Barack Obama is “firmly ahead” in the hard-fought contest for Colorado’s nine electoral votes, polling 53 percent to John McCain’s 45 percent, according to a Politico/Insider Advantage poll released Tuesday night. Obama and McCain, however, are statistically tied in bellwether Jefferson County — unchanged since two weeks ago — the poll found.
Noting that “even some Republicans have expressed doubts about McCain’s ability to win” Colorado, Politico’s Alexander Burns writes that Obama has built a “durable lead” in the state where the Democrat drew more than 150,000 to two rallies on Sunday. Obama leads among Colorado’s Hispanic voters by a “staggering” 81 percent to 19 percent, the Politico poll found. Among Colorado’s other crucial voting bloc, unaffiliated voters, Obama runs ahead of McCain 57 percent to 38 percent. Independents make up roughly one in three voters in Colorado, with the remainder split evenly between Republicans and Democrats, who have carried the state’s electoral votes only once since 1964.
The poll examined suburban Jefferson County for clues to the candidates’ performance up close and found them running virtually even across the board. McCain is ahead by 2 percentage points — within the poll’s margin of error — with 47 percent to Obama’s 45 percent. It’s the same margin McCain held two weeks ago when Politico surveyed Jefferson County, though the number of undecided voters has been cut in half.
Jefferson County, situated west and southwest of Denver, was for decades a Republican stronghold but, like the state as a whole, has been trending more Democratic in recent years both in party affiliation and elected officials. The most recently available voter registration figures for the county — not including a last-minute surge of new voters before the Sept. 30 deadline — showed Republicans still in the lead, with 93,619 active voters, followed closely by Democrats with 84,526, and unaffiliated voters at 77,123.
Obama’s ability to pull even with McCain in the county despite the Republican edge represents his broad appeal across party lines, Politico said. George W. Bush won the county by handy margins in 2000 and 2004, so even a tie with McCain would add to Obama’s margin statewide. The two candidates are tied there virtually every way the poll slices voters — within the margin of error for independents, men and women, although Obama leads among Hispanics in Jefferson County.
Statewide, men preferred Obama 50 percent to 47 percent and women threw their support to the Democrat by an even wider margin, 55 percent to 43 percent, mirroring national trends.
The Colorado survey sampled 636 likely voters and has a 3.8 percentage point margin of error. The Jefferson County poll had 498 likely voters with a margin of error of 4 percentage points.