In an NPR series previewing the 2010 elections, Colorado was highlighted as a likely battleground state.
Unaffiliated voters are the key. The state’s partisans are closely balanced. Unaffiliated voters can tip the state left or right. They represent a quarter of the electorate and a third of all registered voters. Because they are only weakly linked to the parties and more subject to the ebb and flow of media covered issues, if the national mood shifts, Colorado shifts.
I said that Obama and the national Democratic agenda was struggling with independent voters in Colorado compared to November 2008. A series of Colorado polls since July have shown Obama’s job performance approval below 50 percent.
Republicans appear to have reframed their message on the economy and government spending. It is a message more in alignment with unaffiliated voters’ concerns than the social issues that were salient earlier in the decade. Abortion, gay rights and illegal immigration are more polarizing and less on the public’s mind.
(Read or listen to story on NPR)