The Denver Post looks at what is going on with Colorado‘s new found prominence as a Battleground:
Several dynamics this year make the Centennial State even more competitive [than 2008]— and critical to winning the White House. Unlike 2008 there are fewer states this time around that are truly up for grabs. Obama and Mitt Romney are eyeing Colorado’s nine electoral votes — in combination with other Western states such as Nevada, New Mexico and Arizona — to give them the win. The campaigns use a combination of history, demographics and polling to determine which states are solidly or leaning red or blue and which states are considered tossups. From there, it’s a matter of doing the math — finding ways to combine victories in winnable states to get the candidate to 270 electoral votes, the total needed to win the presidency.
Polls show the race is a dead heat:
A poll of 600 Coloradans by Purple Strategies found 48 percent favored Obama and 46 percent favored Romney. The poll’s margin of error was plus or minus 4 percentage points. A Rasmussen Reports poll of 500 likely voters showed both candidates with 45 percent, while 6 percent preferred another candidate and 5 percent were undecided. The margin of error was plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
In a video posted online June 4, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said he believed that if the election were held that day, the president would win enough states to reach 243 electoral votes. Romney would have 191, while 104 electoral votes would be “up for grabs,” Messina said. Those votes came from eight states: Colorado, Iowa, Wisconsin, Ohio, New Hampshire, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida. Also last week, Politico obtained a Power Point report compiled by a Romney pollster. It listed seven battleground states in the campaign’s “route to 270”: Colorado, Arizona, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, Ohio and Virginia.
Battleground counties and varying approaches:
Strategists on the right and left point to Colorado’s key unaffiliated voters, particularly in Arapahoe, Jefferson and Larimer counties — the bloc that helped Obama to victory in 2008. “Those same swing voters, I think, are in play in 2012,” said political consultant Dick Wadhams, the former chairman of the Colorado Republican Party. “If Mitt Romney continues to hammer on the economy and the budget, I think they will vote for Mitt Romney.” Democratic strategists also point to women voters, who tend to prefer more moderate candidates and who helped Democrat Michael Bennet win the U.S. Senate race in 2010, as well as Latinos, who make up about 10 percent of Colorado voters and lean heavily for Obama. They also will try to keep Romney’s numbers down in conservative El Paso and Douglas counties, where Obama won 40 percent of the vote in 2008.