The curtain seems to be closing on Colorado incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Udall’s chances for re-election, as the FiveThirtyEight blog now gives Republican challenger Cory Gardner an 80 percent chance of winning the Nov. 4 election.
Moreover, the Colorado race could portend an end to the Senate’s Democratic majority, the site reported, as Colorado has been “the” tipping-point state in the last two presidential elections.
“Arrange all the states by President Obama’s margin of victory in 2012, starting with his biggest wins, and add up each state’s electoral votes,” the site explained. “The state that gets you to 270 [electoral votes needed to win the presidency] is the tipping point state. In 2012 and 2008, that was Colorado.”
The site — which runs in-depth statistical polling analyses to come up with tested means of predicting outcomes — looked at a slate of recent Colorado Senate polls and concluded that Gardner will probably win the election.
“He has led in all but one of 15 nonpartisan sponsored surveys released since mid-September, and by an average of 3.4 percentage points,” the site reported. “That includes a newly released Ipsos poll that has Gardner ahead 47 percent to 45 percent, and a new Suffolk University poll that found Gardner up 46 percent to 39 percent. Gardner was only ahead by 1 percentage point in the previous Suffolk survey.”
National Review ran a story Thursday with the headline that Gardner is “pitching a perfect game” and even managing to win over the media.
Meanwhile, there are whiffs of desperation coming from the Udall campaign, which has recently shipped in Democratic Party headliners to stump for him, sometimes with mixed results. For example, during a campaign stop for Udall in Colorado Thursday, First Lady Michelle Obama mistakenly called Udall a “fifth-generation Coloradan.”
Udall was born in Arizona. However, Gardner is a fifth-generation Coloradan.
The First Lady also promised attendees at a rally that with their help, “we will get Mark Udall into office,” even though he’s held office for years.
Udall’s campaign also seems to be having trouble with messaging. Just a day after being endorsed by the anti-fracking group Environment America, Udall released a TV ad touting his support for more natural gas exports.
Udall’s supporters have tried to cast doubt on polls showing him trailing Gardner, saying they underestimate the Democratic turnout, don’t include enough Hispanic voters and don’t consider the curveball fact that the election is being conducted entirely by mail. But FiveThiryEight examined the complaints and found them baseless.
“The polls and the fundamentals tell the same basic story,” the site concluded. “An unpopular incumbent is losing in a purple state against a decent candidate in a slightly Republican-leaning year. That’s a pretty believable story.”
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