A handful of Colorado voters may determine control of the United States Senate in the next Congress, according to a SurveyUSA poll conducted for the Denver Post. Republican challenger Cory Gardner today runs a whisker in front of Democratic incumbent Mark Udall, 45% for Gardner, 43% for Udall, well within the survey’s theoretical margin of sampling error, and close enough to still go either way.
Compared to a SurveyUSA poll released one month ago, Gardner is up 3 points, Udall is down 3 points. Udall had nominally led by 4, today nominally trails by 2. The teeter-totter could easily tip again between now and Election Day. The seesaw is illustrated in this interactive tracking graph, which shows Gardner trailing by 9 points one month ago among voters age 18 to 49, and today leading by 9 points among that same 18-to-49 sub-population. Among Independent voters, Gardner had trailed by 10, now is even. In greater Denver, Gardner had trailed by 19, now trails by 6, a gain of 13 percentage points.
Compared to a month ago, Udall’s favorable numbers are down, his unfavorable numbers are up. Back then, he had been Minus 7. Today, he is Minus 12. (37% favorable, compared to 49% unfavorable). Compared to a month ago, Gardner’s favorable and unfavorable numbers are up. Back then, he had been Net Zero, Today he is Plus 5. (43% favorable, compared to 38% unfavorable). On the issue of which candidate for Senate is more trustworthy, Gardner had trailed by 2, now leads by 4.
Of less national significance, but of greater local importance, is the contest for Governor of Colorado. There, poll-on-poll, Incumbent Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper has gone from a nominal 2-point advantage over Republican challenger Bob Beauprez on 09/11/14 to a 1-point nominal advantage today, 10/13/14. Then, the contest was too-close-to-call. Now the contest remains too-close-to-call. Unlike the Senate race, where there has been movement to the Republican, and the only question is how much, here, the 1-point of nominal movement to Beauprez may be what is sometimes referred to as “statistical noise,” and may mean nothing. Both candidates remain well-positioned to win. A handful of votes could determine the outcome.
Beauprez has closed on Hickenlooper in greater Denver. Hickenlooper had led in greater Denver by 17 points, now by just 5. But there is offsetting movement to Hickenlooper in those Colorado communities not attached to Denver and not attached to Colorado Springs — what SurveyUSA calls here, for ease of labeling, “the rest of Colorado.” In the rest of Colorado, Beauprez had led by 13 points, today trails by 4, a 17-point left turn. Among conservatives today, Beauprez leads 14:1, up from 7:1. Among seniors today, Beauprez leads by 8 points, up from 2 points. Hickenlooper is backed by less educated and less affluent voters.
Beauprez’s Net Favorability Rating has changed ever-so-slightly from Plus 4, one month ago, to Net Zero today. Then as now, 38% of voters have a favorable opinion of him. Then, 34% had an unfavorable opinion of Beauprez, now 38%. Hickenlooper’s Net Favorability Rating has changed ever-so-slightly from Minus 1, one month ago, to Minus 3 today. Then as now, 47% of likely voters had an unfavorable opinion of Hickenlooper. Today, 44% have a favorable opinion, down from 46%.
How much does President Obama’s shadow hang over Colorado’s top-of-ticket contests? Statewide, 17% of likely voters strongly approve of the job Obama is doing as President, compared to 46% who strongly disapprove. Of voters who say their feelings about President Obama are a major factor in how they vote in 2014, 73% strongly disapprove of the job the President is doing. Of voters who say their feelings about President Obama are a major factor in how they vote in 2014, 68% vote Republican in the Senate race, 69% vote Republican in the Governor race. Of voters who say that Obama is not at all a factor in how they vote in 2014, 64% vote Democratic in the Senate race, 66% vote Democratic in the Governor’s race.
Cell-phone and home-phone respondents included in this research: SurveyUSA interviewed 700 state of Colorado adults 10/09/14 through 10/12/14. Of the adults, 657 were registered to vote. Of the registered voters, 591 were identified by SurveyUSA as likely to vote on or before Election Day, 11/04/14. This research was conducted using blended sample, mixed mode. Respondents reachable on a home telephone (75% of likely voters) were interviewed on their home telephone in the recorded voice of a professional announcer. Respondents not reachable on a home telephone (25% of likely voters) were shown a questionnaire on their smartphone, tablet or other electronic device. Ballots began to be mailed to voters 10/13/2014; in-person voting begins 10/20/2014.