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Examining political leanings in Colo.

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Colorado is one of the key swing states in the presidential election. With nine electoral votes up for grabs, it is an important state for President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney to win. The map and data below tell the story of the demographic and political makeup of Colorado before the election. What will sway voters in this state? What do we know about them? We’ll be sure to check back after Nov. 6 to see what the election results reveal.

General population statistics

The Centennial State has slightly more than 5.1 million people. Denver is the capital and the state’s most populous city, with a population of about 620,000. Here are some key demographic statistics about Colorado.




Median Age



% Male / % Female



Median Household Income



% Hispanic Population



Median Home Value



Source: Esri Updated Demographics 2011/2016

Residents of Colorado are more liberal overall than the average American. Esri, the world leader in geographic-information systems, provides market-potential data that include the Market Potential Index. The index measures the probability that adults or households in a specific area will exhibit certain consumer behavior compared with the U.S. average. The index is tabulated to represent a value of 100 as the overall demand for the U.S.

Market Potential Variable


Consider self very conservative


Consider self somewhat conservative


Consider self middle of the road


Consider self somewhat liberal


Consider self very liberal


Source: Esri Market Potential Database, GfK MRI

A resident of Colorado is 2% more likely than the average American to consider himself very conservative and 5% more likely to consider himself somewhat conservative. Although a Colorado resident is a little more likely to consider himself conservative than the average American, the person is a bit more likely to consider himself liberal. A resident of Colorado is 11% more likely than the average American to consider himself somewhat liberal and 7% more likely than the average American to consider himself very liberal.

Colorado politics Market Potential Index

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Where people live in Colorado seems to somewhat sway their political leanings. For Democrats, it is important to know that the ZIP code with the highest likelihood of very liberal voters is 80203, which is in Denver. The index for someone there considering himself very liberal is 302, meaning the person is 3.02 times more likely to consider himself more liberal than the average American. For Republicans, the most conservative ZIP code is 80912, which is in Colorado Springs. The index for someone there considering himself very conservative is 214, meaning the person is 2.14 times more likely than the average American to consider himself very conservative.

Colorado Tapestry Segmentation

Esri also developed the Tapestry Segmentation system that classifies U.S. residential neighborhoods into 65 unique market segments based on socioeconomic and demographic characteristics. The top tapestry segments for the Colorado:

Tapestry Segment

% Adults

Up and Coming Families






In Style


Main Street USA


Sophisticated Squires


Suburban Splendor


Aspiring Young Families




Rural Resort Dwellers


Residents of Tapestry’s Up and Coming Families neighborhoods, for example, are young, affluent families with younger children. Eighty percent of the households are families. The median household income is $69,522, and nearly two-thirds of residents age 25 and older have attended college; more than 1 in 5 holds a bachelor’s degree. Boomburbs neighborhoods have a high concentration of young families with children. The median age for Boomburbs is 36.1. There is little ethnic diversity in the population; most of the residents are white. More than half have a college education, and the median household income is $104,395.

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One key factor in the election is unemployment. This has varied by state. When Obama was sworn in as president in January 2009, Colorado had an unemployment rate of 7.2%. In July 2012, the latest data available by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, that number had risen to 8.3%. Of course, each county varies based on its individual situation.

Colorado unemployment change: January 2009 to July 2012

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Most counties in Colorado have a higher unemployment rate than when Obama took office. Lake County had the biggest increase, with unemployment going from 6.8% in January 2009 to 10.0% in July 2012. San Juan County went the other way, with unemployment at 9.1% in January 2009 and 5% in July 2012.

Why does this matter?

Understanding the type of people who live in Colorado can help Obama and Romney target their campaigns and even messaging. Knowing local issues, the demographic makeup of an area, political leanings or what types of activities interest residents can help them find supporters — at a very local level — and help them be in a better position win the election.

More information about Esri’s data can be found at To learn more about Esri in general, go to

Pam Allison is a consultant in digital media, marketing strategy and location intelligence. Visit her blog at