"The Colorado model is to target ... the electorate of the ascendant — Hispanics, young voters, college graduates," said Floyd Ciruli, an independent pollster here.
Still, the state is not firmly in the Democrats' column.
Polls here have shown Obama's lead may be smaller than in other swing states. Democrats control the state Senate and Republicans the General Assembly. Hickenlooper says each party expects to win the other chamber — and it's possible.
Despite its right-tilting reputation, Colorado has long harbored an independent streak. It's been a more politically diverse state than the stereotypes.
Dick Wadhams, a veteran Republican operative and former chairman of the state party, notes that Colorado often has elected Democratic governors and U.S. senators — sometimes at the same time that it voted Republicans into other state offices. "I don't think either party will ever have a permanent hold on this state," Wadhams said.
And Walt Klein, a veteran GOP consultant and ad man, says no one should expect Colorado politics to become predictable.
"The pendulum swings back and forth," he said, "and will continue to do so."
EDITOR'S NOTE _ An occasional look at how and why various states became presidential battlegrounds
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