DENVER — Barack Obama leads John McCain by five percentage points in Colorado, where Democrats are poised to formally make the Illinois senator their presidential nominee, a just-released Suffolk University poll shows.
Mr. Obama is ahead of the Arizona senator by 44 percent to 39 percent in a state that Republicans once dominated.
Libertarian Party nominee Bob Barr, a former conservative Republican from Georgia, and independent Ralph Nader, a perennial candidate of the left, each polled 2 percent, and 12 percent of the 450 respondents were undecided in the Aug. 21-24 poll that had an error margin of plus or minus 4.6 percent.
“The presidential race comes down to seven states that could go either way, and Colorado is one of them,” David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Suffolk University in Boston, told The Washington Times.
“Nevada, Missouri, Ohio, Virginia, Florida and New Hampshire are the other six, but these may change over time,” he said. “All Obama needs to do is pick one or two, and the third-party or independent candidates could make a difference.”
Mr. Paleologos said that when all voters were asked who would be the stronger candidate against Mr. McCain Mr. Obama or New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, 60 percent named Mr. Obama, while 28 percent said Mrs. Clinton, and 10 percent were undecided.
This suggested that the Democratic the harsh Obama-Clinton primary battle and Mr. Obama’s not putting her on the ticket has not left the Democratic Party as disunited as some have claimed at least in Colorado, Mr. Paleologos said.
Among independent voters, Mr. Obama took 43 percent, Mr. McCain 34 percent, Green Party candidate Cynthia McKinney 2 percent, with 31 percent undecided.
An earlier poll by Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, with a much larger sample, had Mr. McCain leading Mr. Obama by a statistically insignificant one percentage point 47 percent to 46 percent.
Colorado has voted for the Republican presidential candidate in all but three elections since World War II but is considered up for grabs this time. In the 2004, President Bush defeated Democrat John Kerry by 4.7 percent.
The state now has nine votes in the Electoral College.