Obama leads in two major swing states, according to new polls.
Obama leads Mitt Romney 49 percent to 46 percent in the Rocky Mountain State, which he won by 7 points in 2008 and will be crucial to his effort in 2012. “Barack Obama continues to lead in Colorado but the state is getting closer,” said Dean Debnam, president of PPP, in a statement. “If Mitt Romney can open up a wider lead with whites and men he might have a chance at moving it into his column.”
Romney only holds a 3-point edge with men in the Colorado poll, a core constituency for the former governor. Obama wins women 52 percent to 44 percent in the state, and takes independent voters 44 percent to 36 percent. Colorado is one of the rare swing states in which Republicans have a registration advantage, outpacing Democrats by about 110,000 voters.
The PollTracker Average of all public polling in Colorado shows Obama with a 4.1 percent advantage, 49.2 percent to 45.1 percent.
Michigan is another story. Many national pollsters have found a solid Obama lead, but a number of in-state firms have found a dead heat there. PPP’s found Obama up by 7 points, a much smaller lead than he held in their July poll, in which Obama led by 14 points among registered voters. The latest poll surveyed only likely voters. PPP said the changing Michigan landscape is a result of a shifting electorate.
That’s a reflection of the fact that the state could be looking at a very different electorate in 2012 than it had in 2008. We find that 34% of likely voters on this poll are Republicans compared to 33% who are Democrats. Exit polls last time showed 41% of voters as Democrats and just 29% as Republicans.
Nevertheless Obama still has a healthy lead. That reflects the fact that despite his ties to the state, Michigan voters just don’t embrace Romney. Only 45% have a favorable opinion of him to 49% with an unfavorable one. They don’t accept Romney as one of their own either- only 34% consider him to be a Michigander to 57% who do not.
Obama’s typical gender gap doesn’t appear to exist in Michigan. He leads Romney among men, 53 percent to 40 percent, but leads by only 1 point among women. The automobile industry also shapes attitudes about the race in Michigan.
“One thing that’s definitely not helping Romney in Michigan is the position he took on the
auto bailout,” PPP wrote in its analysis. Romney wrote an op-ed in the New York Times titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” According to PPP, 53 percent of voters believe Obama has been better for the auto industry, compared with only 31 percent who believe Romney would be better. Eighty percent of voters say the candidates’ record on the industry is important to them.
The PollTracker Average shows Obama up 3.5 points in Michigan, 48.9 percent to 45.4 percent.
The PPP poll of Colorado used 1,001 interviews with likely voters. The Michigan poll used 815 automated interviews with likely voters. They were conducted via landline (automated surveys are prohibited from calling cell phones), Aug. 31 to Sept. 2. The Colorado poll has a sampling error of 3.1 percent and Michigan’s was 3.4 percent.
Kyle is the Editor of TPM Media’s PollTracker. He graduated from Beloit College (WI) and began working in politics before getting an M.A. in magazine journalism from New York University, where he interned at TPM and the website of The New Yorker.