New poll shows Udall, Hickenlooper leading GOP challengers
WASHINGTON — An NBC News/Marist poll released Tuesday show Democrats Sen. Mark Udall and Gov. John Hickenlooper leading in their races to be re-elected in November.
With less than four months until Election Day, Udall leads Republican challenger Cory Gardner 48 percent to 41 percent, with 10 percent undecided in the survey of registered Colorado voters.
That’s a far wider lead than most public and private polls of likely voters have shown, and Republicans believe polling likely voters provides a more accurate sample of a midterm electorate where turnout is significantly less than in presidential years.
The big takeaway from the poll is something we already know: Udall’s chances of reelection go up in almost direct proportion to increased voter turnout.
Calling the Udall-Gardner match-up perhaps the “closest Senate race in the country,” political forecaster Stuart Rothenberg Tuesday tweaked his assessment of the race.
“We have had this contest rated as Leans Democrat, and we continue to believe that Udall deserves to have the advantage, both because of fundamentals and recent polling,” Rothenberg writes. “But Gardner may well be the best GOP challenger in the country, and we are moving the race to Tossup/Tilts Democrat, which better reflects the overall competitiveness of the contest.”
RELATED: NBC News Marist Poll
But Gardner still has work to do in broadening his appeal with a diversifying statewide electorate.
Udall leads among women (50 percent to 38 percent), Latinos (58 percent to 27 percent) and independents (50 percent to 34 percent).
Democrats have been hammering Gardner on women’s health issues from everything to his support for personhood and for legislation redefining rape, the subject of a new TV ad from Senate Majority PAC hitting Colorado’s airwaves Tuesday.
In the governor’s race, Hickenlooper leads GOP opponent Bob Beauprez 49 percent to 43 percent, with 7 percent undecided.
Hickenlooper also has a big advantage over Beauprez among independents, 52 percent to 35 percent. Overall, Hickenlooper’s job-approval rating is at 54 percent.
Still, lingering feelings over the new health care law give Republicans a chance. Among those polled, 52 percent said Obamacare is a bad idea, with 46 percent strongly holding that position. Only 37 percent think the law is a good idea. President Barack Obama’s approval rating is just 40 percent. Obama won the state in 2008 and 2012.
On the gun issue, 40 percent of those polled said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who believes the sale of guns should be less strict, while 52 percent say the opposite.
“In Colorado, on the gun control issue, there was a sentiment not to do much of anything. People don’t want to support someone who wants to limit (the laws); they don’t want someone who wants to weaken the restrictions,” pollster Lee Miringoff said. “It’s very polarized.”