Q-poll: Gardner 44, Udall 42 in Colorado Senate race

posted at 4:01 pm on July 17, 2014 by Guy Benson

Noah wrote up Quinnipiac’s gubernatorial poll yesterday, prompting me to wonder over at Townhall whether the polling outfit was holding back its Senate numbers for separate release.  We now have our answer. A virtual deadlock, and advantage Gardner:

The closely-watched U.S. Senate race is tied with 44 percent for U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, the Republican challenger, and 42 percent for Sen. Mark Udall, the Democratic incumbent, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. Another 10 percent are undecided. This compares to the results of an April 24 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University showing Sen. Udall at 45 percent to 44 percent for Rep. Gardner. Today, Udall leads 86 – 5 percent among Democrats, while Republicans go to Gardner 85 – 5 percent. Independent voters go 43 percent for Udall and 40 percent for Gardner. Colorado voters give Udall a negative 42 – 46 percent job approval rating, his lowest net approval ever and down from a 42 – 42 percent split in April. Voters say 49 – 40 percent that Udall does not deserve to be reelected, tying his lowest score on that measure.

Gardner and Udall have each consolidated their respective bases, with independents cutting ever so slightly in favor of the Democratic incumbent.  In most national polling, independents are leaning heavily toward the GOP this cycle, so Colorado appears to be anomalous.  Notable is the fact that this poll is among registered, not likely, voters — so if nationwide trends hold up, November’s electorate could tilt further in Gardner’s favor.  On the other hand, the Colorado Left’s operation has been ruthlessly effective at turning out voters in recent cycles.  In 2012, RealClearPolitics‘ final polling average showed Barack Obama very narrowly leading Mitt Romney in the state; the president ended up carrying Colorado by a comfortable five-and-a-half points.  The GOP hasn’t won a major statewide race there since 2004.  All of which is to say that while this survey is no doubt welcome news to the Gardner campaign, there is much work to be done.  From Udall’s perspective, there are a number of worrisome nuggets in the Q-poll data, beyond his all-time low scores on job approval and “deserve to be re-elected” trackers:

- Gardner leads by five points on helping the middle class, with the Republican challenger outpacing the incumbent on the measure of who “cares about [voters'] needs and problems.”  Udall’s struggling badly on bread-and-butter Democratic advantages.

- The two candidates are tied on handling the minimum wage and immigration, issues Democrats typically try to exploit.

- Udall is getting clobbered on government spending and gun control; Gardner has clear a advantage (eight and 13 points, respectively) on each.

- President Obama’s approval rating in Colorado remains deep underwater, at 39/58.

Udall has a slight edge on “energy and environment” issues, but Gardner has been pounding away on the Keystone XL, which Udall (and one of Udall’s wealthiest benefactors) opposes.  The Democrat has recently been forced to backpedal away from an anti-fracking initiative, as Democrats worry that Republicans are gaining the upper hand on energy.  Perhaps the most concerning data point for Gardner — aside from his nine-point deficit with women, for which he compensates with a double-digit lead among men — is that voters split exactly evenly (41/41) on which candidate is preferable on Obamacare.  Polling from earlier this year shows that Colorado voters strongly disapprove of the law, yet Gardner is thus far failing to capitalize on what should be a winning issue for him.  He’ll have an opportunity to prosecute that case in debates and over the air, and he’ll have plenty of resources on the latter front.  The Republican hauled in a substantial $2.7 million in Q2 fundraising, though he still trails the money race overall.  The Democratic incumbent’s coffers were topped off earlier this month when President Obama held a high-dollar fundraiser for Mark Udall, a glitzy event that wasn’t attended by, er, Mark Udall:

President Barack Obama on Wednesday will headline his first fundraiser for a Senate Democrat in danger of losing this fall — but the candidate, Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, won’t be by his side. In a last minute switch, Udall’s campaign says the senator plans to stay in Washington to vote on Obama’s nominee to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The decision is likely to spark new questions about the political risks for vulnerable Democrats in being linked with an increasingly unpopular president.

It’s also worth pointing out.  Polling in this race is all over the map.  A new Marist/NBC poll gives Udall a seven-point lead over Gardner, while Gravis shows Gardner ahead by four.  I’ll leave you with a pair of web ads from the Gardner campaign, shackling Udall to the aforementioned “increasingly unpopular president:”

Udall touting Obama’s commitment to veterans (in the process of dodging question about whether he’ll campaign alongside the president) is especially painful in light of the VA scandal that has since exploded. By the way, Mark Udall votes with the president with whom he doesn’t want to be seen 99 percent of the time.  The Gardner camp would be wise to drive that message home relentlessly.  Independents may not care for Udall’s rigid partisanship and slavish devotion to a president of whom they disapprove by a whopping (35/61) margin, according to Quinnipiac.


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Unless Gardner does something stupid Udall should just start packing now.

NotCoach on July 17, 2014 at 4:03 PM

Oh, please lord, make it so

MTF on July 17, 2014 at 4:06 PM

Is this the guy who had 0bama come out to Colorado to fund raise for him, but udall stayed away? Udall thought his voters are so stupid that they wouldn’t figure out he was trying to pull the wool over their eyes. HE LOVES 0BAMA!
WAKE UP COLORADO.

Bambi on July 17, 2014 at 4:08 PM

Go, Gardner, Go!

Deafdog on July 17, 2014 at 4:09 PM

If Udall as an incumbent is polling in the low 40′s with registered voters he is pretty much toast. The likely sample will give Gardner another couple of points.

Ta111 on July 17, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Follow the ground war in Gaza on Instagram, #gaza #telaviv #haifa etc.

You get real live unfiltered warfare and you don’t have to wait for CNN.

PappyD61 on July 17, 2014 at 4:25 PM

Is Gardner an actual conservative or is he just another rubber stamp for the establishment wing of the party(aka GOP leadership) who directly fund attack ads against conservatives in other states, calling them racists and KKK members?

If Gardner is not someone who will oppose the GOP leadership, he can go piss up a rope.

tcufrog on July 17, 2014 at 4:29 PM

That’s way too close. The Dems can easily find enough ballots in car trunks to steal it.

AUINSC on July 17, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Unless Gardner does something stupid Udall should just start packing now.

NotCoach on July 17, 2014 at 4:03 PM

You mean like listen to the RNC?

right2bright on July 17, 2014 at 4:35 PM

Lets not forget the felon vote. In the last MN Senate race there were enough disqualified felons voting to steal/seal the election for Al Franken.

Gebirgsjager on July 17, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Udall votes with Reid 99% of the time but now wants people to think he’s a “moderate”

cat_owner on July 17, 2014 at 4:37 PM

Gardner 44, Udall 42 in Colorado Senate race

Close enough for the Democrats to easily steal this one.

Gunlock Bill on July 17, 2014 at 4:42 PM

GOP cannot win a race close enough to need a recount. Witness recounts since Lyndon Johnson was first elected to the Senate when Archie Parr came up with surprise ballot that put Lyndon over the top. He declared “you always hold a few boxes until you see what you need”. Latest case was Al Franken. If you’re a Republican, win BIG, or you lose.

OldSnakeDriver on July 17, 2014 at 4:52 PM

So basically Udall’s non-stop attack ads on Gardner about abortion and birth control are not helping Udall.

And the GOP and/or Gardner campaign and/or conservative PACs have started hitting Udall on being a King Putt and Nanny Bloomy lackey.
If they hit much harder, which I hope they do, this will not be pretty for Udall.

dentarthurdent on July 17, 2014 at 4:55 PM

Gardner needs to start hammering away at Obamacare, and also stress his support for fracking and in-situ development of shale oil on Federal lands. Colorado is sitting on some 300-400 billion barrels of shale oil, enough to supply the entire country for about 50 years, which could bring a HUGE economic boom to the state if it was allowed to be developed.

Steve Z on July 17, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Close enough for the Democrats to easily steal this one.

Gunlock Bill on July 17, 2014 at 4:42 PM

Not really. Udall gets only 42% in the poll, and he’s playing from behind.

NotCoach on July 17, 2014 at 4:57 PM

Udall can only muster 42% and is underwater in approval in a poll of registered (not likely) voters?

He might as well start sending out resumes.

Bart DePalma on July 17, 2014 at 5:02 PM

Based on what I know of Gardner and what I’ve heard from him, he seems like a great candidate. The campaign knows this is a very winnable race, which is why they were elated when Tancredo didn’t win the nomination for Governor. This could be a very good cycle for Republicans in CO.

GOPRanknFile on July 17, 2014 at 5:05 PM

Is Gardner an actual conservative or is he just another rubber stamp for the establishment wing of the party(aka GOP leadership) who directly fund attack ads against conservatives in other states, calling them racists and KKK members?

If Gardner is not someone who will oppose the GOP leadership, he can go piss up a rope.

tcufrog on July 17, 2014 at 4:29 PM

62% score from Heritage. 69% score from Club for Growth. 84% from ACU.

topdawg on July 17, 2014 at 5:22 PM

tcufrog on July 17, 2014 at 4:29 PM
62% score from Heritage. 69% score from Club for Growth. 84% from ACU.

topdawg on July 17, 2014 at 5:22 PM

Also claims an A+ from the NRA.
From the Gardner campaign web site:

One of our most basic and fundamental rights is the right to protect ourselves. I believe this right should be expanded and encouraged on every front. As a member of Congress, I will oppose any efforts by the federal government to create a federal database of gun owners and work tirelessly to protect each and every right guaranteed to the citizens by the U.S. Constitution.

As a State Representative, I earned an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association for my work at the legislature fighting to protect the rights of the people of Colorado. I introduced legislation known as the “Make My Day Better” law. This legislation extends to business owners the same self-defense protections that are granted to homeowners in Colorado.
I have been recognized by the National Association of Gun Rights and the Gun Owners of America for my efforts to defend the 2nd Amendment.

dentarthurdent on July 17, 2014 at 5:26 PM

On issues, Gardner is as milquetoast as they come but it’s purplish-green Colorado we’re talking about, not Oklahoma or Tennessee. At least he’s not Thad Cochrane. Were I in Colorado, I wouldn’t send him money but I wouldn’t hesitate to vote for him, either.

Rix on July 17, 2014 at 5:30 PM

If you look at the senate races this way:

1st tier: WV, SD, MT
2nd tier: AR, AK, LA
3rd tier: CO, IA, NC
4th tier: NH, VA, MI

The GOP is doing pretty good. Current polling says they’ve picked up eight seats, everything from left to right up till NC where Hagan holds a slight lead. You have top tier candidates in NH and VA, too. Even though the incumbents are popular in both states, Brown and Gillespie are prodigious fundraisers and have run winning campaigns, Brown against Coakley and Gillespie for McDonnell.

ezspirit on July 17, 2014 at 5:35 PM

This is good news..:)

Dire Straits on July 17, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Down with Udall, for gun control alone…but add fracking and so much more.

Schadenfreude on July 17, 2014 at 5:41 PM

I live in Colorado and a Democrat and backing Gardner. nuff said…

fistbump on July 17, 2014 at 6:07 PM

Sorry if this came up twice but worth mentioning. I live in Colorado and I am a Democrat and backing Gardner. Nuff said…

fistbump on July 17, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Sorry if this came up twice but worth mentioning. I live in Colorado and I am a Democrat and backing Gardner. Nuff said…

fistbump on July 17, 2014 at 6:15 PM

Of course you are.

farleftprogressive on July 17, 2014 at 6:28 PM

The “headline” polling number at Real Clear Politics (see here: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2014/senate/co/colorado_senate_gardner_vs_udall-3845.html) shows Udall +2, but that’s an average of 4 polls from June and July–not the latest poll. That average included a NBC/Marist outlier, which had Udall +7. The others show Gardner +2 Gardner +2, and Udall +1.

Emperor Norton on July 17, 2014 at 6:39 PM

In 2012, RealClearPolitics‘ final polling average showed Barack Obama very narrowly leading Mitt Romney in the state; the president ended up carrying Colorado by a comfortable five-and-a-half points.

It’s 150,000 votes difference. Could it be college students? Could it be pro pot voters? Wait and see if there is a gimmick come election day. Conservatives did not have a gimmick to get to the polls, they need to get presidential level turn out on their side.
Romney beat the last democrat Senate candidate by more than 300K votes. A determined electorate, an exasperated electorate could do it. The last Senate election was really close at about 850K voters turned out for each.

Fleuries on July 17, 2014 at 7:46 PM

Turn out will be key.

Kissmygrits on July 17, 2014 at 8:06 PM