Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball team just picked the seven states that appear most competitive in the 2016 presidential contest. Colorado may be the most competitive, but it is joined by six others.
Colorado is a swing state because on most metrics it is near the center. When Gallup publishes various 50-state lists of voters’ attitudes and values, Colorado is usually at or within four or five states of the center; e.g., partisanship, ideology, religious fervor, and Colorado tends to be near the mean on most policy questions, such as abortion, gay rights, immigration and the Keystone Pipeline.
If there is a lean, it’s on the slightly liberal side on social issues and slightly conservative on fiscal issues. Probably the state’s most successful current statewide officeholder, Governor John Hickenlooper, is slightly to the left of the electorate on the two-dimension; i.e., a little more willing to raise taxes and spend money and a little more interested in expanding individual rights, but only slightly.