'A Divided State'

Tuesday, August 26th 2008, 9:51 am
By: News 9

By Samantha Hayes, for NEWS 9

Aug. 25, 2008

DENVER -- By now, you may have noticed that just about everything done by the political parties and their candidates is well planned and timed for maximum effect. Barack Obama's suspense-filled announcement of his running mate last week is the perfect example. Every move is highly orchestrated and strategic. In other words, the Democrats didn't end up in Denver this week by accident.

Colorado is one of the emerging swing states in this election. And while it may only have nine electoral votes, it shares many of the same issues as other Western states also on the fence. Nevada may also be up for grabs as well as New Mexico. The three combined account for 19 electoral votes.

But it's shaping up to be a fight. The latest poll out of Colorado, conducted by Quinnipiac University shows McCain with 47 percent of the vote to Obama's 46 percent. It's basically tied. 7 percent of the 1,060 people surveyed were unsure. The poll was conducted before Obama announced Senator Joe Biden as his running mate.

Before I saw the results of that poll, I ran my own unscientific survey about Presidential preferences while milling around downtown Denver.  Perhaps the most interesting response I received was from an older couple, sitting on a bench in the shopping and restaurant corridor of the city. Peggy and Jack Houser have been married 51 years and they are both engaged in the political process. Jack told me he's excited about the election, because he "has a candidate." However, he chuckled, "shall we say it's not the one who's meeting here in Denver." Mr. Houser said he prefers McCain for his experience. "His history as a citizen and a Senator convinced me he would be the appropriate President for our country." As for his wife, Peggy? "Obama is my candidate," she countered. "I think I want everything changed that's been going on in the government recently." Mrs. Houser explained that she's not a dyed in the wool Democrat, but an independent who votes for whomever she feels will do a good job. I couldn't help but ask them about the nature of their "political" relationship. I wondered if they had interesting discussions at the dinner table. "We just don't go there," smiled Mr. Houser.

However, diplomacy will not be the name of the game in Denver this week. After losing the last two Presidential elections, the Democrats are fighting for every state with the explicit desire to change the way the electoral map currently looks. Colorado may be Spanish for the "color red," but Democrats want to see it turn blue in November.