DU Poll: Obama slightly ahead in Colorado, Romney won debate

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Mitt Romney, Barack Obama on stage a presidential debate hosted by the University of Denver on Oct. 3, 2012.

Mitt Romney, Barack Obama on stage a presidential debate hosted by the University of Denver on Oct. 3, 2012.

(CNN) – A new poll in Colorado released Sunday indicates President Barack Obama has a narrow advantage over Republican nominee Mitt Romney among likely voters in the state.

Despite Obama’s advantage, the poll also shows Colorado voters overwhelmingly consider Romney the winner of the first presidential debate.

The University of Denver survey was taken in the two days following the first presidential debate, which was hosted by the university. It shows Obama leading among likely Colorado voters by a slim margin, with 47% support to Romney’s 43%, a difference that is within the poll’s sampling error.

A CNN Poll of Polls taken before the debate, which averages three Colorado polls of likely voters from September 10 through 18, indicates Obama with 49% support to Romney’s 46% in the state.

Following a lackluster performance by the president, a CNN/ORC International Poll right after Wednesday’s showdown showed debate watchers rated Romney’s energetic performance better than Obama’s in their first matchup. Political pundits agreed.

The new survey shows a majority of Colorado voters followed the debate closely – 81% said they watched the debate, and another 14% said they had heard about it. And despite Obama’s advantage in the state, voters who watched or heard about the debate said Romney won the matchup by a wide margin – 68% to Obama’s 19%.

Of those responding to the survey, 47% were Obama supporters. Of that group, just 37% said the president did a better job at the debate.

According to the poll, 38% of likely voters in Colorado said their impression of Romney was improving. Only 18% of respondents said the same about Obama.

The Colorado poll also shows the president leading among independent voters by a wide margin – 48% to Romney 31%.

Colorado has nine electoral votes and is rated a toss-up on CNN’s Electoral Map. The swing state has a large Latino population, a growing demographic whose support both parties are vying for as the weeks wind down to November.

The poll found that 63% of likely Colorado voters favor a policy allowing illegal immigrants who live and work in the United States the chance to keep their jobs with an opportunity to apply for legal status.

Obama’s recent immigration policy – allowing some children of immigrants who came to the country illegally to defer deportation by two years if they meet certain requirements – is viewed favorably by a majority of respondents, with 68% supporting the policy.

The candidates will meet again in Hempstead, New York, in just over a week for the second presidential debate. Republican vice-presidential nominee Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden will face off Thursday in Danville, Kentucky in their one and only debate.

The University of Denver poll was conducted on October 4 and 5 via telephone interviews with 604 likely Colorado voters age 18 and over. The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points.

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