Colorado is one of the few western states regarded as a tossup in the 2012 Presidential election. Both candidates, Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, have advantages that lead their supporters to be optimistic about their performance this fall. Here, we’ll look at the issues that will likely frame the election, the demographics that will be important, and the polling that has occurred in the state thus far.
In 2008, Barack Obama easily defeated John McCain in Colorado, 53% to 45%. Other than 1992, this was the only Presidential election since LBJ where the GOP lost in the state. There were four factors opined to provide support four years ago. First was the increase in the Hispanic vote, which has become a Democratic source of support. Obama had a lot of enthusiastic support from the college students and urban residents in Denver and the other cities that have greatly grown. Because of the growth rate, there was also a high rate of foreclosures. Finally, many moderate Republicans defected to Obama.
However, Romney has a number of advantages, as well. Even though the state is 20% Hispanic, their rate of voting is not so impressive. Colorado continues to have a high unemployment rate and a high foreclosure rate, showing the ineffectuality of Obama’s policies. There are not very many senior citizens, union members, or African-Americans, constituencies that traditionally vote Democratic. Finally, and most importantly, the state is adjacent to Utah, meaning that Romney will have a plethora of volunteers in Colorado.
Issues besides the economy that are likely to be important in Colorado are immigration reform and environmentalism. It is unclear at this point how these issues will break in November, since neither candidate is likely to make an issue of environmentalism. The Governor is a Democrat as are the two Senators. There are three Democrats and four Republicans in the House.
|Recent Colorado Presidential General Election Match-ups|
As written earlier, other than 1996 and 2008, shown above, the last Presidential election in which the Democrat was victorious in Colorado was in 1964, when LBJ won the state.
Here is the current polling from Real Clear Politics. Obama currently has a 3.0% lead.
|2012 Presidential Polls, Colorado, General Election Match-ups|
|Polling Date||Polling Company||Mitt Romney (R)||Barack Obama (D)|
|6/14 – 6/17||PPP||42%||49%|
|5/31 – 6/5||Purple Strategies||46%||48%|
|5/21 – 5/24||NBC News/Marist||44%||48%|
Although Obama has a consistent lead in recent polling, I’m anticipating that Romney’s ground game will overcome the deficit.