Poll: Obama leads McCain by 5 points in Colorado | AspenTimes.com

Poll: Obama leads McCain by 5 points in Colorado

Colleen Slevin
The Associated Press
Aspen, CO Colorado
** FILE ** In this March 1, 2008 file photo, Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., speaks during a town hall meeting in Cleveland. Barack Obama lost decisively to Hillary Rodham Clinton in the state's March primary, and a new poll has him trailing Republican John McCain in a fall matchup. The same poll put Clinton ahead of McCain. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

DENVER ” A poll of potential swing states released Thursday shows Democrat Barack Obama leading Republican John McCain among Colorado voters by 5 percentage points, and by 12 points among the state’s independent voters.

The Quinnipiac University poll found white voters in Colorado favor McCain 47 to 46 percent, but that Hispanic voters back Obama 62 to 36 percent. Obama has a 14 percent lead among Colorado women; men support McCain 50 to 45 percent.

The poll of likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percent.

Obama’s overall lead in Colorado was the smallest in the four states surveyed. The biggest was in Minnesota, where it showed Obama ahead by 17 points. Voters in Michigan and Wisconsin were also surveyed.

Pollster Peter Brown said Democrats are still interested in traditionally Republican-leaning Colorado because it could provide key electoral votes for Obama.

Colorado’s nine electoral votes are valuable because the 2004 presidential election was decided by just 19 electoral votes, and only about a dozen states, including Colorado, are believed to have the potential to switch columns.

“If he wins Colorado, he should be in good shape in the Electoral College,” said Brown, assistant director of Quinnipiac’s polling institute.

However, he noted that Obama’s lead is not much different from John Kerry’s position at this stage of the race four years ago against George Bush.

While Colorado, especially its heavily populated Front Range, has shifted slightly more Democratic in recent years, Bob Loevy, a political science professor at Colorado College, pointed out that only two Democratic presidential candidates have won Colorado since 1952, both under unusual circumstances.

Lyndon Johnson won in Colorado in 1964, sweeping a total of 44 states, and Bill Clinton won in 1992 in a three-way race with former President George H.W. Bush and Ross Perot.

Loevy’s research shows the Colorado has tended to vote slightly more Republican than the nation as a whole during the same 56-year period but the difference has narrowed recently. In 2000, 54.5 percent of Colorado voters backed Bush, 4.8 percent more than the voters nationally. In 2004, 52.7 percent of state voters backed Bush, just 1.2 percent more than the rest of the country. Loevy credits Kerry’s frequent trips to the state.

Loevy thinks Obama’s attention to Colorado will depend on his success in courting voters in southern states like Virginia and North Carolina.

The poll also found that Democratic U.S. Rep. Mark Udall leads Republican Bob Schaffer in Colorado’s U.S. Senate race by 48 to 38 percent. Udall’s lead among independent voters was 27 points among the 81 percent expressing a preference.

A statewide ballot measure that would outlaw affirmative action in state government and education has the support of 66 percent of voters, according to the poll.

Amendment 46 backer Jessica Corry pointed out that the poll showed the measure had support among Republicans and Democrats and men and women. However, the spokesman for the opposition campaign, Craig Hughes, said the poll used misleading language from the initiative, which doesn’t mention ending affirmative action programs.

Pollsters asked voters if they would vote for or against a proposed constitutional amendment barring discrimination based on race, sex ethnicity or national origin in public employment, contracting or education.

The Quinnipiac poll was conducted in partnership with The Wall Street Journal and washingtonpost.com. In Colorado, 1,351 likely voters were surveyed from June 17-24.