Mitt Romney backers tout poll showing him behind Barack Obama -- but not by much

In addition to campaigns and super PACs pouring money into local television ads, one of the many (dubious?) perks of Colorado being a key swing state in the presidential election is lots and lots of polls. And there's good reason for all the attention: It's shaping up to be a very close race here.

At least according to the most recent poll, that is.

The poll numbers released yesterday come from a project called Purple Poll that focuses exclusively on twelve states that are thought to most likely determine whether President Barack Obama will be re-elected: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The PurplePoll is run by Purple Insights, the research division of Purple Strategies, which calls itself "a bipartisan public affairs firm."

The Republican National Committee in Colorado pushed this latest poll yesterday afternoon, arguing that it shows Obama losing his lead in the state.

The takeaway points that the RNC highlights? Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney is trailing Obama 45-44 percent in Colorado -- well within the margin of error. In addition, 51 percent of Coloradans disapprove of the job Obama is doing, and 42 percent of Coloradans think our economy is headed in the wrong direction, while just 30 percent think it's getting better. The RNC says these stats show that Romney continues to gain on Obama in Colorado.

RNC Spokeswoman Ellie Wallace yesterday sent along the poll with this statement:

When over half of Coloradans disapprove of the job the president is doing, it's clear that something has to change. Coloradans are ready for a president who is committed to putting the best interest of the middle class first instead of the needs of his political buddies who are looking for our tax dollars.

Still, it's worth noting that not everything in the poll is good news for Romney.

In the "Romney favorability" category in Colorado, 37 percent view him favorably, 55 percent unfavorably and 9 percent are not sure.

In general, though, the two candidates seem to be going head-to-head in many categories. In Colorado, the poll finds that 46 percent of respondents said Obama is unable to improve the economy, while 45 percent say Romney couldn't do a better job (and 8 percent are not sure).

The race seems to be pretty close in many of the key swing states, according to the poll, which shows that Ohio has swung back to Obama, Romney leads in Florida, and Colorado and Virginia remain extremely tight. Also of interest: The poll says that in Colorado and Virginia, independent voters lean to Romney by 6 percent.

Last week, a poll from a super PAC supporting Obama showed that voters were leaning to Obama more so in Colorado than the average swing states. We've reached out to the Colorado Obama campaign office this morning to see if they want to weigh in on the findings in this latest poll. We'll update when and if we hear back.

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Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin. E-mail the author at [email protected].

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