Destination 270

SMU Students Analyze the 2012 Presidential Election

Nearing November: A Look at Colorful Colorado

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Its that time again! As we draw closer to election day, its time to start looking at the States, and people, who will have a hand in selecting our next President. This semester I will be analyzing one of my favorite swing states- the Centennial State, Colorado!

Since attaining statehood in 1876, this southwestern state has tended to vote Republican. Since 1936, Coloradans have only voted Democrat four times- most recently for Bill Clinton in 1992 and Barack Obama in 2008.

Despite its consistent leaning towards the right, Colorado is considered a swing state due to its independently minded electorate, who have previously had a huge impact on crucial elections in the past 20 years.

With a population hovering just above 5 million, Colorado has 9 electorate votes to wield during this presidential election season.

The Denver, CO., night skyline.

To properly get acquainted with the Rocky Mountain state, let’s take a look at some population statistics that will impact the outcome of the 2012 Presidential elections:

According to the 2010 U.S. Census:

Race

79.3% of the population is Non Hispanic or Latino. Click this link for a specific breakdown of the racial demographics.

20.7% of the population is Hispanic or Latino

Age

The largest age demographic in Colorado consists of people between the ages of 35-49, followed by those ages 50-64 and 25-34.

Religion

64% of citizens label themselves at Christians, with many identifying at Protestant, Evangelical, Mainline and Roman Catholic.

25% of citizens are religiously unaffiliated, which is higher than the national average of 17%.

The voting population in Colorado primarily consists of mature, religious white and hispanic voters. To garner those votes, Presidential nominees need to be familiar with issues of concern for both communities, as well as other demographics.

So what social and political issues are on the mind of the average Colorado voter?Colorado State Flag

Like the rest of America, Coloradans are    concerned about issues such as jobs and the economy, healthcare and education, with job concerns topping the list. Unlike other states however, another issue of huge importance in Colorado, specifically for Latino voters, is immigration.

Stay tuned, I will dig deeper into the issue of immigration and the power of the Latino vote during this election, the closer we get to election day.

So where do Obama and Romney stand with Coloradans today?

As expected in a swing state like Colorado, the Presidential race is neck and neck. At the moment President Obama has a razor- and I mean razor- thin edge over Romney.

In early August, polls showed that 50% of Colorado residents were leaning slightly right, but now in mid-September Romney has dropped four points to 46% (as of September 14th). Obama has consistently had more positive poll ratings than Romney, dating back to June of 2012, with Obama at 49% and Romney at 42%.

It is interesting to note that the conventions- both Republican and Democratic- didn’t convince citizens of Colorado to support one candidate. Rather, they created more undecided voters. Directly after the RNC and the day before the DNC, polls indicated that Romney gained two percentage points and Obama gained only one, leaving 5% of Colorado citizens undecided.

Flash forward eleven days. Following the close of the DNC, Romney’s polling number stayed constant at 46% while President Obama dropped 2% in the polls, to 47%. The the number of undecided voters in Colorado grew to 7% after the conventions.

The post convention polls show a slight tilt towards Romney but expose the growing number of voters in Colorado who aren’t ready to commit to any one candidate.

The undecided and independent voter will have a lot of power over who takes Colorado on election day. It is either candidates state to lose, so it will be interesting to see how President Obama and Mr. Romney woo these wary voters.

Stay tuned for more updates from the swing state of Colorful Colorado!

~Here is an interactive map of the U.S. that lets you try out different election scenarios with current swing states. Try it out!~

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