DENVER — When the general election campaign began in earnest last spring, Colorado was among the swing states that looked most promising for President Obama.
As his strategists worried quietly about keeping blue-collar whites in places like Ohio and Iowa in his column, they took comfort from demographic shifts over the years that have put traditionally Republican-leaning Colorado in play.
But while both sides agree that Obama has a slight edge over Mitt Romney in this state where the two men will hold their first debate Wednesday night, Colorado appears — for now, at least — to be more competitive than many of the swing states that have recently moved more clearly in the president’s direction.
Four years ago, Obama won Colorado by 9 percent over John McCain, but the incumbent currently leads Romney by just 3.1 percent in the RCP polling average.
Colorado’s unemployment rate of 8.2 percent is slightly higher than the national average of 8.1 percent, but according to observers of state politics, there is no single reason why the president’s advantage here is less strong than it is in those other battlegrounds.
Some say the Centennial State’s shift to the left in 2008 may simply not have had the staying power Democrats hoped would be the case.
“The history of this state is very much Republican-leaning,