States That Count: Colorado, Nevada poised to hold sway in November

Voters across the country are hearing a lot about big swing states like Ohio and Florida -- but when the votes are counted, will it be the smallest numbers that add up to a big win?

The following is the first in a two-part series on swing states with a relatively small number of electoral votes.


Six electoral votes are at stake in Nevada where unemployment is the highest in the nation.

Beyond the glitz and glamour of the Las Vegas strip, Nevada's once red-hot real estate market is a tough bet right now.

"In some areas home values came down about 76 percent," said Brandy White Elk, the owner of Innovative Real Estate Strategies, a Las Vegas based agency with an expertise in handling short sales.

"We're about 60 percent of Las Vegas homes still underwater. That being said when you have about 100,000 homeowners that are more than 30 days late ... just looking at those two dynamics alone is devastating," said White Elk.

She's hoping to hear something from the candidates to offer hope. "Because of Mitt Romney knowing how to manage money and Obama being for the people, it's hard to make a decision on what side to swing because there are so many different elements on both sides that are valuable."

The economy is just one piece of the picture here. In a state once dominated by Republicans, population growth and shifting demographics have turned Nevada into a swing state.

"Certainly the demographics help President Obama," said David Damore, a political science Professor at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. "There's no doubt about it he runs very, very high with the Latino voters. We have a fairly big African American and a growing Asian American concentration here and the Democrats have just done much better at the outreach there."


Colorado is the biggest take in the Mountain West with nine electoral votes.

Then-Sen. Barack Obama took the state by a solid margin -- 54 to 45 percent -- over Sen. John McCain in 2008 but the victory marked only the second time in more than 40 years that the state went for a Democrat.

Hispanic and Latino voters are also expected to have an impact here where they make up roughly 20 percent of the population.

Mike Ferrufino, the general manager of KBNO radio, Colorado's oldest Spanish radio station, says Latinos are engaged in this year's election.

"We have about 330,000 Latinos that are registered to vote which is an all time high," said Ferrufino. "Seems like the excitement is back. They're ready to come out and they feel a sense of duty."

"It appears that there is a overwhelming amount of support in the Latino community for President Obama at the moment," Ferrufino said. "The data I've seen shows an historic low for a Republican presidential candidate and perhaps, at some point the Romney team, and it look like they already have decided to basically take a couple of steps forward to address that, but it looks like President Obama has done a better job in terms of making people feel comfortable with his immigration plans, with his support of education and his support of health care."

At the Rooster & Moon Coffee Pub in Denver, the owners "strive to be a public house in the traditional sense, creating a community forum offering coffee, teas, libations and creative foods as an invitation to discussion and revolutionary ideas." Thoughts on this year's election flow with morning coffees and teas.

"I'm voting for Mitt Romney because I think he's probably the best candidate to solve our fiscal problems, which I think are the biggest problems this country faces today," said Jim Lorenzen. "We have today, for every man, woman and child, every child that was born this morning and every person that's going to die in the next 24 hours, there's 55,000 dollars worth of debt and that doesn't take into consideration the unfunded liabilities of Medicare, social security. If you take all of the net worth of every American in this country it doesn't even cover these unfunded liabilities. We have an enormous problem. It needs to be solved."

"I'm voting for Obama and why? Because I like the equality stance he has taken this year. I think he's the right candidate to get the job done. He's protecting women's rights and a multitude of other issues," said Christine Gehman.

Daniel Silbaugh says the Railway Labor Act is his number one concern. He works in the industry and calls the law a highly antiquated act that favors large corporate interests.

"I am not voting for Romney. I don't know if I'm voting for Obama. Possibly Gary Johnson," says Silbaugh.

Kraig Hamady agrees that the candidates and political parties are too beholden, but he says he will likely vote for Obama.

"It's kind of disappointing the state it's gotten to where corporate interests, the amount of money being spent that could be going to a lot of better things and mostly just the fact that it's become mostly an election of hatred than it has about saying anything about what they actually want to do," said Hamady. "It's mostly what the other person can't do or won't do or should be doing, shouldn't do. Nobody is setting a contrast to say what makes me better, it what makes them worse and that just really doesn't bode well for our society."

Fox News' Andrew Fone contributed to this report.