As the Democratic National Convention opens today in Denver, voters in the swing state of Colorado are giving the newly minted ticket of Barack Obama and Joe Biden a 5 point lead (44-39) over presumptive Republican nominee John McCain of Arizona – suggesting Colorado may be rocky territory for the once dominant GOP, according to a poll released today by Suffolk University.

"With Colorado among at least seven battleground states that will swing this Presidential election, an Obama lead here puts enormous pressure on John McCain," said David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Suffolk University in Boston. "Should Obama go on to win Colorado, it would almost force McCain to run the table with the remaining battleground states or lose the election."

Libertarian Party nominee Bob Barr and Independent Ralph Nader each polled 2 percent, while 12 percent of voters surveyed were undecided. There are 15 candidates for president listed on the Colorado ballot.

Most Democratic respondents gave Obama high marks in the expectations game. Some 78 percent of Democratic respondents said the Obama campaign had met or exceeded expectations while just 16 percent said the campaign had not met expectations. In addition, only 19 percent of likely Democratic voters thought that Obama, by picking a male running mate, would have a problem with women voters. By contrast, 70 percent said that it would not be a problem.

Exactly 71 percent of Democratic respondents were happy with Joe Biden as the VP pick while 11 percent wanted someone else. (The Biden questions were only asked of respondents in two of the four field days).

When all voters were asked who would be the stronger candidate against John McCain - Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton - 60 percent indicated Obama; 28 percent said Clinton; and 10 percent were undecided.

“The notion and significance of Democrats irreparably disaffected by the tough primary fight between Obama and New York Senator Hillary Clinton seems to be more of an obsession with the Beltway chattering classes than with the electorate,” Paleologos said.

Obama widely won the perception game, as well. When asked who would be the next president, regardless of their personal preference, 52 percent of voters polled said Barack Obama, 28 percent said John McCain, and 19 percent were undecided.

The Obama 5 percent lead over McCain included an 8 percent lead in the initial ballot test and, when undecided respondents were asked who they were leaning toward, McCain closed the gap among "leaners" to 5 percent.

 In the fight for the U.S. Senate seat this November, Democrat Mark Udall (39 percent) led Republican Bob Schaffer (31 percent), American Constitution Party Douglas "Dayhorse" Campbell (4 percent), and Green Party Robert Kinsey (2 percent). There were 22 percent undecided for U.S. Senate.

The bellwether of Alamosa County showed Obama (40 percent) leading McCain (36 percent) with Barr and Nader each receiving 1 percent while 16 percent were undecided and 6 percent refused. In 2008, Suffolk University bellwethers were 95 percent accurate in predicting straight-up winners in both Democratic and Republican primaries, and, when coupled with the sister statewide Suffolk polls of the respective states, were 100 percent accurate in predicting straight-up winners.

 The Suffolk University poll was conducted Thursday, August 21, 2008, through Sunday, August 24, 2008. The margin of error on the study of 450 is +/- 4.6 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. All respondents from the Colorado statewide survey were likely voters from all parties in Colorado. Separate from the statewide poll there were 300 respondents from Alamosa County, Colo. Marginals and 186 pages of cross-tabulation data will be posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center Web site on Monday, Aug. 25, 2008. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.