November 1st, 2012
04:00 PM ET
10 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. Airbornevet

    Freedom storm.....Are you quoting a former President and founding father from the most liberal state in the nation – Massachusetts, the place where America was thought up and first fought for, and using his quotes for conservative propaganda?

    Yeah, people and their history...Is that an accurate point of view, or was that part of a Sarah Palin addition to Wikipedia?

    November 1, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  2. Jackson

    Bob says:

    Hilarious how skewed these polls are. 2008 turnout was as follows in CO: Dems: 1,056,080 (32.8%) Repubs: 1,065,154 (33%). So if you adjust this poll to match last years affiliation, it's dead even. NOT TO MENTION, enthusiasm for Obama is down in every state that has been polled on the issue. So in reality, Repubs likely have the edge, as Rasmussen, the most accurate poll in the country, shows. Do your darn research CNN and stop trying to mislead the public. Pathetic


    Polls are only as accurate as the people giving answers.

    I know of two separate friends of mine who told pollers they were voting for Romney, when they are actually voting for Obama.

    That's why polls have margins of error. You can't truly tell how honest people's answers are.

    November 1, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  3. Tom

    Anyone who says Rasmussen is the most accurate poll is definitely biased.

    November 1, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. mikey

    In a 2010 interview, Obama urged Latinos to say: "We're gonna punish our enemies and reward our friends who stand with us on issues that are important to us."

    November 1, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. spud

    Maybe mitt can hold another rally and buy food for the people that show up to give back to him for a photo op . Like he really cares about the people suffering from sandy. I guess most are the 47% so why should he care. Repos are complaining again that the polls are wrong. Only when mittens is ahead do they think the polls are right on. After the way the president handled Sandy republican and independents are supporting him. Lyin ryan and mittens should try telling the truth once maybe that would help.

    November 1, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  6. scieng1

    Interesting. Obama, who advocates eliminating 20,000 jobs in Colorado as part of his anti-gas and anti-energy plan wants Coloradoans to be cold and in the dark–and people still want to vote for him?

    November 1, 2012 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  7. SoSad

    Romney the Morman is not going to win, soooooooooooo blame the Tea Baggers! ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha, fools!

    November 1, 2012 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  8. Monica in Denver

    I'll take intelligent Socialism over fraudulent, lying crooks who claim they are about freedom, when they are attempting to make the people slaves to Corporations anyday.

    "Corporations ar People" Really in whose universe? LOL

    November 1, 2012 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  9. Blindmice

    Follower-a-ship determines leadership. The republican supporters are so angry, nasty and dim witted and this is very much a reflection of the party leadership. Outright lies; flip flopping and dishonest in behavior; mixing politics with religion and troubling comments on the subject of rape; it appears as if the GOP doesn't have anyone in that party who is committed to America; or have an ounce of decency. Proof; no one in that party so far has reject or condemn the behavior of Romney/Ryan. If this behavior is tolerated by the party and the electorate fails to massively reject this nasty and troubling behavior; all elections from this point forward is going to be vicious and nasty.

    November 1, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  10. CowgirlBeth

    As a Republican I tend to vote along party lines but haven;t in the past two cycles. Bush really really dissapointed me and Romney seems to be Bush # 2 despite what he says. Most of his advisors are the same exact ones as Bush!!!
    His photo op and 'faked' boxing of canned good during Sandy was extremely distasteful on many levels not to mention assinine and shameless!
    People in NYC have plenty of canned food! they don't need canned food.. especially from four states away!!! They need $$ and they need other kinds of help but not tomatoes, not pickles or pineapples or spam.

    November 1, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  11. Elza Psomas

    Barack Obama is a Power Men.Obama doesn't buy a Nation with falses promisses.Obama says the real situation of USA.By the way.What ( ISRAEL) Parlament US says, Obama does.

    November 1, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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