How bad have things got for President Obama's re-election chances in Colorado? His own allies are down on his chances at re-election and publicly knocking down his campaign's pretense of confidence. Governor Hickenlooper told Politico today that Obama will "have a hard time" winning Colorado in 2012 over voter dissatisfaction with the economy.

Speaking to one half of Politico's 2012 team, Burns and Haberman, at the National Governors Association meeting in Salt Lake City, he said:

"It depends on who his opponent [is]. I think it'd be a very close battle. He'd have a hard time.

There's such dissatisfaction over people who have been out of work, not just for a few months but for over a year and a half or two years."

Hick is the ultimate expedient. A weather vein. And his political judgment — his nose for finding the mainstream mindset of Colorado politics — has been awfully good. So when Hick starts scurrying off the ship, Obama's got problems.  

Obama's top strategist, David Axelrod, has said Colorado is a must-win for Obama.

Colorado political analyst, Floyd Ciruli, explained to Fox News this week how key Colorado is to Obama:

"The winning of a state like Colorado is going to be absolutely critical and will be to some extent a metaphor for the entire country. If you can't win in particular the Unaffiliated voter in Colorado, that independent voter, you probably can't carry a whole host of states in this country."

Hickenlooper's downgrading of Obama is big news and will play a large role in setting early expectations and the narrative surrounding the race for the Big Prize in the Centennial State.