Colorado May Determine 2012 Presidential Election

Greg Flakus
This year's presidential election may be decided in a handful of so-called "swing states," where President Obama and challenger Mitt Romney are running neck and neck in public opinion polls.  The western state of Colorado has only nine electoral votes, which will all go to the candidate who wins a majority of the state's popular votes in November.  And Colorado is one of the few states that could go either way, so it is being hotly contested.

Thousands of Obama supporters were on the streets of the Denver suburb of Golden, Colorado recently, when the president came to visit.  Obama won here four years ago and many of his supporters remain enthusiastic.

Those who identify with a party here are evenly split between Democrats and Republicans.  So, independent voters like Sherry Toms are the key to victory.  And she still likes the president.

"To switch everything and do a 360 with the Republican Party might not be the best thing right now," said Toms.

The Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, was not here this day, but his son, Josh Romney, met with supporters not far from the Obama event.

While young voters helped elect Obama in 2008, some, like Alex Insco, now favor Romney.

"I haven't seen any change. I was hoping for change, but I still haven't gotten it yet," said Insco.

Around 80 percent of Colorado's population is now located in cities and suburbs.  In a state once characterized by sparsely-populated areas such as the Rocky Mountains, demographic change turned Colorado from reliably Republican to a so-called "battleground."

Many of the people who moved to Colorado from other states in recent years were drawn by its scenic beauty.  But, to live here, they also need jobs.  Colorado's unemployment rate is slightly higher than the national average and economic anxiety could sway many independent voters.

"If the issues get framed in terms of economic conditions and that is how they are feeling about things - the loss of value in their homes,  the difficulty of setting aside money to send their kids to college or just filling up their gas tank with fuel - they are more likely to go with the out party, the Republicans," noted University of Colorado at Boulder political scientist Kenneth Bickers.

But Bickers says Colorado's women voters could side with Obama if the race turns to social issues like abortion, which Republicans oppose.  Tara Speigel is one such voter.

"If you listen to Romney speak and you listen to Obama speak, Obama is clearly for the women and he is for our rights," Speigel said.

Still, in many suburban areas of Denver, women like Marla Wayneman are prominent Romney supporters.

"Women with children will have a perspective on the economy and the effect that our deficit will have on the security of the nation," said Wayneman.

In the weeks ahead, Colorado's citizens will see more of both candidates as well as a constant barrage of television ads aimed at independent voters who have yet to make up their minds.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs