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. el rob o

    CNN polls have been proven to be way off for a long time! Romney is ahead in CO. Notice CNN only shows polls when obama is leading?
    Meanwhile, CNN is MUMM on Benghazi!

    CNN is BIASED!

    November 1, 2012 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. Embarrased by Cheap Romney Tactics

    In the last few days the Romney campaign has dramatically increased its use of deceptive advertising. I can tolerate the flip-flopping and the name calling. But I'm offended by someone lying to me and hoping I'm too dumb to understand.

    Vote President Obama on November 6th.

    November 1, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  3. ron demarco

    I see the Romney trolls are hard at work!!!

    November 1, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  4. BobG(Milwaukee)

    @Penny Wright. Here is how Bush got a surplus. Balancing the federal budget
    A key aspect of the Contract with America was the promise of a balanced federal budget. After the end of the government shutdown, Gingrich and other Republican leaders acknowledged that Congress would not be able to draft a balanced budget in 1996. Instead, they opted to approve some small reductions that were already approved by the White House and to wait until the next election season.[49]
    By May 1997, Republican congressional leaders reached a compromise with Democrats and President Clinton on the federal budget. The agreement called for a federal spending plan designed to reduce the federal deficit and achieve a balanced budget by 2002. The plan included a total of $152 billion in Republican sponsored tax cuts over five years. Other major parts of the spending plan called for $115 billion to be saved through a restructuring of Medicare, $24 billion set aside to extend health insurance to children of the working poor, tax credits for college tuition, and a $2 billion welfare-to-work jobs initiative.
    President Clinton signed the budget legislation in August 1997. At the signing, Gingrich gave credit to ordinary Americans stating, "It was their political will that brought the two parties together."
    In early 1998, with the economy performing better than expected, increased tax revenues helped reduce the federal budget deficit to below $25 billion. Gingrich then called upon Clinton to submit a balanced budget for 1999—three years ahead of schedule—which Clinton did, making it the first time the federal budget had been balanced since 1969.[53]
    [edit]Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997
    In 1997 President Clinton signed into effect the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997, which included the largest capital gains tax cut in U.S. history. Under the act, the profits on the sale of a personal residence ($500,000 for married couples, $250,000 for singles) were exempted if lived in for at least 2 years over the last 5. (This had previously been limited to a $125,000 once-in-a-lifetime exemption for those over 55. There were also reductions in a number of other taxes on investment gains.
    Additionally, the act raised the value of inherited estates and gifts that could be sheltered from taxation.[56] Gingrich has been credited with creating the agenda for the reduction in capital gains tax, especially in the "Contract with America", which set out to balance the budget and implement decreases in estate and capital gains tax. Some Republicans felt that the compromise reached with Clinton on the budget and tax act was inadequate,[57] however Gingrich has stated that the tax cuts were a significant accomplishment for the Republican Congress in the face of opposition from the Clinton administration.[58] Gingrich along with Bob Dole had earlier set-up the Kemp Commission, headed by former US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Jack Kemp, a tax reform commission that made several recommendations including that dividends, interest, and capital gains should be untaxed.

    Slick Willy signed into law a bill allowing banks to package bad debts into bonds. Banks later sold these as AAA rated bonds. the bad debts came from when Congress forced the banks to make housing loans to people who could not afford them. The persons responsible for that are: Chris Dodd (Democrat), Barney Franks (Democrat) and Charles Rangel (Democrat). They were on the finance committees that allow this happen. 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.

    November 1, 2012 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  5. The Real Tom Paine


    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.
    Conservatives can only cite Rasmussen because it tells them what they want to hear. An aggregate of polls from across the country shows that Romney is, in fact, losing. Quite looking to have your fantasies upheld and deal with the truth.

    November 1, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. ColoradoHome

    Actually, I live in Colorado (have most of my life). This article paints a very accurate portrait of what is going on here.

    November 1, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  7. Swagger

    Obama does hav dat swagger.

    November 1, 2012 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  8. BigJ

    will Warren Jeffs have his sister wives vote for Romney?

    November 1, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. markiejoe

    To all Colorado Evanglicals: Vote Mormon!

    November 1, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. Obama

    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 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. Reggiedw

    I find it so amusing that CNN always seem to be posting poll results with Obama leading but when I see the polls on other media networks I am seeing Romney leading. Is CNN trying to make us believe that Obama is winning this election? No way is he going back for a 2nd term. Romney/Ryan in 2012!!!!!!!

    November 1, 2012 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. karen

    Interesting article and headline because yesterday, The Denver Post, which endorses Obama, said that their poll indicated Romeny is ahead in Colorado. The proof will come on election day. Try not to show your bias for Obama

    November 1, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. barbara

    This hurricane has been a deciding factor for me and I was not affected by it one iota. It made me realize that if something like this happens in the future I want Obama at the helm!!! He may be like all the other politicians but I trust that he'll be there for me and my family steering this country in the right direction.

    November 1, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. Obama Bin Laden

    is a Muslim, from Kenya and can't even prove his papers to the world for a $5 million check to a charity of his choice. That's pathedic! ROMNEY 2012!!!!

    November 1, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  15. TownC

    Rasmussen has Mitt up 3 in Colorado!

    November 1, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  16. Vernon

    There is certainly a whiff of foreboding and desperation in the air. The lies are catching up to Romney. The waffling and flip-flopping are catching up to Romney. All the radio spots in the world won't change that. All the special PAC's won't be able to overcome that. You can tell that they have a bad feeling about Romney.

    November 1, 2012 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. BLKMANinAmerica

    I'm a "milehigher" and trust Colorado will come thru for my President, it will be a tight win but a WIN nonetheless for President Obama.

    November 1, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. romnesia

    The Republican party would never lose if the had not turned into a bunch of wacko nutjobs and church loonies so far to the right that the only way their candidate can win is to pander to them and promise them the world (Hi I am Mitt stay for 5 minutes, cause if you don't like what I say it will change as the 2nd shows is always different from the 1st.

    If MItt somehow wins, not gonna happen though, free Magic Underware for everyone!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    November 1, 2012 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  19. CO

    Obama has done an amazing job cleaning up the mess from his GOP predecessor. He deserves four more years!

    November 1, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  20. TownC

    When Mitt wins the Democrats will cry foul because of voter suppression or some other false claim. Can't wait until Tuesday!

    November 1, 2012 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. TownC

    If the president is doing so well why is he campaigning in Iowa and Wisconsin and why is he now running ads in Minnesota and Pennsylvania?

    November 1, 2012 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  22. DW

    Romney's lies are catching up with him.

    November 1, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  23. Four and The Door

    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!
    Did you know that the best American President there ever was and maybe always will be was also about 20 times wealthier than Mitt Romney? That's right. George Washington was in his day what today would be a billionaire. Can you bear that thought?

    November 1, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  24. ladyfon

    Looks like Gary Johnson is taking more Obama voters away than Romney voters. Head to head Obama 50/ Romney 48, with Johnson in the race Obama 48, Romney 47, Johnson 4.

    November 1, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. David SFA

    A win by Obama will allow him to press ahead with his Socialist revolution, deepening government intervention in the economy and leaving our partners abroad worried about his "leading from behind" strategy instead of working with all to shape a better future.

    November 1, 2012 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
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