President.

    November 1, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  20. tee

    With the polling companies still using the same 2008 demographic ( Dems + 8 in all the polls nation wide it looks like a close race. But in reality Romney is beating Obama by up to 7 points in some polls but most have Romney up by 3-4 points nation wide. Plus no one has heard a word from the Christian Evangelicals that Don't answer polling questions and they are 95% for Romney. Plus with the Catholic Bishop having all their Priests telling their folks to vote against Obama because of Obamacare. Romney will win by a large margin.

    November 1, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  21. USAF Vet

    Thank the lord this will all be over come Wednesday morning!

    November 1, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  22. jones

    Moderator you are a low life obama loving POS!

    November 1, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. mike58

    Obama admits GOV is to BIG says he's going to "cut the red tape" so the people in NY, NJ can get the help they need

    In the same breath he says he want to create another Cabinet Position and layer of BIG GOV to help business because he has no clue what he's doing.

    The man is a joke

    November 1, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. Tom

    Hmmm I bet this poll is with a D+7!!!! The media will do anything to make Obama look good!

    November 1, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "i'm going to write in my own candidate. not the parties. to break up the corruption."

    The GOP thanks you for your support.

    November 1, 2012 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
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