Late October-early November poll numbers show a steady, albeit razor-thin, lead for Colorado’s Republican U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner, according to polling data aggregator RealClearPolitics.
A YouGov poll gives Democratic Sen. Mark Udall just a single percentage point advantage, while a USA Today/Suffolk University poll shows Gardner with a larger, seven-point lead.
Gardner is ahead in virtually every October poll with the exception of one – a CBS News/New York Times/YouGov poll
that gave Udall a one-point advantage.
"When Mark Udall began this cycle, most analysts thought that he was invulnerable," according to RealClearPolitics’ race preview. "But his approval ratings have sunk along with the president’s."
The RealClearPolitics average has Gardner with a 3.9 percent spread.
Though many of the polling data results fall within the margin of error, the trend indicates a race that is tacking in Gardner’s direction.
The Huffington Post Pollster
, an up-to-date poll-tracking model that combines the latest opinion polls, shows Gardner with 48 percent of the vote compared to Udall’s 45.6 percent, predicting a 61 percent probability that Gardner will beat Udall, a turn-about since April when Udall had a 10-point lead over Gardner.
Udall came into office at the same time as President Barack Obama, and like Obama, Udall has seen his approval ratings flounder in The Centennial State.
Also impacting the race is Colorado’s swing-state reputation, which is impacted by a burgeoning Hispanic population and an influx of young people, according to the Boston Globe
. The Globe reports that those trends have "led both parties to view the state as a political laboratory that could foreshadow the shape of American politics for years to come."
Colorado, according to the Globe, is in many ways a petri dish for battleground races across the country.
"The same tensions that have made the state one of the top battlegrounds in this year’s elections exist in some form throughout the country: the battle over independent female voters, Democrats’ emphasis on reproductive rights, and Republicans’ determination to capitalize on an unpopular president and offer up more broadly appealing candidates for their own party," according to the Globe.
The outcome will likely be telling for other states.
"This Colorado Senate race has national implications, and it’s taken an ugly turn for the incumbent," Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll told The Washington Times
GOP political consultant Dick Wadhams agreed, telling the Globe that a Gardner win would have "repercussions beyond Colorado and beyond 2014."
"If Democrats win, despite a strong Republican candidate and a national environment that favors the GOP, it raises the question of whether Colorado has gone blue," he said.
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