Our Colorado poll last week was a perfect prism into the 2010 elections...it's still a lot more about Democrats needing to find a way to get their voters motivated than it is about huge numbers of Obama voters bolting for the GOP.
In 2008 Barack Obama won Colorado by nine points and Mark Udall won the Senate race in the state by ten. Now Michael Bennet's ahead by only three points in the Senate race and John Hickenlooper's tied in the Gubernatorial race.
Here's the thing though: Bennet is actually winning over more McCain voters (11%) than Jane Norton is Obama voters (8%). And even though Scott McInnis is winning over more Obama voters (10%) than Hickenlooper is McCain voters (7%) it's not a huge difference.
So if people are generally voting for the same party they did in 2008 why is Colorado looking so much more competitive this time around? It's because Republicans continue to be comparatively much more motivated to vote this year. Even though Obama won the state by nine points, those planning to vote this fall at this point only supported Obama by two points. It's not that people's opinions have changed all that much....just that who's energized has changed.
That's something Democrats may or may not be able to find a way to fix between now and November, but two things are clear. There are not a whole lot of 2008 Obama voters going to the Republicans. And even if the GOP does pick up some big wins in the Mountain West this year it doesn't indicate a reverse of the trend toward the Democrats in that region- it just indicates that trend may be taking a nap in 2010 before continuing on in the next election cycle.