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. obamaphone

    Obama is the SHIZZLE! He gave me my free obamaphone and now I can call all my homies! With all these gov't handouts me and my 12 kids get, I dont eva have to work! I would vote for Obama too, but I'm a convicted felon, so it's up to you America to keep all my handouts rolling in! I'm off to watch Judge Joe Brown on my bigscreen. HOLLA AT CHA BOI

    November 1, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    When Obama loses, he will blame Bush!

    November 1, 2012 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  3. David SFA

    From 2007 to 2008, Obama funded ACORN who went into hiding after their Socialist Welfare Agenda using the Poor as Leverage surfaced. ACORN was found guilty of voter fraud in many U.S States, pushed Sub-Prime Mortgages and Wealth Redistribution.

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

    I love how CNN cherry picks what polls to 'headline'. Rasmussen and Gallup are the two most reliable and both have shown consistent and some cases large Romney leads, but no 'peep' out of CNN. Instead, it's "binders of women", "murdock" or "Christie loves Obama" headlines. Blatant bias.

    November 1, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. PunchInTheFace

    Poll shows Obama up by 2 points.

    Republican response: "Polls are heavily favored towards Democrats! In reality, Mitt Romney has a 935 million point lead on Obama! 100% of Americans plus all ghosts ever will vote Romney!!! GO MITT!!!!!"

    November 1, 2012 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. Kevin

    I see CNN is STILL oversampling Democrats by 5%-8%. Credible pollsters are not using 2008 Democrat turnout numbers in their polling. Using a more accurate formula puts Obama down by 3% in CO. However, put the slanted media polls aside for a minute....
    I have seen a lot of Presidential elections in my life and we go through this EVERY time. Polls are polls until we get to the last 10 days before the election. Whether the Democrat is polled as ahead or behind, the actual numbers on election day are ALWAYS less than projected by polls done with the media and/or colleges. No matter who wins, and no matter which party is polled as ahead..... the democrat candidate ALWAYS performs less than the media conducted polls.
    I will bet that this year will be not different. What ever the polls done in the last 10 say... subtract 2-3 points off the Dem and you'll be pretty close to the outcome.

    November 1, 2012 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  7. PunchInTheFace

    @Doug White: Be patient. Come Tuesday, we'll all know who was right and who was wrong. Polls shouldn't affect how you vote anyway....

    November 1, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. Sarah

    American Crossroads and Fox News reports that the Democratic party was behind hurricane Sandy. They claim the Dems used stimulus money to hire Chinese juveniles to run in swim in circles in the Atlantic ocean until the circular cloud formation began. Well, give me a break . . . is this any less believable than the other lies they have been spreading? Pants on Fire!

    November 1, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. BigJ

    hahaha....I live in Ohio, the key to the election. The President dominated the news and looked like a leader during the Sandy disaster. Chris Cristie was blowing him for days on National TV. Romney is finished in Ohio and finished in America. Keep dreaming fascists.

    November 1, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. David SFA

    Obama is counting on his Hoax and Change slogan. "In troubled times, the fearful and naive are always drawn to charismatic radicals."
    Remember Hitler (National Socialism), Karl Marx (Marxist Socialism) and Barry Obama (Progressive Socialism).

    November 1, 2012 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. rob-in-austin

    while I agree with most of your sentiment, wall street is still corrupt and obama has only propagated war. in these two very big ways he is no different than romney.

    my biggest hope for this election cycle is that amendment 64 in CO and other similar propositions in OR and WA are passed and sensible drug laws can start being considered.

    November 1, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. pcalif

    You have a radical right wing nut as Secy of State who has but one goal and that is to do everything possible to see that Romney wins.

    November 1, 2012 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. David SFA

    "If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it." - Dr. Joseph Goebbels

    November 1, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. Tired of O

    Never let a good crisis go to waste.... Right Obama?
    You screwed Benghazi n didn't want anyone to know and now taking advantage to look "Presidential"."
    We are NOT stupid

    November 1, 2012 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. Poleski

    CNN Poll:
    You don't need to go any farther. CNN poles have a 6-13% Democrat pack. Reagan couldn’t win with a 6-13% Democrat pack.
    Democrats have to lie. If they tell the truth they can't get elected.

    November 1, 2012 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  16. KEKC

    No, he is not. Check Rasmussen Reports – today polls show Colorado as 50% for Romney, 47% for Obama. And unlike CNN, Rasmussen Reports has very respectable reputation for forecasts being the closest to the actual outcome of elections.

    November 1, 2012 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  17. SugarKube

    Only in CNN land of lies deceit and scandal.

    November 1, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  18. are122

    I am sick of polls. I'll be glad when the election is over and Romney wins.

    November 1, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  19. judith

    Actually Mitt Romney would bring us Corporate Rule and fascism. Who needs it? I'm sticking with the President and predict he'll win with around 300 electoral votes. Mitt and Ann can retreat to shed tears in one of their many mega-mansions. I can't bear the thought of those two plutocrats in the White House–good riddance!

    November 1, 2012 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  20. David SFA

    The US government so far has lent, guaranteed or committed to $12.9 trillion so far. Add to this asset purchases of $2.3 trillion, guarantees of the debts of Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie of $7.3 trillion and other guarantees of $6.6 trillion for the US banking system and the total becomes $29.1 trillion. With this level of US Government exposure already, it is easy to see how we get to the debt figures of $36-45 trillion.
    America deserves better Presidential leadership.

    November 1, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  21. Mitt Robme_DRAFT_DODGING, TAX_EVADING_POS

    The polls are breaking for President Obama all over the place....this must be killing Mitt Robme that he's going to be a FAILURE just like his dad!!!

    The sad thing is that he refused to follow his own father's advise to release 12yrs of TAX RETURNS, but wanted to count HOAX and FRAUD to win an election....thank God his LIES (FLIP FLOPS) are finally catching up with him and will bite him @ his bu$$$ on Nov 6th!!!!!

    FORWARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!OBAMA 2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 1, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  22. tomandlyn

    Obama /Biden four more years.

    November 1, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  23. Gottheball

    If you're out of work or on food stamps, and you want to remain out of work and on food stamps, your choice is clear. Vote for Barack Obama. He guarantees unemployment while you scrap for meals, flies around in his helicopter and takes lavish vacations while running up the deficit and thinks nothing of it!

    November 1, 2012 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  24. Aces Full, Mike

    We have a choice between Obama the Marxist and Romney the Capitalist.

    November 1, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  25. James

    I am looking forward to the spin doctors' take on why their candidate lost the election. There is great theatre to be had late on Tuesday night, worth missing the other awful reality shows that night.

    November 1, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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