PPP Colorado poll: Lukewarm on Obama; even less warm on likely GOP rivals

Americans are deeply dissatisfied with officeholders across the political spectrum, and in swing-state Colorado, a key battleground for next year’s presidential election, the hot enthusiasm generated here by candidate Obama three years ago has cooled considerably, according to a new survey conducted by Public Policy Polling. Although, the methodology of the poll has rightly come under scrutiny (same as every poll), given the historically dismal economy and the battering Obama has taken on the right since he entered the White House, it’s remarkable that PPP pollsters found he nevertheless notched double-digit leads in the state over every potential GOP opponent except Mitt Romney, whom he leads here by 7 points.

Only 46 percent of Coloradans polled approve of Obama as president and 50 percent disapprove of him, a 10 point approval rating dip since February. Yet PPP Director Tom Jensen says the Obama reelection team might still take heart in the survey results.

“[Colorado] voters may not like [Obama] but they like him a heck of a lot more than any of the Republican candidates. [Herman] Cain’s net favorability is -10 at 20/30, [Rick] Perry’s is -14 at 24/38, Romney’s is -21 at 30/51, [Michele] Bachmann’s is -22 at 28/50, and [Sarah] Palin’s is -27 at 33/60. Obama’s definitely benefiting from a ‘lesser of two evils’ mindset.”

As Jensen points out, just because Coloradans don’t like you, doesn’t mean they won’t vote for you. Maybe even more than elsewhere in the country, voters here hold their noses and pull the levers.

“Colorado showed last fall it was perfectly willing to elect someone it didn’t like if it liked the alternative even less,” Jensen writes. “Michael Bennet had a 39/47 approval rating on our final poll before the election and still managed to get reelected and Obama’s at least faring better than that. What it appears has happened over the last six months is that voters have soured on Obama but they’ve soured on the Republicans just as much over that period of time and the net impact has been a wash when it comes to the horse race. It’s a reflection of the disgust voters are feeling towards politicians across the spectrum right now.”

According to the poll, Obama’s numbers have remained fairly consistent among Republican and Democratic voters, but they have dipped with independents, a remarkable third of the state electorate. That’s bad news for any candidate in Colorado.

Yet independents aren’t swinging their support to Obama’s GOP rivals.

PPP’s Jensen seems surprised by the results of the poll and suggests that right now might be a low point for Obama’s support here. If that’s the case, that’s good news for Democrats.

“The last few weeks have been some of the darkest ones of the Obama administration and for all that he still has a 7 point lead over his strongest potential opponent in Colorado. This is coming off a year where Democrats in Colorado held their Senate seat and the Governor’s office in what was otherwise a terrible year for the party nationally.

“It’s still probably best to call the state purple, but it seems to be shading toward blue.”

PPP surveyed 510 Colorado voters last weekend and reports a margin of error for the survey of +/- 4.3 percent.

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