Rocky Mountain News: Obama +12 in Colorado

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    Obama leads McCain by 12 points in Colorado polls : Updates : The Rocky Mountain News

    Sen. Barack Obama has surged to a commanding, double-digit lead in Colorado amid soaring anxiety about the country's direction and a massive shift of independent voters into the Democratic column, a new poll finds.
    After weeks of devastating economic news, Obama now leads by 12 percentage points - 52 percent to 40 percent - in the latest Rocky Mountain News/CBS4 News poll.
    "Clearly, the beginning of October is not a happy time in American history, and voters are sort of internalizing the financial crisis," said pollster Lori Weigel.
    Since early August, when Colorado independents were almost evenly split between the two presidential candidates, Obama has opened up a more than 2-to-1 advantage in that pivotal voting group, the poll found.
    In the latest survey, only 11 percent of Coloradans said the country was heading in the right direction, while 83 percent said it was on the wrong track.
    At a time when Republicans control the White House, that pessimism has created a steep climb for Sen. John McCain, who is now struggling to stay competitive in Colorado and several other states that President Bush carried in 2004.
    "You've got a difficult war. You've got now a very, very pessimistic electorate that's laser-focused on the economy as an issue," Weigel said. "There are plenty of campaigns that have had to run uphill. This is not running uphill. This is downhill skiing uphill."
    The survey of 500 likely Colorado voters was conducted Tuesday through Thursday by Public Opinion Strategies of Alexandria, Va., the largest Republican polling firm in the country. Obama's lead was well outside the poll's margin of error of plus or minus 4.38 percentage points.
    Longtime Democratic consultant Rick Ridder, who consulted on the poll, said the economic tempest has created a tidal wave for change.
    Obama has been able to "get on the surfboard" and ride the wave, Ridder said.
    The new poll shows Obama has made marked gains among numerous crucial voting blocks since this summer.
    A Rocky Mountain News poll in August gave McCain a 3 percentage point lead overall, and wider leads among seniors, middle-age voters and anyone over age 35. But in the latest survey, that advantage is gone. Obama leads among every age group, including the over-65 crowd.
    "People talk about the extraordinary support that Barack Obama has, for instance, among youth voters," Ridder said. "Yes, he does. But he has broadened that coalition significantly . . . now to older voters as well."
    The biggest shift is among unaffiliated voters, who now outnumber Republicans as the largest voting group in the state.
    In August, Obama led among independents by 2 percentage points, 36 percent to 34 percent. In the new poll, he led 58 percent to 27 percent, and the advantage was little changed based on the age or gender of the independents.
    Back then, McCain had a double-digit lead among men, but that's down to a 2 percentage-point edge. Meanwhile, the poll shows Obama has opened up a 24 percentage point advantage among Colorado women, 58 percent to 34 percent, mirroring a trend that has been reported in polls throughout the country.
    Weigel calls it part of "a tidal shift."
    "Every single subgroup is decidedly more Democratic today in Colorado," she said.
    The poll results were released Friday, when McCain was campaigning in the state and the stock market yet again was dropping hundreds of points.
    "I'm never one to count John McCain out. The man does his best when his back's against the wall," Weigel said. "Obviously, this is difficult and challenging data."
     

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