A new poll released today from Quinnipiac University shows a tight race for the key swing state of Colorado in the upcoming 2016 presidential race. Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is winning against most potential Republican candidates in the poll, but Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) does hold a small lead against Clinton. The following is an in-depth analysis of the the Quinnipiac poll. For more polling updates up through 2016 presidential election follow this page on Twitter, Facebook, or subscribe through the link on the left.
The Overall Numbers
According to the Quinnipiac poll Clinton leads all but one of the potential Republican challengers in Colorado as seen below:
- Clinton (42 percent) versus Gov. Chris Christie (40 percent)
- Sen. Rand Paul (46 percent) versus Clinton (43 percent)
- Clinton (44 percent) versus fmr. Gov. Jeb Bush (40 percent)
- Clinton (44 percent) versus fmr. Gov. Mike Huckabee (41 percent)
What the Poll Means
Clinton shows small leads against all the potential Republican candidates and Rand Paul manages to defeat her according to the Quinnipiac data. Paul boasts himself as a more of a libertarian style Republican, which may appeal to the independents and even some of the younger Democrats in Colorado.
Colorado has a total of nine Electoral College votes. A candidate needs 270 votes to win, so while Colorado's vote total may seem small it is considered one of the few swing states that tend to decide who wins.
In 2012 President Obama won Colorado versus Mitt Romney (Obama 51 percent to 45 percent for Mitt Romney) and won the Electoral College by a 332-206 margin over Romney. In 2008 President Obama won the state versus Senator John McCain (Obama 54 percent to 45 percent for McCain).
The Quinnipiac poll suggest that Colorado is turning more red as Clinton has generally polled stronger in other states.
Comparison to Other Polls
A PPP poll from March showed Clinton with a seven point lead against Christie, a three point lead against Paul, a nine point lead against Bush, and a seven point lead against Huckabee.
Another Quinnipiac University poll from April found Clinton tied with Christie, Paul with a five point lead against Clinton, Clinton with a five point lead against Bush, and Clinton with a one point lead against Huckabee.
So that is three polls from two different organizations which show that Rand Paul polls best against Clinton in Colorado, and all three polls also indicate a tightening race in the state compared to 2012.
Every poll is ultimately based on a sampling of potential voters. A number of factors can influence the poll's accuracy such as sample size and composition
In this poll Quinnipiac surveyed 1,147 registered voters. The poll has a margin of error of +/- 2.9 percentage points. Quinnipiac called both land line and cell phone users.
Of the poll's respondents, 29 percent identified themselves as Republican and 27 percent identified themselves as Democrats. The largest group, 37 percent, identified themselves as independents. These party identification breakdowns might slightly underweight the strength of Democrats. A CNN exit poll in 2012 found that 34 percent of the state's vote identified as Democratic, with 29 percent identifying as Republican and 37 percent as independents.
In his 2012 ratings Nate Silver found Quinnipiac to be an average pollster in terms of accuracy. In 5 polls done before the 2012 presidential election Quinnipiac showed a 0.3 point bias for the Democratic candidate, on average, when compared to the actual results from the election.