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Colorado: Markey, Musgrave Have Dueling Poll Numbers

Rep. Marilyn Musgrave (R) and her Democratic challenger Betsy Markey released competing polls Wednesday that delivered good news for both in the Republican-leaning 4th district.

However, Musgrave’s poll was conducted March 6-8 and covered only registered voters, while Markey’s poll is recent, having been done May 13-15, and surveyed likely voters — frequently a more reliable indicator of voters’ attitudes.

In the Musgrave campaign poll, the incumbent led Markey 47 percent to 42 percent, with 11 percent undecided. In the Markey campaign poll, the challenger led Musgrave 43 percent to 36 percent; the percentage of undecided voters was not revealed.

Markey, who formerly worked for Sen. Ken Salazar (D), is hoping to oust Musgrave in the northern Colorado 4th district. Of those surveyed in her poll, 29 percent were registered Democrats, 40 percent were Republicans and 31 percent were independents or affiliated with a third party.

“Betsy Markey is well positioned to beat Marilyn Musgrave,” said the memo prepared by Bennett, Petts and Normington, a Democratic polling firm based in Washington, D.C.

Markey’s survey polled 400 likely voters and had a 4.9-point margin of error.

The Musgrave campaign took issue with Markey’s poll, and released its poll shortly thereafter, pointing to data from its GOP pollster, Moore Information.

According to that survey, the incumbent held a strong lead over Markey among Republicans, but trailed her among Democrats and independents. The Congresswoman’s lead extended to all reaches of the district, and was particularly healthy among voters ages 65 and up.

Musgrave ran even with Markey among youth voters. The survey polled 401 registered voters and had an error margin of 5 points.

Still, Markey’s poll was more recent, and if accurate, included statistics that could bode ill for Musgrave come November. Among the findings of Markey’s poll:

• 38 percent of respondents said they want to replace Musgrave, while only 30 percent said they wanted to re-elect her.

• Musgrave’s favorable/unfavorable rating was 37 percent/48 percent.

• Her job approval rating was 40 percent.

• President Bush’s job approval rating in the district registered at 39 percent.

• Just 18 percent of those polled said the country was headed in the right direction, while 70 percent said it is on the “wrong track.”

The National Republican Congressional Committee said Markey’s poll didn’t unearth anything new. NRCC spokeswoman Julie Shutley expressed confidence that Musgrave would win in November.

“This poll shows us what we knew all along — this is going to be another close race,” she said. “But Rep. Musgrave has been on the ground making sure the needs of her district are getting met and making sure their views are represented in Washington.”

— David M. Drucker

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