Gardner maintains tight lead over Markey in Fourth

Polling released today by Penn Schoen Berland shows what we probably already knew: Fourth District Congresswoman Betsy Markey is in a very tight race against Republican challenger Cory Gardner.

A telephone survey of 391 likely voters conducted Sept. 25-27 shows Gardner leading 44-41, with 14 percent of voters undecided. The margin of error is 5 percent. Markey leads among independents 43-39, and among women 43-40. She leads in all age groups except the middle, where Gardner leads among those 35-54 by a margin of 52-35.

Of those polled, Republican John McCain received 46 percent of the vote in the 2008 presidential election compared with 43 percent for Barack Obama who carried Colorado on his way to the presidency. Fifty-seven percent of those polled disapprove of the job Obama is doing. Sixty-six percent of those polled say their feelings for Obama will make a difference in how they vote. Perhaps even worse for Markey, 77 percent disaprove of the job Congress is doing.

Markey’s biggest hurdle, though, may simply be overcoming voter registration numbers. Only 23 percent of those polled consider themselves Democrats, compared with 39 percent who call themselves Republicans.

Also tough for Markey is that 80 percent of Republicans in the poll say they are very passionate about voting in this election, a sentiment shared by only 69 percent of Democrats.

Penn Schoen Berland is conducting regular polls in 42 highly contested House races nationwide.

“The breadth and scope of this investigation into the battle for control of the House is quite comprehensive,” said Mark Penn in an email. “In this cycle, no other news organization has conducted and published polling of so many battleground districts. This research gives The Hill’s readers access to insights previously held as guarded secrets by campaigns and party committees.”

Neither campaign could be immediately reached for comment.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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