Our new Colorado poll is more evidence that the Newt surge could be disastrous for GOP hopes of beating Barack Obama next year.
Despite winning the state by 9 points in 2008, Obama is unpopular there now. Only 45% of voters approve of him to 50% disapproving. PPP found Obama winning white voters there in his first election, but now his approval with them stands at a middling 42/54. He's actually doing well with independents, who approve of him by a 49/42 margin, but with Democrats he's at only 76/18.
As weak as Obama is in Colorado, if the Republicans nominate Newt Gingrich it doesn't look like it matters. Obama leads Gingrich 50-42 in the state, including a whooping 56-32 advantage with independents. Gingrich is a reviled figure with only 32% of voters seeing him favorably to 55% with a negative opinion, including a 25/59 spread with independents.
Republicans can win Colorado next year- they just have to nominate Mitt Romney if they want to do it. If he was the GOP candidate it would be a toss up in the state, as he trails Obama only 47-45. Where Gingrich trails by 24 points with independents, Romney has only a 12 point deficit. Where Gingrich wins over only 11% of Democrats, Romney gets 14%. And even with Republicans where Gingrich gets 82% of his own party's vote, Romney gets 84%.
This is the trend we're seeing in our general election polling. Democrats and independents are much more inclined to vote for Romney than Gingrich. And even though Republican voters like Gingrich much better than Romney overall, there are fewer Republicans reluctant to vote for Romney in the general election than there are who are hesitant to vote for Newt. The GOP's move toward supporting Gingrich is seriously endangering its chances of winning in the fall.
If by some strange chance the Republicans nominated someone other than Romney or Gingrich Obama would have an easy time in Colorado. He leads Ron Paul by 9 points at 48-39, Rick Perry by 15 points at 52-37, and the now departed Herman Cain by 16 points at 52-36. There is one thing interesting when you dig in on the favorability numbers of the GOP second tier- Cain comes in at 23/62 and Perry does even worse at 16/69. As much negative publicity as Cain received last week, he's still not as unpopular as Perry.
Colorado could go back in the swing state category next year. Or it could be another easy Obama win as it was in 2008. It's really just going to depend on who the Republicans end up putting forward.
Full results here