Polls split on size of Udall lead over Schaffer in Colorado Senate race

Two polls released Friday show Democrat Mark Udall with double-digit leads over Republican Bob Schaffer in the Colorado Senate race, but a third poll released Saturday night found Udall with a smaller edge, within the survey’s margin of error.

The contest between Udall and Schaffer, who were both first elected to Congress in 1996, has been one of the hardest-fought in the nation and has racked up the highest spending of any election in Colorado history. Udall represents the 2nd District, while Schaffer retired from the 4th District in 2002 because of a term-limits pledge. The two are vying to replace retiring Republican Sen. Wayne Allard.

A CNN/Time/Opinion Research Corporation poll released Friday put Udall up by 10 points, running 53 percent to 43 percent ahead of Schaffer.

Udall held an even wider lead of 15 points in another poll released Friday, conducted by Public Policy Polling. In that survey, Udall won the support of 56 percent of likely voters, compared to Schaffer’s 41 percent support.

The Denver Post Mason-Dixon poll released Saturday had Udall ahead by 4 points, 47-43, right at the survey’s 4 percentage point margin of error. Both candidates won “overwhelming” support from members of their own party, but Udall led by 19 points among unaffiliated voters, consistent with double-digit leads in the crucial swing bloc recorded in other polls.

“Schaffer’s only gains have been with Republicans. He hasn’t moved Democrats or done better with independents,” Mason-Dixon Polling’s Brad Coker told the Post. “Basically, Udall is still ahead and Schaffer’s battle is still uphill.”

Udall outpaced Schaffer among unaffiliated voters by a nearly 2-to-1 margin in the PPP survey, with 60 percent to 31 percent.

Only the Denver Post poll included third-party candidates in the survey. It found 3 percent of voters picked Green Party candidate Bob Kinsey. American Constitution Party candidate Douglas “Dayhorse” Campbell didn’t register.

Udall has led every public poll released since early summer, when a pair of polls showed the candidates tied. Schaffer ran 1 point ahead in a poll taken in February.

The CNN poll was conducted Oct. 23-28 with 774 likely voters and had a 3.5 percentage point margin of error. PPP surveyed 2,023 likely voters Oct. 28-30 with a 2.2 percentage point margin of error. The Denver Post poll included 625 registered voters Oct. 28-29 and posted a 4 percentage point margin of error.

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Ernest Luning

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