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.
Download the poll
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Project New West Summit in Las Vegas
The Intermountain West was critical to the Democrats in 2008, but will it be even more important in 2012?
You can bet on it.
That’s why Project New West convened the top political strategists from around the country to discuss how we frame Western issues on the eve of the 2012 presidential race. The Western Summit featured speakers like Tom Brokaw, Ted Turner, Senator Harry Reid, and our own Senator Mark Udall, Senator Michael Bennett and, Governor John Hickenlooper.
We also released new polling data from Western states that will provide many with critical insight into the electorate and help them effectively message both traditional and emerging demographic groups.
Lot’s of good ideas and insights came out of the panels and presentations at the Summit. Let’s all hope that, at least this time, what happens in Vegas doesn’t stay in Vegas.
News clippings from the summit:
The West is an increasingly important political battleground, and Democrats hope to show they are better suited to appeal to their base as well as the ever-important independent-minded voter, said Jill Hanauer, president of the Colorado-based Project New West
“Folks do things differently out here,” she said. “Voters here vote for the person, not the party, and the policy, not the ideology. You don’t get elected by just folks from your own party, you need independents and others from the other party.”
Project New West’s 2011 summit is pulling in the region’s top business leaders, politicians and academics for three days of panels focusing on emerging issues in the New American West.
Read more: Powerful Western Democrats meeting in Vegas
LAS VEGAS—Western states are becoming more urban and diverse, with an influx of Hispanic, Asian and young voters who tend to vote against Republican candidates, according to political strategists who spoke Monday at a Democratic conference.
“The trend is worrisome if you are a Republican,” Robert Lang, a sociology professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said during the event.
The battle to win the West is being planned in Las Vegas this week, with Republican and Democratic political consultants holding dueling strategy meetings.
Read more: Strategists: West becoming more urban, diverse
As the 2012 elections approach, both parties are furiously jockeying for position. If the Democrats can turn out their votes in sufficient numbers, Western strategists believe, the party could regain many of the House seats it lost in last year’s GOP landslide, while holding the Senate and retaining the White House. If the Democrats fail to do so, the GOP could enjoy an electoral sweep.
The stakes could hardly be higher: For many residents in the region, the battle for 2012 is about basic economic survival. Yet the contours of what the Western fight will look like are still being drawn.
“Now more than ever,” averred Project New West president Jill Hanauer, “the nation should look west for new ideas. We vote for the person, not the party; the policy position and leadership, not the ideology.” For generations, she continued, people in the West have cherished both their communities and their independence, creating a politics suspicious of centralized government but determined to innovate at a local level.
Read more: The Democratic Plan to Recapture the West
Yet during a public panel that I moderated here sponsored by Project New West, a Democratic research organization, leading party strategists expressed unruffled, almost blithe, optimism about Obama’s ability to hold the three Mountain states he carried in 2008. Partly that was because they expect more young people and minorities to vote in 2012 than did in 2010. But it was primarily because they think Obama will benefit from the contrast with the eventual Republican nominee. The Democratic hope is that those twin dynamics will allow Obama to reassemble the coalition of minorities and suburban whites that reelected Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet last year in Colorado.
As Tuesday’s raucous GOP debate underscored, the Republican nominee will provide Obama plenty of clear contrasts. All of the contenders are betting they can sell a larger retrenchment of government than any GOP nominee has proposed since Reagan (if not Barry Goldwater); they are doubling down on pledges to dismantle environmental regulation and unshackle domestic energy production. The stakes on that wager won’t be greater anywhere than in the increasingly pivotal Mountain West, where acute anxiety about jobs jostles against enduring affection for the land.
Read more: Rocky Territory