A fresh poll from Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling out today:
Barack Obama still looks like the favorite to win Colorado again this year, but Mitt Romney’s become much more competitive in the state since wrapping up the Republican nomination. Obama leads 49-42. His lead had been 53-40 on PPP’s last poll, which was conducted the weekend before Rick Santorum dropped out of the race.
Romney’s seen a major improvement in his image in Colorado, as he has nationally, since GOP voters unified around him. His numbers still aren’t terribly impressive with 40% of voters rating him favorably to 52% with a negative opinion. But that’s up a net 17 points from April when he was at 31/60.
The reason the race has tightened over the last couple months is that Romney’s really closed the gap with independents. He still trails Obama 48-38 with them, but that’s quite a bit better than April when he was down 57-31. The candidates both have their party bases pretty unified with Obama at 87% of Democrats and Romney at 84% of Republicans.
There’s been an interesting shift along racial lines over the last 2 months. Obama’s doing better with Hispanics than he was previously, leading 60-33 compared to a previous advantage of 53-38. But he’s doing worse with whites, leading only 47-45, down from 52-41 in April. About a third of the interviews for this poll were conducted prior to Obama’s immigration announcement so it would be simplistic to ascribe those shifts to that, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.
After a variety of other polls showed the gap between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney consistently small in Colorado, we would have been more surprised to see PPP continuing to show the outsize Obama lead they indicated back in April. You can give Romney credit for successfully consolidating GOP support here after losing the caucuses to Rick Santorum, and look ahead to a vicious battle for aloof, cynical independents. But the “Ken Buck curse” is still very much an issue, with Obama leading Romney by 14 points with Colorado women.
Overall, this poll just brings PPP’s results into line with the consensus view. It’s a close race.