Polls: Obama’s lead widening in Colorado

Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has opened a clear lead in Colorado, according to two polls released this week.

Surveys from Public Policy Polling, a Democratic-leaning firm, and Quinnipiac University show Obama leading Republican John McCain by 9 or more percentage points.

Public Policy Polling surveyed 1,331 likely voters from Oct. 8 to Oct. 10 and found Obama leading McCain 52 percent to 42 percent.

The Quinnipiac University Poll, which surveyed 1,088 likely voters between Oct. 8 and Oct. 12, shows Obama leading McCain 52 percent to 43 percent.

Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, attributed Obama’s lead to his two debate performances and his lead among unaffiliated voters.

“The key to winning elections in Colorado is independent voters, and Sen. Obama has blown open the race there with his 11-point lead among them,” Brown said. “These same voters say 3-to-1 that the Democrat won the last debate, which drives one more nail into McCain’s coffin.”

Dean Debnam, president of Public Policy Polling, attributed Obama’s lead to his support among the Hispanic community, a key voting bloc in southern Colorado and other parts of the state.

Both polls showed Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Mark Udall leading Republican candidate Bob Schaffer by 10 or more percentage points.

State Sen. Josh Penry, R-Grand Junction, said as the bad economic news subsides and voters get down to comparing “conventional liberals” with the Republican candidates, Colorado’s presidential and U.S. Senate races will tighten.

“It will tighten and be very close going down to the wire,” Penry said, adding he never takes polls at face value.

The Public Policy Polling and Quinnipiac University polls have margins for error of nearly 3 percentage points.


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