The first debate of the presidential campaign will be taking place in a state that tipped in favor of President Barack Obama in 2008, when he became only the second Democrat to win Colorado since 1964.
It is also where, like the rest of the country, unemployment is high—the economy and the federal debt dominated the congressional debate here, with Republicans echoing arguments at the national level casting Democrats as hooked on big government and excessive spending, and Democrats portraying Republicans as favoring the rich at the expense of low- and middle-income Americans.
If the tenor of political discussions in Colorado mirrors that unfolding on the national stage, the electorate in this critical battleground state also reflects to a large degree the demographic and ideological diversity among U.S. voters.
The state’s three million active voters are evenly split among Democrats, Republicans and Independents. Mitt Romney won the GOP caucus in Colorado in 2008, but Rick Santorum—who aggressively courted conservative voters—won it this year. It was a reminder that the state’s longtime conservative voting bloc, influenced in the 1980’s and 1990’s by the Colorado-based right-wing religious advocacy group Focus on the Family, remains relevant.
Meanwhile, Colorado’s Hispanic population—mainly of Mexican origin—has surged more than 40 percent over the past decade.
Latinos accounted for most of Colorado’s population growth in the last decade. Denver, the state’s largest city, is more than 30 percent Latino. They are about 13 percent of the state’s voters, and could determine which candidate receives the state’s nine electoral votes.
More than 60 percent of the state’s Latino voters chose Obama in 2008, 38 percent chose his GOP challenger, Sen. John McCain of Arizona. In their message to Latinos, Obama supporters in Colorado have been hammering away at Romney as extreme on immigration.
The Obama campaign has had active “on-the-ground” Latino outreach for months in Colorado. By contrast, during the GOP primary, the Republican candidates generally devoted far more attention to Iowa, Nevada and Florida, among other places, than to Colorado. Read the full article on FOX NEWS Latino.