Latest Polls Show Colorado Democratic Senator Pulling Away From GOP Opponent

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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.

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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.)

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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.

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