CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article incorrectly described who would participate in the Romney campaign’s bus tour of Colorado. The tour will feature campaign surrogates.
Both presidential campaigns focus Wednesday on Colorado, where one of three new Quinnipiac University/CBS News/New York Times polls shows Mitt Romney with a slight lead over President Obama. But Romney trails Obama in the two other surveys -- conducted in Virginia and Wisconsin -- suggesting that Obama retains an advantage in the battle for the Electoral College, particularly when compared with last week's polls showing Obama leading in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
Likely voters in Colorado have a significantly less favorable impression of the president, and they are more likely to say they disapprove of how he is handling his job, compared to voters in the other two states. Rocky Mountain State voters are also more likely to have a positive image of Romney, and to favor him on the economy and national security.
In each state, roughly nine-in-10 voters say their minds are made up, while less than 10 percent say they might change their mind before the election, suggesting the two candidates are battling over a small pool of swing voters.
Obama will kick off a two-day tour of Colorado on Wednesday with rallies in Denver and Grand Junction, according to a schedule provided by his campaign. The Romney camp, meanwhile, is slated to respond with a surrogate bus tour that that includes events in Greeley, Pueblo and a rally in a parking lot in Denver near Sports Authority Field at Mile High, where Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for president four years ago. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, and Colorado GOP officials are expected to attend these events.
Romney leads Obama in Colorado, 50 percent to 45 percent. One percent of likely voters prefer another candidates, while 4 percent are undecided.
Obama wins 94 percent of Democrats, while Romney captures 92 percent of Republicans. Independents are split, with 47 percent supporting Romney and 45 percent for Obama. Republicans outnumber Democrats among the state's likely voters, 32 percent to 27 percent, the poll shows. In 2008, Republicans enjoyed a one-point party-ID edge over Democrats, according to exit polls.
The poll shows a wide gender gap, with Romney winning men by 17 points, and Obama winning women by just 8 points. Among white men, Romney leads by a 25-point margin, compared to a 1-point Obama lead among white women.
Romney runs particularly strong among seniors, leading Obama, 55 percent to 40 percent. Voters 65 and older make up 38 percent of the Quinnipiac interviews, a much higher percentage than their representation in 2008, according to exit polls. Four years ago, only 13 percent of voters were aged 65 years or more; Obama lost them by 9 percentage points.
Overall, white voters favor Romney, 54 percent to 41 percent, while Hispanics overwhelmingly side with Obama, 68 percent to 28 percent. Obama is significantly under-performing his 2008 numbers among white voters in Colorado, when he won them by 2 points. But he is also doing better among Hispanics, whom he won, 61 percent to 38 percent. But in the 2008 exit poll, Hispanics made up 13 percent of the electorate, which is a larger share than the 9 percent the current poll shows.
Romney's image in the state is net-positive, unlike his performance in last week's surveys. Forty-seven percent of likely voters have a favorable opinion of Romney, compared to 42 percent who have an unfavorable opinion. And Colorado voters are also more likely to view Romney's business experience in a positive light, and to say Romney "cares about the needs and problems" of people like them.
Colorado voters have soured on Obama, the poll shows. Just 44 percent approve of the job he is doing as president, compared to 53 percent who disapprove. And half of voters view him unfavorably in general, more than the 46 percent who have a favorable opinion.
A slim, 51-percent majority thinks Romney would do a better job on the economy, more than the 41 percent who think Obama would better handle it. Voters are split on the two candidates when it comes to health care, but Romney leads Obama on national security issues, 50 percent to 41 percent. Romney has trailed Obama on national security in the other five states surveyed over the past two weeks, sometimes by double-digit margins.
Obama holds a narrow lead among likely voters in the Old Dominion, 49 percent to 45 percent. One percent would vote for someone else, and 5 percent are undecided.
Democrats have an advantage in party identification in the commonwealth, contributing to Obama's overall lead. Democrats outnumber Republicans, 30 percent to 23 percent, with 40 percent of likely voters saying they consider themselves independents. Obama leads 50 percent to 43 percent among those independents.
Obama's 38-percent share of the white vote is virtually identical to his 39-percent performance in 2008, though the poll's electorate is slightly whiter (73 percent) than the 2008 exit poll (70 percent). But Obama has slipped a bit among white voters without college degrees, earning just 31 percent of these voters, while he now ties Romney among whites with degrees, 48 percent to 48 percent.
Half of Virginia voters say they have a favorable opinion of Obama, more than the 40 percent who say they view Romney favorably. But voters are split on Obama's job performance: 47 percent approve, while 49 percent disapprove.
When it comes to dealing with the economy, voters are similarly split: 47 percent say Romney would be better, while 45 percent pick Obama. But Obama holds single-digit advantages on health care and national security.
Obama leads Romney in Wisconsin, 51 percent to 45 percent, with 4 percent undecided. The two candidates each lead among their own partisans by 90 percentage points, while independents split down the middle: 48 percent for Obama, 47 percent for Romney.
Male voters prefer Romney, 53 percent to 43 percent, but Obama runs up the score among women, 59 percent to 36 percent.
A majority of voters, 53 percent, have a favorable opinion of Obama, who out-rates Romney (41 percent) on this measure. A slim majority also approves of Obama's job performance.
Just 41 percent say Romney "cares about the needs and problems" of people like them, well short of the 57 percent who believe Obama cares. Voters split on which candidate would do a better job on the economy -- 47 percent Obama, 46 percent Romney -- but Obama significantly outscores Romney on health care and national security.
Wisconsin voters have been less exposed to the campaign, with roughly one-in-five saying they have not seen television ads for the candidates. In the other two state polls released Wednesday, only around one-in-10 said they had not seen TV ads.
The polls, conducted July 31-Aug. 6, were comprised of 1,463 likely voters in Colorado; 1,412 in Virginia; and 1,428 in Wisconsin. Each poll carries a separate margin of error of plus-or-minus 2.6 percentage points.
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