November 1st, 2012
04:00 PM ET
9 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. mike t

    Gotta love the left and CNNs response when this thing is over?ahhh it was the weather that hurt obama,it was the voter fraud which we cant prove,Bush must be behind obamas loss,lol no democrat has ever won when election day is november 6th .Just tryin to help find excuses.

    November 1, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. DENNA

    @ – bob – More CNN spin to boost nobama. Every other poll shows Romney winning the early voters by 53% OBAMA ONE AND DONE
    Sneer now if you like. If Robme wins, you may suddenly realize, too late, that you are one of the 47% he despises. Either you are one of the 1% or you think too highly of yourself.

    November 1, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. Gurgyl

    GOP is CULT. Yes on obama12.

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

    No way!! A CNN poll shows Obama is in the lead! That's incredible!

    November 1, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  5. TwistRomney

    On my God, M(itt) the Moron, I mean Mor(m)on, is done. Look at the trends! Christie giving kudos to Obama, Bloomberg endorsing the President, and now Colorado going his way. You don't even see or hear much from Romney in these last few days. bahaaaaa

    November 1, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  6. Jbenn

    Obama has no chance

    November 1, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. Gottheball

    Gee...another CNN poll showing Obama ahead. Why, I bet if CNN polled Utah, they'd show Obama with a 2-point lead there as well. This is one of the most biased polliing operations out there - worse than Quinnipiac - and approaching the laugh out loud numbers of NBC, a network utterly in the tank for Obama. The CNN coverage of Obama exceeds that of Romney ten to one. And most columns written about Romney on this website are negative. Try to find a negative story about OBama. Yeah, good luck with that. As if there's any shortage of bad news about this guy. And CNN DOES NOT demand Obama come clean on Benghazi. Just gives him a free pass no matter that he let four people die. That was nothing less than a sacrifice made to Muslims by a Muslim.

    Romney is leading or tied in every single swing-state. He is well up in Florida and North Carolina no matter what CNN has to say. He is going to win New Hampshire and Virginia as well. Ohio, a state in which Obama's lead has completely evaporated (isn't that great?!), will go for Romney because so many people are out of work there. The two are tied in Wisconsin, a state Obama won easily in '08, and Romney is GAINING in Pennsylvania, a state long thought to be a lock for Obama. But just as importantly, Romney is substantially ahead in the national vote and is leading by a wide margin in early voting - the results confirming Gallup's position that Romney has a five point lead in the popular vote. President Romney.

    November 1, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  8. Malory Archer

    Mikey P1

    I'm trying to remember if CNN similarly posted as headline breaking news when Romney had previously pulled ahead of Obama in Colorado... somehow I doubt it.


    Sounds like a serious case of romnesia. It happened just yesterday and CNN was right on top of the story.

    November 1, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  9. W.B. Ingram

    was this a "weighted" poll, if so, how high is the advantage for Democrats?

    November 1, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  10. drcub1908

    What a propaganda machine this Clinton News Network..
    wow...the country is worse, unemployment, debt, food stamps..
    but lets give Barry another 4 years...
    give me a break..if people would understand how the economy works and not vote based on party or skin color, the country would be better off..
    but good news is...ROMNEY will win and get about 325 electoral votes...BYE BYE BARRY

    November 1, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  11. jones

    Obama the enemy within and all his traitor supporters will go down!

    November 1, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  12. Walter

    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.

    November 1, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. OneThat Counts

    Thank God that people like Saboth don't count. They never have and they never will. Quite simply, they are less than those of us that matter and their sad lives are reflective of that.

    November 1, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. Scott

    Mikey, I'm sure they promoted it heavily with how much CNN leans right these days. NBCNews is the only place you can get REAL "Fair and Balanced" anymore.

    November 1, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    "I'm trying to remember if CNN similarly posted as headline breaking news when Romney had previously pulled ahead of Obama in Colorado... somehow I doubt it."

    CNN certainly did, very much so and played up the fact that Mittens was in the lead in order to bolster the "horse race" narrative. Google it instead of just daydreaming from inside the Faux Noise echo chamber, you lazy tinfoil hatted Teatroll whiner.

    November 1, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. lbpaulina

    To Bob: not true. Give a look to Reuters, etc.

    November 1, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. Four and The Door

    In races polling close, the trick to winning is who gets out to actually vote. The fact is, voters are not passionate about Obama the way Romney supporters are passionate about Romney. An Obama win is about maintaining a dismal and mediocre status quo. But a Romney win is about big change and waking up this recovery. Much more exciting.

    November 1, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  18. drcub1908

    I 100% guarantee that Romney wins...get Barry out now...

    November 1, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. lovespandas

    Boy oh boy, CNN sure tries. The over sample democRATS just to try to show Oblamer winning. Won't work! He's toast.

    November 1, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. The Real Tom Paine

    Factor in Gary Johnson, and its a five-point lead for Obama. Romney is scrambling, re-running ads that have been already proven false. Must be nice to waste that kind of money is a losing effort.

    November 1, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  21. David SFA

    In 20 years, history will soon consider the Obama Administration from 2008 to 2012 as
    "The Lost Years."

    November 1, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  22. mike t

    The silent majority will be heard just like 2008.

    November 1, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  23. tarura

    Obama is leading . . . from behind . . . LOL

    OMG (Obama must go) ! ! !

    November 1, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. FreeDrop

    Pretty telling that no mention was made of the latest Rasmussen Reports poll - which also lists Colorado as a toss-up, but has Romney up by two points.

    There are a lot of polling organizations that are going to lose credibility next Tuesday, including CNN/ORC.

    November 1, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  25. Mammy

    People are trying so hard to be cool by voting colored.

    November 1, 2012 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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