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. Brian from CO

    I've been to several news sites and read lots of comments today and I'm loving it. The tea party conservatives are back to blaming the polls and the media just like they were before the debates started.

    Blaming the polls and the media = there is a good chance your going to lose and it's starting to sink in.

    November 1, 2012 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  2. Matthew Jones

    Every poll has acknowledged that Spanish Speaking Americans are not part of the sampling. When the Latinos show up to vote (74% for Obama), don't be surprised if Obama takes Colorado easily, and maybe Florida. Nevada is blue for sure. That's the ball game folks. 4 more years....

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

    I have a general distrust with CNN on any poll. Judging from their so-called fact-checkers which clearly color their so-called facts by the way the color their statements or their use of half-truths or in some cases conveniently focus what they choose to fact check weighted surprising to one side....why should I give any credence to CNN and their polls?

    November 1, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  4. Ancient Texan

    iamnotfooled- You have been fooled!

    November 1, 2012 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  5. 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 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  6. no name

    Good to know there's lots of stupid folks in this country. Never thought id see the day when socialism would be prefered. Tells me a lot of jealous folks don't wont to earn their crap.

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

    It is economy!

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

    The President is also leading in NH, Nevada and holding his edge in Ohio by 5-6 points.

    November 1, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  9. FreedomStorm

    Choose Liberty or tyranny, Colorado. You're choosing for ALL Americans, and for ALL generations to come.

    "If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquillity of servitude than the animating contest of freedom, — go from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains sit lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen!"
    -- Samuel Adams, Philadelphia, 1 August 1776

    November 1, 2012 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  10. ndnation23

    always amazes me that people in columbine would vote for a man who supports less gun control. Not a dig at them, just my opinion.

    November 1, 2012 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  11. David SFA

    In Ohio, there are two major cities that are largely populated with voters living on governmental welfare. Why should those who give the least and take the most decide whether the U.S. continues on our current path to National Socialism or to change course back to Free Enterprise?

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

    Clear off and allow CNN to have peace you devils. Do u expect CNN to lie or disrespect our president just the way you ungrateful pathetics are doing? Anyway, CNN is a network with manners and respect. CNN is the best in the world. What were u guys saying during the first presidential debate when your god Romney came with those fake facts? Y'all were so happy praising CNN and you guys were right because our president does not brag so wanted to make Romney understand he didn't have no time for his bull until he realized he had to go hard and come out with the truth to kick the devil back to the pit of hell. Meaning CNN lied telling the world Romney did great on the first debate huh? Listen, Forward ever, Backwards Never so get off this page and go sleep with your miserable lives out there just like it has always been. God willing, Democrats will build back our country the way it's suppose to be. Romney is just coming to make more money and go. Even go outside America to live his life there while we suffering since there is where he's always been with his wealth. Why y'all so angry and desperate over a man that gives a damn about this country? Meaning there's a problem. This tells the difference because nobody disrespected bush when he was in office cuz he was gonna deal with that person so why Obama? Obama is a peaceful respectful president sent by God. All the allegations and accusations these devils said and are still saying about our president is something they've always wanted to do which they are finally confessing in a different way. I remember when I visited Germany in 1996 and I was treated so nicely because of my country America and even treated me like a German God. In 2006 when I visited again, I was treated like a piece of garbage all because of bush and his republican thing. God please destroy the Republican Party and never allow them to ever have power in this great country ...... BIG AMEN

    November 1, 2012 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  13. GOp Hate America

    i voted for Obama you should too.

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

    Will Obama have to get the first real job in his life after he leaves office this January?

    That rumble in the distance is the Romney landslide coming to an election near you.

    November 1, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  15. AProudLiberal

    Obama: Endorsements or support from from The Economist, NY Times, Mayor Bloomberg, General Colin Powell, Bruce Springsteen & Oprah Winfrey, leaders of Google, Apple, Microsoft, Salesforce, Charlie Crist, Women, Minorities, LGBT community, teachers, firefighters, laborers, police forces, senior citizens, college students and children.

    Romney: Endorsements or support from The Des Moine Register, Chuck Norris, Donald Trump, the top 1% financially, T Party radicals and people who have no clue what socialism or communism really means. Oh, and Meatloaf.

    November 1, 2012 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  16. Mitt the Twit

    The fact that almost half the country is backing an idiot and wall street crook like Romney, is beyond comprehension. Only proves we need to ramp up funding to education in a hurry.

    And just now we learn that the GOP forced a non partisan group to hide details of a report that concludes that tax cuts for the rich do NOT create jobs or grow the economy. These cuts simply increase the gap between rich and poor. Check out Huffington Post for breaking news on the story.

    The GOP is done. Next Tuesday, so is Romney and his following of racist, ignorant, 1950's thinking, religious nut jobs. Praise God!

    November 1, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  17. mnmark

    You are obviously polling only when Obama is ahead. Clearly CNN is not a " Just the News". It's hard pressed to find just the news anymore without one leaning one way or the other. I am looking for a better 4 years and this administration is blaming the last President for the mess were in...enough already!! Time to move on and if the Congress and Senate can't shake hands across the aisle then they all should go!

    November 1, 2012 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  18. Foreverwar

    Mitt has his fingers crossed, hoping the GOP can make it five whole days without making another ignorant comment about rape.

    November 1, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. Cesar rieraName

    I am trying to buy one of this

    November 1, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  20. Jeff from Newton

    Rasmussen has a terrible record of accurate polling data, CNN actually has a strong one. Even right-leaning website realclearpolitics, which aggregates all the polls, gives CO to Obama.

    November 1, 2012 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. Always biased

    CNN polls are ALWAYS biased to the left....Right, righties? Just like in 2008 when their final poll was 53 Obama and 46 McCain and Actual Result were 52.9 Obama, 45.6 McCain....yeah, waaaaaay off! They shorted Obama .1 and GAVE .4 to McCain!!! OOOPS, guess they were biased to McCain!

    November 1, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  22. mikey

    To that end, The Examiner says 31 Obama campaign bundlers received clean-energy loans and grants totaling more than $16 billion. The auto bailout favored the United Auto Workers - over secured creditors - and eight of the 10 states getting the most contracts from the stimulus program were heavily Democratic.

    November 1, 2012 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  23. sharon

    Come on people!!!!OPEN YOUR EYES,WE WERE A NATION UNDER God ,if OBUMMER gets back in,we will be a nation gone under!!!!

    November 1, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  24. DL

    I just keep remembering Mitt Romney during the first debate..over and over again 'I will not cut taxes on the wealthy', then Ryan reveals the next day, they get 2 tax cuts...the Bush tax cuts and an additional 20%. This means YOUR taxes are going to go up America..this is the same ole Republican failure of socialism for the rich, and crony capitalism for the poor and middle class. If you elect this guy, you get what you deserve.

    November 1, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  25. Sniffit

    "Rasmussen has been the most accurate polling org in the last 3 presidential election. "

    You want accurate? FIVETHIRTYEIGHT. Nate Silver has Obama at 300 electoral votes and 80% chance to win. He has also written articles from a purely objectuive, academic and mathematical/statistical standpoint aclling some of Rasmussen's methodologies into question. He's been more accurate than anyone the past several elections because THE NUMBERS DON'T LIE. 40,000 election simulations per day. Your nonsense doesn't even come close to passing the smell test.

    November 1, 2012 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
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