DENVER — Republican Rep. Cory Gardner is locked in a dead heat with Democratic Sen. Mark Udall, according to a poll taken days after Gardner made a national splash by jumping into the Senate race.
A Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday found 42 percent of Colorado voters surveyed favored Udall while 41 percent supported Gardner. The poll had a +/- 4.5 percent margin of error with 95 percent confidence.
The poll of 500 likely Colorado voters was taken March 5-6, less than a week after Gardner announced March 1 that he would drop his bid for reelection to the House and enter the Republican Senate primary.
Gardner also led Udall with unaffiliated voters, a crucial voting bloc, by 40 to 34 percent.
Gardner’s strong showing means more grim news for Udall, who has gone from being seen as a lock for reelection to fighting for his political survival as public opinion sours on President Barack Obama and the Affordable Care Act.
The poll found that 54 percent of voters have an unfavorable opinion of Obamacare, and that 40 percent view it very unfavorably.
Udall voted in favor of Obamacare, and has been widely criticized for assuring voters that if they like their health-care policies, they could keep them. More than 335,000 Coloradans have seen their insurance policies cancelled since last year’s Affordable Care Act roll-out.
Forty-two percent of Coloradans polled viewed Obamacare favorably, with 18 percent saying they viewed it very favorably.
The poll also found voters view Gardner more favorably than unfavorably. Thirty-nine percent of those surveyed had a favorable opinion of him, while 28 percent had an unfavorable view and 19 percent had never heard of him.
Opinion on Udall was evenly split. Forty-four percent of voters said they viewed the Democratic senator favorably while 43 percent viewed him unfavorably. Only 4 percent said they had never heard of him.
The two Republican frontrunners in the Senate GOP primary contest, Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck and state Rep. Amy Stephens, both dropped out of the race to make way for Gardner. Buck is now running for the Republican nomination for Gardner’s House seat.