Gardner Pulls Away from Udall as Colorado Democrats Face Upset

Obamacare, birth control, abortion and personhood have emerged as emotional issues that could swing a Senate seat Democrats thought was safe to the GOP side of the aisle.

Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) have already spent more than $40 million on advertising in what has turned out to be one of the toughest 2014 races for Democrats.

Rasmussen Reports and USA Today/Suffolk polls had Gardner in the lead by a single point in September, while CBS News/New York Times/YouGov put Udall in the lead by 3 points in a poll released Oct. 2.

The Fox News poll released Oct. 8 showed Gardner with a 6-point lead over Udall, 43-37 percent.

Gardner is pulling away.

And he got an extra boost on Oct. 10 when the Denver Post endorsed the Republican over the incumbent, saying, “Udall's campaign has devoted a shocking amount of energy and money trying to convince voters that Gardner seeks to outlaw birth control despite the congressman's call for over-the-counter sales of contraceptives.”

“Udall is trying to frighten voters rather than inspire them with a hopeful vision,” the editorial continued. “His obnoxious one-issue campaign is an insult to those he seeks to convince.”

More important than the raw numbers, the Fox News poll also shows GOP voters are much more enthused about voting than Democrats come November.

Among likely voters, nearly half of Colorado Republicans (48 percent) are “extremely” interested in the election, while less than a third of Democrats (31 percent) feel that way.

Gardner’s support is also stronger, according to the Fox poll. Eighty-five percent of his backers describe themselves as “certain” to vote for him compared to 80 percent of Udall voters who have the same confidence level.

The polls are more important in Colorado than in some states because mail-in ballots will be sent out to voters Oct. 14. And Colorado votes 100 percent by mail this year. In other words, a mind made up in mid-October could be a vote cast almost two weeks before the nation’s Election Day.

Jeb Bush has gotten involved on behalf of Gardner with a Spanish-language message, "Elijan a Cory Gardner." It was one of three Spanish-language ads Bush cut for Republicans.

The others were for Rep. David Valadao in California and Martha McSally, a GOP candidate running against Rep. Ron Barber (D-Ariz.).

Gardner needs Bush’s help with Hispanics. The Fox News poll shows Udall beats Gardner by 20 points with that demographic.

Fourteen percent of the registered voters in Colorado are Hispanic, so the Udall-Gardner race for the Senate is also one of the nation’s elections in which the Hispanic vote is critical in the 2014 cycle.