Salena Zito

The House race at the center of the presidential election has Coors up 45-to-36, with 55 percent of the district favoring repeal of Obamacare.

Still, Coors is being hit with ads by Perlmutter, by the Democrats’ House Majority PAC and by AFSCME, the government-workers union.

Colorado is the face of the new West and a new political power. Known for its picturesque mountains and ski resorts, it also is home to enormous energy resources – gas, oil, coal – as well as to aerospace-manufacturing and health-care businesses.

Jobs associated with the oil-and-gas boom are natural votes for Romney. And, although he lags behind with Colorado’s many Hispanic voters, interviews with young people across the state showed strong support for him.

Interview after interview here also revealed that Obama’s problem in Colorado, among Democrats who voted for him in 2008, is enthusiasm: About one-third will “probably still vote for him” (a line heard over and over), one-third will go for Romney, and the final third will just stay home.

U.S. 34 begins hundreds of miles to the west of here and, for part of its way, has Rocky Mountain National Park as a stunning backdrop – making it the highest paved highway in the country. It peaks at an elevation of 12,183 feet, so high up that snow keeps it closed in the park for much of the year; long wooden poles line its switchbacks, so summer road crews know where to go for the annual snow-clearing.

All along its twisting route – as on Colorado’s other rural byways, in its neighborhoods and Main Street shop-windows, and even adorning some pretty beat-up cars – you see plenty of Romney-Ryan campaign signs.

Salena Zito

Salena Zito is a political analyst, reporter and columnist.