As The New York Times writes in a story reported from Fort Collins, the home of the Colorado State University Rams, the college vote this year is “up for grabs.” And that’s something of a surprise less than two years after the monumental election of a Democratic majority and President Barack Obama.

It seems more than just hope has faded for 18- to 29-year-olds amid the lingering recession. Many don’t consider themselves Democrats anymore, and that could spell trouble for the campaign to re-elect Congresswoman Betsy Markey, the Democrat who unseated Republican Marilyn Musgrave to represent the state’s 4th Congressional District.

While young voters don’t seem exactly enamored with Republicans either, Markey’s opponent, GOP candidate Cory Gardner, is doing quite well in a new poll, with a healthy 11-point lead, according to the Coloradoan. That’s if the GOP-affiliated group that conducted the poll can be trusted.

The results inspired predictable negative slams from each side. Gardner’s campaign claims Markey is little more than a “rubber stamp for Nancy Pelosi and Barack Obama’s failed economic policies and health care takeover,” while Markey’s campaign retorts that Gardner “can’t run from his hypocrisy or his outrageous special interest-driven record forever.” (Doug Aden, of the American Constitution Party, and independent Ken Waskiewicz are also running for the CD-4 seat, but neither candidate was included in the poll’s questions.)

Administered by the conservative American Action Forum, the poll indicates Democrats are struggling throughout the West, including Congressman John Salazar, the incumbent Democrat representing Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, who faces Republican Scott Tipton.