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. Who's got the passion?

    To Four and the Door – one thing that has struck me over the last few weeks (during early voting in many states) is that it is supposedly the Republicans who are passionate this year, as you stated. But exit polls all have Obama way ahead among early voters, while the Mitt voters are all saying that they'll wait until Election day to vote. Doesn't sound all that passionate to me.

    November 1, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  2. JoJoMaMa

    It is inconceivable that more than half of this country is so dimwitted as to vote our empty suit Socialist-in-Chief to 4 more years. If that is the result, this country is doomed. Its already well on the way and he'll finish the job.

    November 1, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  3. Seven gartner

    Why is it a tight race, are you people retarded? Do you really want a Joseph Smith believein', failed gov as your president?

    Please!

    November 1, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  4. Cadushi

    I Cannot say this enough, THE rest of THE world thinks that finaly the USA has a true leader in Barack Obama, we aplaud him for the way hè comunicates, And leads instead of THE bullying that THE last republican presidents did. He made us believe in THE USA again, And we in europe have à lot of respect for him, we Cannot imagine that this race is so close, because for us in europe it s so clear that there is only one candidate for THE president of America And it is definitly not mr Romney

    November 1, 2012 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  5. pjoe

    GOOD NEWS! None of this will matter when the earth blows up on December 21, 2012.

    You're welcome!

    November 1, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  6. Seven gartner

    But see TOWNC he won't win, so i suggest getting your kleenex together now!@

    November 1, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  7. rla

    Why isn't CNN covering the Bengazi attack and cover up ??? Everyone look this up on the web as the mainstream press is surpressing the news!

    November 1, 2012 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  8. Obummer

    Every poll in America shows Romney even or ahead....How is it that all the CNN polls have Obama leading in every state. If CNN polls are to be believed they need to report the truth.

    November 1, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  9. michael

    robme is toast

    November 1, 2012 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  10. michael

    oh pardon me cnn romney is toast

    November 1, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  11. TonyLkh

    President Obama is the one to lead country we all love!

    November 1, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  12. David SFA

    Romney doesn't need to talk about America becoming like Europe. He needs to warn us
    about America becoming like California!

    November 1, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    I'm afraid you right wing racist trolls would have to continue all your racist rants and whining for another four years because President Obama is going to be re-elected in a LANDSLIDE! Just wait till all the racial and ethnic groups you dogs disrespected, women, seniors and the 47%ers and middle class and blue color workers cast their votes. It would be lights out for the draft dodging tax evader.

    Obama/Biden 2012 by a Landslide!

    November 1, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  14. jonat

    Let's all remember the CNN "it's too close to call" polls after Obama loses by at least 5 points. Credibility in journalism is not a CNN strong point

    November 1, 2012 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  15. Tom Arnold

    CNN Liberal's blow Obama

    November 1, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  16. Flipper

    Well if Obama does get re-elected (if left-wing CNN polls are to be trusted), imagine the horrible mess that he'll "inherit."

    November 1, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  17. jonaty

    Let's all remember the CNN "it's too close to call" polls after Obama loses by at least 5 points. Credibility in journalism is not a CNN strong point

    November 1, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  18. Seven gartner

    I can't wait til we have the majority in the Senate , AND, Obama wins again. Then some real stuff will happen, and all you Walmart hicks will be silenced!

    November 1, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  19. Terry

    Another CNN poll, most likely conducted within the confines of CNN headquarters.....

    November 1, 2012 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  20. FactCheck

    Why isn't CNN covering the Bengazi attack and cover up ???
    ----

    Okay everyone, that's ONE... take a drink.

    November 1, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  21. denverbuck

    I'm in Colorado....Romney has it....havent seen any Obama signs unlike 4 years ago where was one everyother yard, havent had anyone at my door, only Obama ads in the last 2 weeks

    November 1, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  22. iampraying

    Copied from a writer answering the question of why Republicans Hate Obama so Much?
    I am sorry, the author’s id did not transfer with this information. I am impressed with this list.
    Could it be that they hate him because he has been able to do what they failed to do:
    1. Affordable Care Act
    2. $789B economic stimulus package
    3. U.S. auto industry bail out (GM and Chrysler)
    4. Cash for clunkers
    5. Incentives for buyers of hybrid automobiles
    6. Housing rescue plan and incentives for first time home buyers
    7. Credits for purchasers of energy efficient appliances
    8. Equal pay for women
    9. $716B MEDICARE savings over next 10 years to keep program solvent
    10. Lower drug costs for seniors and elimination of donut hole
    11. Ended policy forbidding Medicare from negotiating for cheaper drugs.
    12. Limited lobbyist’s access to the White House
    13. Ended the war in Iraq
    14. Closed secret detention facilities in Eastern Europe and ended renditions
    15. Removed restrictions on embryonic stem-cell and biomedical research
    16. Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants) after years of neglect
    17. Funded high-speed, broadband Internet access to K-12 schools
    18. Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children
    19. Expanded Pell grant program and implemented easier loan repayment policy
    20. Phased out the expensive F-22 war plane and other outdated weapons systems
    21. The Guantanamo prison camp is being phased out
    22. Torture banned. U.S. now in compliance with the Geneva Convention
    23. Better body armor provided to our troops
    24. Restarted the nuclear nonproliferation and nuclear inspection talks
    25. Increased pay and benefits for military personnel
    26. Improved housing for military personnel and veterans benefits
    27. Proposed a Veterans Jobs Act (filibustered by the GOP 3 weeks ago)
    28. Ended no-bid defense contract policy
    29. Closed offshore tax havens (sorry Mitt)
    30. Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to allow US government access to records of tax evaders and criminals
    31. Ended tax benefits to corporations that outsource American jobs
    32. Championed credit card consumer protection legislation
    33. Expanded loans and tax credits to small businesses
    34. Appointed the first Latina to the Supreme Court
    35. Limited salaries of senior White House aides to $100,000
    36. Renewed loan guarantees for Israel
    Ordered the raid that killed Osama bin Laden and authorized drone strikes against Al Qaeda targets in Pakistan, Yemen and other countries

    November 1, 2012 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  23. Patrick U.

    Let all Obama hater get their one way ticket to hell. They sure need it.

    November 1, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  24. David SFA

    Latest CNN poll just in: Obama is in the lead with 40%, Romney 60%.

    November 1, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  25. FactCheck

    Bush went to Congress multiple times to warn them of the housing bubble to little avail. Note that both sides of Congress were Democratic controlled.
    -----

    Except for, you know, the first 6 years of his Presidency where he (and the GOP Congress) were busy spending like a sailor in a brothel.

    November 1, 2012 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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