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. JP

    Rasmussen has Romney +3. So?

    November 1, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  2. ignatius ibsage

    barry obama is chance the gardener!

    November 1, 2012 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. William

    Mittmentum is a fantasy. All battleground polling looks roughly the same with the exception of Rasmussen, which is a ridiculous right leaning pollster and Gallup which is an absolute joke. You want to go with someone who knows how to pick winners?

    Nate Silver @ Obama-300EV & 79% chance of victory

    Romney is losing every battleground but Florida and NC, that's why he's trying to create this illusion of momentum. He can't win without Ohio and the best part is, Obama doesn't even need to win Florida or Ohio to beat Romney. Romney has no path to 270 unless absolute disaster strikes. The popular vote might be close but that's not what elects presidents.

    November 1, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  4. Scott

    And we are suppose to believe a poll from the same "news" (notice the quotes) outfit that publishes the article by John Blake that states that if you are white and not voting for obama, then you are a racist?


    November 1, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. romnesia

    In response to JoJoMaMa: Suprisingly that is exactly what the other half of this country is saying about, "The Flip Flop Man" who will say anything to anyone at anytime. He might as well sell Shamwow's on late night cable.

    In related new Mittnes nose is about to make Pinnocio's look Karl Malden's by election day, doubt he will be able to fit through the door of his campaign headquarters

    November 1, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. David SFA

    To my fellow Democrats, do you really trust a party that tries to scare the voters with the boogeyman of electing a Republican to the Presidency and Senate?

    November 1, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. Brasco18

    I agree with some that CNN tends to lean to the left. But people saying that CNN's polls are incorrect is silly. Go check Rasmussen or Gallup. They say the same thing: that the election is divided. Gallup says Obama has an edge in Colorado and Rasmussen says Romney has an edge there. It's a close one.

    I think this is an election of two evils, and you have to pick the lesser of them. I see Obama as the lesser of two evils here. He's got my vote.

    November 1, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. AProudLiberal

    JoJoMaMa – even more inconceivable is that less than half (thank god!) of this country is so dimwitted to vote for a lying, draft dodging, tax evading, flip-flopping, disdainful of 47% of this country, bully, cheat and fraud like the Flip Flopper in Chief. Thankfully, there is zero chance of this clown being elected – he can go back to the business of campaigning for himself for another 4 years starting Nov 7th. Obama/Biden 2012

    November 1, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. Iamnotfooled

    President Obama was always willing to work with the Republicans , it is they who would not work for him since day one. He is bi-partisan as evidenced with Chris Christie who I applaud for telling the truth and working with the President for the good of his country and state.We need more like him instead of Romney and Ryan who are caught with lie after lies.

    November 1, 2012 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. FactCheck

    Rasmussen Reports has very respectable reputation for forecasts being the closest to the actual outcome of elections.
    You mean like in 2010, when they got 22 of the 105 House and Senate races completely wrong... including missing one final election by a margin of FORTY POINTS!!! My dog could pull names out of a hat with as much accuracy as Rasmussen.

    November 1, 2012 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. Mitz Rommel

    @BobG - No one, not a single person, read all that... learn to edit yourself bro.

    The Prez is kickin' A.. We pretty much have this in the bag... and thank the voting gods that recent events gave prez a chance to spotlight what a real president is like.. as I have said before, an empty person like Mitz is going to crawl under the bed and cry for his mommy every time a real crisis rears its ugly head. Real men, who understand people (really understand them) and knows what actual hard work is like, are truly the ones that should be running show.

    November 1, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  12. FactCheck

    George Washington was in his day what today would be a billionaire.

    Washington served his country during war... Mitt not so much.

    November 1, 2012 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. Bob

    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

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

    I voted for Obama in 2008, but will not make that mistake in 2012. I will vote for a new President who will serve all Americans, not just those who donate to his reelection. At the poll, remember to ask whether you really believe if Obama is trying to improve the US economy, reduce the debt, and is proud of American's support for liberty and freedom.

    OMG: Obama Must Go!!!!!!

    November 1, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  15. warry

    Mitt Romney is by far Theo worst choiche for the world as a whole

    November 1, 2012 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  16. Name

    Ive several polls.and the presidemt is ahead go mr.president

    November 1, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  17. Guest

    The only thing that count is election day. I voted early so I can get folks to the polls on Nov 6th. My hope is the person I voted for will win. I am going to my best to make sure he wins. I've already got extra votes to the polls in Florida and will be doing the same for Virginia. Go Blue!

    November 1, 2012 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  18. Ancient Texan

    William- Just so you'll know..Rasmussen had the 2008 presidental election right on the money with Obama winning just as he did, same percentage. That is not a right leaning poll.

    November 1, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  19. Larry in Houston

    amazing to me – I was watching 60 minutes last week – they are selling marijuana for medical use – + taxing it – in Colorado – and you'd think they would be more of a liberal state –

    November 1, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  20. TURK

    I was not sure as of today If I was going to vote for Mr.President or Mr.Romney but listening Radio talk shows such as Neil Boartz or Shawn I am almost sure that I will go with Obama

    November 1, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  21. JoJoMaMa

    You'd have to be retarded not to see clear liberal bias in CNN. Negative Romney stories dominate the "Election Center" section and the two most reliable polls, Rasmussen and Gallup, are consistently ignored. If Romney wins, he will have beat Republicans who deemed him not conservative enough, Democrats who demonize him as Satan, and the liberal press like CNN who carry Obama's water and who masquerade as objective news.

    November 1, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. Jonathan


    This dimwit is smarter than you and your children could ever be–even if you cheated. The real dimwits (okay, let's say naive ) are the ones who vote for Mittens. Unless of course you're Morman in which case its your duty.

    November 1, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  23. gk196

    Funny how Romney leads in early voting according to Colorado Sec. of State

    November 1, 2012 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. 4pease

    Flip Flopney: Obama is selling the Rocky Mountains to China – watch out!

    November 1, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  25. Aces Full, Mike

    Do you lefties know who Frank Marshall Davis is? How about Bill Ayres and Bernadine Dorn? Francis Fox Piven maybe? Or Van Jones? You clowns buy the made up version of Obama and don't care or want to know who this guy really is – pathetic.

    November 1, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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