Obama leads Romney 53 to 40 percent in Colorado, which is one of 12 states that will be critical in determining the outcome of the 2012 election.

Obama will need to win about half of the electoral votes provided by Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and New Hampshire if he is to secure a second term.

A number of recent polls show Obama opening up a healthy lead in those states, with a USA Today/Gallup poll earlier this month showing Obama up by 9 points.

The problem areas for Romney in the swing-state polls — a poor favorability rating and a massive gender gap — are even more pronounced in Colorado.

Romney’s favorability has gone from 35 percent favorable and 53 unfavorable — an 18-point disparity in Colorado — to 31 favorable and 60 unfavorable, according to PPP — a 29-point gap.

The president also holds big leads over Romney among women (58 percent to 34), independents (57 percent to 31) and young voters (72 percent to 17).

With Santorum dropping out of the race on Tuesday, the race between Obama and Romney could tighten, but Ron Paul presently fairs best against the president in Colorado, trailing only 47 percent to 42.