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GOP Touts Poll Showing Small Udall Advantage

Former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R), running for Senate against Rep. Mark Udall (D), has released a poll that shows him within striking distance of his Democratic opposition.

A statewide Hill Research Consultants poll conducted Aug. 26-28, of 603 likely voters, showed Schaffer trailing Udall by 2 points, 40 percent to 38 percent, with 7 percent of respondents saying they’d vote for Green Party candidate Bob Kinsey. Without Kinsey in the race, Udall led Schaffer 45 percent to 40 percent.

The poll had a margin of error of 3.9 points.

“The overriding theme of this poll is that the race is wide open at this time,” said the polling memo released by Hill Research Consultants, a Republican firm based in The Woodlands, Texas.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee rejected that notion, suggesting that Schaffer is too weak to give Udall a tough race.

“Bob Schaffer’s entire record is out of touch with Colorado, from cozying up to a school that bans interracial dating, to supporting Social Security privatization to being a strong supporter of George Bush’s Iraq policy,” DSCC spokesman Matthew Miller said. “He was the Republican Party’s last choice to run for a reason.”

The survey found Democrats ahead of Republicans on the generic ballot, 37 percent to 30 percent, although the poll also showed that Colorado voters prefer a “conservative” candidate over a “liberal” candidate, 44 percent to 38 percent.

The poll’s other findings:

• Schaffer did best in the south and west Denver suburbs and outside of the Denver metro area. Udall did best in inner-city Denver and Boulder. Schaffer had a 7-1 advantage among conservatives, Udall had a comparable advantage among liberals.

• Schaffer’s “favorable name identification” in Greeley and Fort Collins areas, his geographical base, was 61 percent. Udall’s favorable name identification in his geographical base — Boulder, Adams County and the metro Denver area, was 47 percent.

• Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, had a 52 percent “unfavorable” rating in Colorado, with 40 percent of likely voters viewing her favorably.

“This is reminiscent of [former President] Bill Clinton’s name ID in Colorado in 2001 — 54 percent unfavorable versus 43 percent favorable — before [Sen.] Wayne Allard (R) won re-election against a challenge from Democrat Tom Strickland in November 2002,” the polling memo said.

Schaffer is scheduled to be in Washington, D.C., during the week of Sept. 16. His schedule includes a fundraiser at the National Republican Senatorial Committee. Seven GOP Senators are scheduled to attend, including retiring Sen. Wayne Allard (Colo.), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and NRSC Chairman John Ensign (Nev.).

— David M. Drucker

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