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Obama builds lead over Romney in Colorado following party conventions

The President leads Romney 49 percent to 44 percent as unaffiliated voters swing to the incumbent.

DENVER _ President Barack Obama leads Gov. Mitt Romney 49 percent to 44 percent in the first survey of likely Colorado voters since the party conventions.

Obama’s five-point lead is due largely to growing support among the key demographic of unaffiliated voters, according to the second survey in a series of live-interview tracking polls released by Keating Research, Inc., Onsight Public Affairs and Project New America leading up to the November election.

“The fact that the race for Colorado is still very close may be the only good news for Mitt Romney coming out of the conventions,” said Mike Melanson, senior partner at OnSight Public Affairs. “Romney needed to improve his likability, but it appears Coloradans find him less likable than they did before the convention. Meanwhile, Obama has made significant gains among unaffiliated voters and maintained a solid lead among women.”

A poll conducted August 21-22 showed Obama with a four-point lead over Romney, 48 percent to 44 percent. Since that poll, Obama has added nine points to his advantage among unaffiliated voters, improving from a 50 percent to 36 percent margin in August to a 55-32 percent advantage in the latest survey.

A majority of Colorado voters, 51 percent, are now favorable toward Obama compared to 47 percent favorable toward Romney.  Obama improved his standing with unaffiliated voters by four points, from 52 percent favorable and 43 percent unfavorable in August to a 55-42 split after the convention.  But just 37 percent of unaffiliated voters view Romney favorably, while 59 percent say they have an unfavorable view of him. In August, the GOP challenger’s favorability split was 40 percent favorable, 56 percent unfavorable among unaffiliated voters.

“President Obama’s numbers are up among unaffiliated voters suggesting that the Democratic convention helped him connect with Colorado’s critical voting block,” said Jill Hanauer, CEO of Project New America. “The favorability gap between the President and Romney represent a key advantage going forward.”

Overall, Coloradans are paying attention to the race, with 56 percent of those polled saying they watched some or all of both candidates speeches. And regardless of whom they favor, voters are nearly twice as likely to predict a victory for Obama. Only 27 percent of those polled said Romney would win in November, compared to 52 percent predicting Obama. Obama also leads Romney by 10 points – 52 percent to 42 percent in the two suburban counties, Arapahoe and Jefferson, that are considered key indicators to winning in Colorado.

The candidates remain virtually tied among men – 46 percent for Obama and 45 percent for Romney – while women favor Obama 51 percent to 43 percent. Among whites, the candidates are tied at 46 percent, but 67 percent of Hispanics favor Obama.

The poll is based on 503 live telephone interviews with likely voters across Colorado on Monday and Tuesday of this week. For this sample of 503 interviews, the worst-case margin of error at the 95% level is plus or minus 4.4 percent. Respondents were chosen at random from a list of voters with phone numbers, including cell phones.

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