DENVER — Most Colorado voters still don’t think Democratic Sen. Mark Udall deserves to be reelected as he struggles to beat back a challenge from Republican Rep. Cory Gardner, according to the latest Quinnipiac University poll.
The survey released Thursday shows Udall with 45 percent and Gardner with 44 percent support — virtually the same split as previous polls.
Udall saw his numbers drop on two key indicators. Only 40 percent of voters said he deserved to be reelected, while 46 percent said he doesn’t deserve it. In the Feb. 5 poll, 42 percent said he deserved reelection and 42 percent said he didn’t.
The poll also found that 42 percent approve of how Udall is handling his job while 42 percent disapprove. That’s a decline from Quinnipiac Poll’s Feb. 5 result, which found Udall with a 45 percent approval and 41 percent disapproval rating.
Political analyst Floyd Ciruli said what’s remarkable about the latest poll is that the Udall versus Gardner numbers haven’t budged, despite about $2 million in combined advertising in the past two months.
“The campaign is already at the multi-million dollar level, and what this shows at least at the moment is that the ads aren’t moving people,” said Ciruli. “This may be the fifth poll since March that shows them virtually tied with the incumbent Udall up slightly . . . It’s a testament that this is going to be expensive, long and nasty.”
For Udall, the worst news in the poll may have been the continued unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act. Colorado voters oppose Obamacare by a margin of 59 to 37 percentage points, including 62-34 percent among unaffiliated voters.
The most important issues for voters were the economy at 16 percent and health care 14 percent. Udall has been hammered in recent ads for voting in favor of Obamacare, which saw more than 335,000 Coloradans lose their insurance plans.
Udall has argued that the vast majority of those who lost their plans were offered new policies, although critics point out that those were often more expensive and came with higher deductibles.
“In a race that is both too close to call and one of the prime targets for Republicans trying to take back the Senate, Colorado Sen. Mark Udall might best focus on one predominant concern–the economy,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll.
Both candidates received positive favorability ratings, with Udall receiving 43 to 38 percent and Gardner scoring 30 to 18 percent. At the same time, 50 percent of voters said they didn’t know enough about Gardner to form an opinion.
From April 15-21, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,298 registered voters in Colorado with a margin of error of +/- 2.7 percentage points.