Two separate polls that were released on Sunday show that Sen. Mark Udall (D-CO) is ahead of his Republican opponent, Rep. Cory Gardner. Colorado is a state that Republicans feel is vital in their attempt to take over the Senate this November. Udall is seen as vulnerable due to Colorado being a classic ‘swing state’ to go along with the President’s middling approval rating. In Colorado, President Obama’s approval rating sits at 39%.
In the poll conducted by NBC/Marist, Udall leads Gardner by six points, 48% to 42%. Drilling down, we see that Udall has a slightly higher favorability rating than Gardner. Udall enjoys a small net positive with voters, as 45% hold a positive view of him compared to 42% who see him in a negative light. The reverse is true for Gardner, as 38% view him favorably while 40% do not like him. Gardner does have room to change some opinions, though. 22% either have never heard of him or are not sure how they feel about the Congressman.
Per the NBC poll, it seems the biggest thing hurting Gardner is his reputation as a conservative culture warrior. The far-right Congressman has spent years supporting anti-abortion legislation and trying to bring ‘personhood’ measures up for a vote in Washington. His view that life begins at conception obviously reveals a certain disconnect with women when it comes to some forms of birth control and contraception. The poll shows that 59% of voters are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports restricting use and access to contraception.
Due to this revelation, Gardner has decided to make a huge flip-flop when it comes to his views on contraception. He is now stating that he wants birth control pills to be available over-the-counter and without a prescription. Essentially, Gardner is currently trying to pass himself off as more progressive than Udall when it comes to women’s health issues, even though he still has him name attached to a federal personhood amendment that’s sitting in Congress. (It should also be pointed out that pushing for doctor-prescribed medication to be made easily available to everyone is likely a bad idea.)
It will be interesting to see if Gardner’s attempt to make a hard turn to the left will help him with moderates and women. In a poll conducted by CBS and The New York Times, Udall holds a 13-point lead with women, 46% to 33%. Overall, Udall leads Gardner in that poll by three points, 46% to 43%. Considering that women make up 53% of the likely electorate in Colorado per recent polls, a gender gap of double-digits is fatal. If Gardner cannot shrink the gap to within ten points while maintaining his current 10% lead with men, then he has no chance of winning in November.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).