Democratic incumbent Mark Udall now trails Republican challenger Cory Gardner by 7 points in the Colorado race for U.S. Senate, according to the latest Suffolk University/USA TODAY poll.

The poll of likely voters in the general election shows 46 percent backing Gardner and Udall with 39 percent, with 9 percent undecided and 6 percent spread among four independent and third-party candidates.

The Colorado race for governor continues to be a close race, with former Congressman Bob Beauprez, a Republican, leading Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper 45 percent to 43 percent, with 8 percent undecided. Beauprez is gaining while Hickenlooper’s numbers have not moved from a month ago, when he led Beauprez 43 percent to 41 percent.

The Obama factor

Anti-Obama sentiment seems to be on the rise in Colorado. The president’s unfavorable rating was 56 percent; his job disapproval was 57 percent; and 56 percent said that Obamacare is bad for Colorado. Udall’s unfavorable numbers at 54 percent are in line with Obama’s.

“As President Obama goes, Mark Udall goes,” said David Paleologos director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center in Boston. “Obama’s unpopularity is significantly affecting Udall’s chances for reelection in November, as his opponent has consistently tied him to President Obama. By the looks of both President Obama’s and Mark Udall’s unfavorability ratings, that message is beginning to stick with Colorado voters.”

Fed up with party politics

When asked which was better, a senator who voted half and half on issues or a senator who voted straight down the party line, 57 percent said the former was better, 20 percent wanted their senator to vote down the party line, and 23 percent weren’t sure. In a separate question, 85 percent said that senators should vote on each issue’s merits, even if a vote was contrary to party considerations.

No trust on Ebola

Colorado voters are not confident in the government’s ability to handle the Ebola threat, even with the appointment of an Ebola czar and the release of dozens from quarantine in Dallas: 38 percent said they trust the federal government to handle the crisis, while 57 percent do not.

Shift on national issues

While voters said jobs (19 percent) are the most important issue as the midterm congressional elections approach, security and terrorism was second (17 percent), ahead of the federal budget deficit, health care, immigration and education. More than half of likely voters (53 percent) feel the Colorado economy has improved over the past two years, while 28 percent say it’s stayed the same, and 18 percent say it’s gotten worse.

Statewide offices

Voters remain largely undecided in the race for secretary of state. Republican Wayne Williams leads with 35 percent, and the undecideds, at 31 percent, outweigh Democrat Joe Neguse’s 28 percent share of voter allegiance.

In the race for attorney general, Republican Cynthia Coffman leads with 42 percent; Democrat Don Quick has 31 percent; and Libertarian David Williams 8 percent, with 18 percent undecided.


The Suffolk University/USA TODAY survey was conducted via landline and cell phone. All respondents indicated that they were very likely to vote or had already voted in the Nov. 4 election. The field of 500 likely general-election voters was conducted Saturday, Oct. 18, through Tuesday, Oct. 21. The margin of error is +/-4.4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. Results are posted on the Suffolk University Political Research Center website. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.