Poll shows Udall clobbering Schaffer on Western Slope, ahead statewide

A statewide poll released Wednesday has presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain neck-and-neck in Colorado but shows Senate candidate Mark Udall 7 points ahead of Bob Schaffer, including a 21-point advantage on the Western Slope.

Udall leads Schaffer 45 percent to 38 percent with 17 percent undecided among likely registered voters across Colorado, according to a poll conducted last week by Ciruli Associates for the Economic Development Council of Colorado. Obama edges McCain 44 percent to 43 percent with 10 percent undecided.

The Ciruli poll’s real surprise is Udall’s commanding 21-point lead on the Western Slope. Obama held a 10-point lead in that part of the state. Other polls conducted in September have showed similar results — a moderate lead for Obama and a healthy lead for Udall — in the battleground state.

Schaffer campaign manager Dick Wadhams questioned the survey’s results Wednesday afternoon in what has become a familiar “who you gonna believe, me or the polls?” refrain. The race will “go down to the wire,” Wadhams told Politicker CO. He dismissed the Western Slope margin based on the “substantially small” number of voters surveyed. “That tells me that the race (as a whole) is much closer than the numbers show,” Wadhams told Politicker CO’s Jeremy Pelzer.

Ciruli polled 501 randomly sampled regular voters, giving the survey a 4.4 percent margin of error, according to a release.

The poll also found Gov. Bill Ritter’s approval rating has dropped to 58 percent, down from 71 percent a year ago. President Bush lost a point of approval in the last year, down from 33 percent to 32 percent.