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Democratic Colorado Sen. Mark Udall talks to the media after a Senate Intelligence Committee closed hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 16, 2012. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas) Democratic Colorado Sen. Mark Udall talks to the media after a Senate Intelligence Committee closed hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 16, 2012. (REUTERS/Yuri Gripas)  

Poll: Udall and Gardner in dead heat for Colorado’s Senate seat

Colorado Democratic Sen. Mark Udall and his Republican challenger Cory Gardner are virtually tied 45-44, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released on Thursday.

Jobs, the economy and health care are the main concerns of Colorado voters.

“No other issue comes close,” according to a press release showing that 16 percent of voters responded to an open-ended question by saying that jobs and the economy are the most important issues of the election. Fourteen percent said it was health care.

The poll also found that more women support Udall, 52-35 percent, while men prefer Gardner 53-38 percent. Those who list the economy as important back Gardner over Udall 53-40 percent.

“In a race that is both too close to call and one of the prime targets for Republicans trying to take back the Senate, Colorado Sen. Mark Udall might best focus on one predominant concern — the economy,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll, in a statement.

Udall’s favorability ratings are a mixed bag. Those who view him favorably inched up since the last poll in February, from 42 percent to 43 percent.

But those who view him unfavorably climbed from 35 percent in February to 38 percent in Thursday’s poll. The previous poll was conducted before Gardner entered the race and Udall faced a gaggle of other GOP contenders who’ve since dropped out.

“Colorado voters are divided 42-42 percent in their approval of the job Udall is doing as a U.S. Senator and say 46-40 percent he does not deserve to be reelected,” according to the Quinnipiac press release. Last June, voters gave Udall higher marks, with 45 percent job approval rating to 31 percent who disapprove.

In Gardner’s case, half of those polled don’t know enough about him to form an opinion, 30 percent have a favorable opinion and 18 percent view him unfavorably.

In a possible presidential match-up, Coloradans like Republican Sen. Rand Paul over all others. He beats Democrat Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical race by 48-43 percent.

In facing other potential GOP candidates, Clinton ties New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and slightly beats former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.

“The road to the White House has many twists and turns, but right now, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul is the man to beat in Colorado,” Malloy said.

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