November 1st, 2012
04:00 PM ET
2 years 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. Penny Wright

    George W. Bush inherited a strong economy, a budget surplus, and a nation at peace.

    Eight years later, he left Obama with a shattered economy, a trillion dollar deficit, and two useless wars.

    Obama saved the country from another Great Depression, rebuilt GM, reformed healthcare, reformed Wall Street, doubled the stock market, created 12 straight quarters of GDP growth, created 32 straight months of private sector job growth, got Bin Laden, got Gaddafi, and got us out of Iraq.

    And now with the automatic spending cuts and the expiration of the Bush tax cuts in 2012, Obama has solved the deficit problem as well.

    Obama has done a very good job.

    November 1, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. becky

    How will the women vote? I would hope they would allow women to choose their own reproductive rights. The whole issue seems to be out of plae in the federal government. Clearly this issue is about a woman and her body, period.

    Fitzsimmons Army Hospital was open when we lived there. So many young servicemen returned from their tour of duty in VietNam with injuries which required hospitalization. We were a military family so we did go to Fitzsimmons for our health care. Each time I was reminded that war takes a huge toll on our service men and women and their families. It was not easy to see these young men and women who had a lost a limb or were paraplegics or quadraplegics.

    At our next base we met the medivac planes each week which were returning from VietNam. We brought them cookies and talked to them while they were waiting to travel to their own destinations. It was important for them to know that we appreciated what they had done. It was a rough time for military people who were fighting an unpopular war.

    It is really good to know that the President and First Lady and the Vice President and Dr. Biden have made such a great effort to show their appreciation to give support to the military families and to the service men and women.

    November 1, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. David SFA

    Like Obama, the Communist Party of the USA pushes Marxism-Leninism as a means to remove Private Ownership and Wealth Redistribution. Class Warfare and the Welfare State is the stated goal. Capitalism is the Enemy.

    November 1, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Just A Question

    If there is a tight race in OHIO and other battleground states showing Romney and Obama virtually tied, and (according to polls) Obama is ahead in early voting, wouldn't that clearly put Obama ahead?

    November 1, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. Critical Thinking

    @The Real Tom Paine

    Rasmussen has been the most accurate polling org in the last 3 presidential election. I'm sure you were all for it when it had Obama up in 2008, different story now. Pull your head out of the sand or the President's butt.

    It's over : BO MUST GO !

    November 1, 2012 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. California Gary

    @both R losers.........the last time that we, as a country, thought it didn't matter who won.......we got Bush. Turns out, it mattered a lot. You might want to rethink your position.

    November 1, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. inquiring mind

    Sandy wised up Americans, people can see Obama is a friend in need and a friend indeed.
    Romney is just a phony dishonest snake oil sales man trying to ditch out fake sympathy.

    Can you imagine FEMA is gutted as Romney suggested?

    He wants it goes to local government, and then privatizes it, so all the funding can go to his pocket book as his Normal business practice.

    November 1, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. Mittless is Wittless

    I can't wait to see the comments on Wednesday when Obama is re-elected. It was a noble effort on the part of Karl Rove and the hundreds of millions of dollars that were paid out by individual billionaires, but the end result is that no matter how many paid spammers you have flood comment boards, and no matter how many lies you spread, the white house is not for sale.

    November 1, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. Red will be Blue

    I agree with Critical Thinking: the polls are biased and being used to prop up Romney and make the race appear closer than it actually is so people will be drawn to media and thus to their sponsors. Obama's lead is actually considerably greater than the polls report, and he'll win by more than 100 electoral votes. Bank on it!

    November 1, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  10. Newyorker111

    Well, the Pres was in our area and things have gotten worse... he hasn't lost his ability to talk and good game and show few results. Maybe people will wake up and vote for Romney before O sinks this economy.

    November 1, 2012 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  11. Willl

    What great news for the country....the momentum is clearly with the President.

    November 1, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  12. winston

    Gotta love CNN
    Ohio: Romney 50%, Obama 48%...

    MUCH better poll

    November 1, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. David SFA

    US President Barack Obama's Middle East policy is in ruins. Like no president before him, he tried to win over the Arab world. After some initial hesitation, he came out clearly on the side of the democratic revolutions. … In this context, he must accept the fact that he has snubbed old close allies such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Egyptian military. And now parts of the freed societies are turning against the country which helped bring them into being. Anti-Americanism in the Arab world has even increased to levels greater than in the Bush era. It's a bitter outcome for Obama.

    It's a bitter outcome for the United States of America!

    November 1, 2012 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. God

    I choose Obama.

    November 1, 2012 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. JOHN

    WOW...did not know there were so many morons in colorodo....as forrest would say, stupid is as stupid does...defeat the looters and moochers...VOTE CONSERVATIVE!!

    November 1, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. Jay

    haha yeah right? This poll oversamples dems by 10 points !! Romney is ahead in CO

    November 1, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. Guest

    Im from Denver and I can tell you the support for Obama is growing. So that poll is accuate!

    November 1, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. Steve

    I, for one, will NOT be voting for Obama in any way shape or form and I live in the great state of Colorado.. And based on what I hear and see in my state, where I live, Obama will NOT be a front runner here..

    November 1, 2012 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. Robert from Ohio

    Bring it home OBAMA!
    4 MORE YEARS!!!

    November 1, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. Doug White

    I'm a lifelong Democrat and cannot figure out why CNN's polls are so different from Rasmussen Reports. Rasmussen's polls are not a test for legitimacy, but CNN's polls have consistency been on the high side for Obama. I go to CNN and not Fox or MSNBC because I want straight forward news and it seems that CNN is taking sides in this election and that is profoundly disappointing to me.

    November 1, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. Mike in Denver

    How can Saul Alinsky be a friend of President Obama if Saul Alinsky died when the President was 11 years old?!? That's not a liberal bias, that's math.

    November 1, 2012 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. Ordnry1

    Hello! Colorado: Vote for Obama/Biden 2012! Obama may not be perfect but he's a better choice. I can only tell you why I voted for Obama. I agree with him in many issues such as increasing tax bracket for the wealthy, his support for education, research & development, tax breaks for American companies that create jobs in the States, higher tax rates for companies moving jobs overseas, obama care, his foreign policies and yes, for keeping FEMA, to name a few. The reality is that we are now living in post-American era, meaning the U.S. is no more the only developing nation. China, India and the rest of the world are developing at a much faster pace plus China and India alone has 2 plus billion people with millions of millionaires. They have more engineers and scientists than we do here in the States and they are very innovative. We must encourage our children to get better educated in science, medicine and engineering or get better skills to compete in this rapidly changing world of technology. Please go out and VOTE!

    November 1, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  23. Fort Collins voter

    I live in the "swing" city of Fort Collins, and I am voting for Obama! I don't see how a single middle class American or any woman could vote otherwise.

    November 1, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  24. Jason

    Fake! D + 2 Poll! This is a state where Republicans out number Democrats. In 2008 it was R + 1, 2004 R + 9. Even unscewing this poll back to 2008 numbers would show Romney + 1.But Dem turnout won't be anything like 2008. Romney has edge in Colorado.

    November 1, 2012 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. CNN is a Obama Support Group

    It's too bad CNN can't be objective!!! No matter how hard you try CNN, you won't be able to sway the actual results of this election!!! Polling 47% Democrats and calling it accurate is negligent at best!!! I can't wait for you to disappear!!!!

    November 1, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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