Colorado’s love for Barack Obama when he ran in 2008 and again in 2012 seems to have faded, and that may drive the disenchanted to embrace Republicans in the midterm elections.
A recent poll of likely voters by USA Today and Suffolk University found that Democrats up for re-election in the critically important state of Colorado are either even with, or barely ahead of, their Republican challengers.
Democratic Sen. Mark Udall was preferred by 42 percent of respondents, one point behind the GOP challenger, Cory Gardner.
Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper got 43 percent, with GOP candidate Bob Beauprez nipping his heels at 41 percent.
Colorado is considered a pivotal state in this election, in which Republicans must win six Senate races in order to gain control of that chamber. Republicans already have a majority in the House.
The poll of 500 likely voters, taken last week, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, according to USA Today.
"I don't like any of the Congress or the president," respondent Mark Richardson of Englewood, Colo., told USA Today in a follow-up interview. "I don't think they've done anything for us for the last 10 or 12 years, just bickering among themselves."
Richardson is a general contractor who plans to vote for Gardner.
As for House races, respondents said 46 percent to 40 percent that they plan to vote for the Republican candidate, not the Democratic one, the newspaper said.
"The polling tell us that Democrats are being slowed down by the headwinds of President Obama and Obamacare at the moment," says David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Suffolk University, in Boston. "But winds can shift or subside so it's a matter of what the political weather conditions are on Election Day."
More than half of the respondents gave a thumbs down to the president for his job performance. The majority of respondents, 55 percent, said Obama’s health reform law, the Affordable Care Act, has been detrimental to Colorado.
Hickenlooper is credited by many residents for improving the state’s economy, but about 3 in 10 voters believe it’s stayed the same.
Republicans in Colorado have sought to tie Democratic incumbents to Obama, saying that to vote for them would mean voting to continue the president’s policies.
The Democratic candidates, evidently, are noting the damaging impact. Udall, for one, is trying to distance himself from the president as much as possible.
"Let me tell you, the White House when they look down the front lawn, the last person they want to see coming is me," Udall said last week at during a Senate campaign debate against Gardner.