The presidential contest for Colorado’s nine electoral votes is getting tighter as Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump with 41 percent to 36 percent, according to a Magellan Strategies poll of 500 likely voters poll released Thursday.
But Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson has the support of 13 percent of likely voters, followed by Green Party nominee Dr. Jill Stein. The poll had 6 percent of respondents as undecided.
The Magellan poll shows a much tighter race than at the end of July, when the Clinton campaign capped its local TV ad buys, a move taken to mean that the campaign was confident enough in a Colorado to shift resources elsewhere.
“The difference this election cycle compared to 2012 is that the Democratic candidate does not have as many unaffiliated voters in her column,” wrote David Flaherty, the CEO of Magellan Strategies, which conducted the poll Aug. 29 to Aug. 31.
Two other polls validated that judgement, showing the former first lady with double-digit leads–then.
The NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist College poll, conducted Aug. 4 through Aug. 10, had Clinton leading Trump with 46 percent to his 32 percent.
The Quinnipiac University poll, conducted Aug. 9 through Aug. 16, showed Clinton with a 10 point lead over Trump, 49 percent to his 39 percent.
Flaherty wrote that in 2012, President Barack Obama was the choice of unaffiliated voters over his GOP rival W. Mitt Romney, but in 2016, the unaffiliated voters have the option of Johnson.
“We see Gary Johnson is starting to gain relevant support among unaffiliated voters with 22 percent supporting him,” the former official with the Republican National Committee said. “He is within the margin of error of Donald Trump, who has 24 percent support.” Clinton is the choice of 38 percent of unaffiliated voters.
Among unaffiliated voters, 22 percent have a favorable opinion of Trump compared to 36 percent for Clinton. The poll did not ask about respondents of an opinion of Johnson.
According to figures released by the state, Independents are the largest voting bloc in Colorado at 34 percent, Republicans at 32.3 percent and Democrats at 31.9 percent. This is a significant shift from the Republicans position in 2012, when they held a five point advantage over Democrats with 36.2 percent to the Democrats at 31.6 percent.
Flaherty wrote that he is still unsure about voter turnout for 2016.
“There is are strong arguments to be made that Donald Trump’s candidacy could depress some Republican voters from casting a ballot,” he said. “However, there is also a plausible argument to be made that Hillary Clinton’s campaign is struggling to motivate and inspire some Democrats and younger voters to cast a ballot.”
Colorado is now an all-mail ballot state. Ballots are mailed out beginning Oct. 17. Ballots must be received by 7 p.m., Election Day Nov. 8.