Poll: Udall, Schaffer tied | VailDaily.com

Poll: Udall, Schaffer tied

Lynn Bartels
Rocky Mountain News
Vail, CO Colorado

Democrat Mark Udall and Republican candidate Bob Schaffer are in a dead heat in their U.S. Senate race, according to a poll released today.

It’s the second poll this week that shows Udall’s lead slipping.

“We’ve always known this was going to be a close race,” Udall spokeswoman Tara Trujillo said. “You can never take a Colorado voter for granted.”

Today’s poll, by Quinnipiac University, The Wall Street Journal and washingtonpost.com, also showed Coloradans’ concern with rising gasoline prices.

“By a 50-39 percent margin, Colorado voters say a candidate’s position on energy policy is more important than their position on the war in Iraq,” the poll found.

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Dick Wadhams, Schaffer’s campaign manager, believes the energy issue is “starting to turn Republicans’ way.”

“People want drilling. They want more oil production,” Wadhams said. “The trouble for Udall is that he is on the wrong side of the issue and there is nothing he can do about it.”

No so, Trujillo said.

“Udall has spent 12 years working to make Colorado the nation’s leader in renewable energy development, while his opponent, Bob Schaffer, has been working for the oil and gas industry that is making record-breaking profits while Coloradans pay more than four bucks for a gallon of gas,” she said.

The Senate race between Schaffer, a former three-term congressman from Fort Collins, and Udall, a five-term congressman from Eldorado Springs, is one of the most closely watched U.S. Senate races in the country.

A poll from Rasmussen Reports in June showed Udall leading 49 percent to 40 percent in a race that had once been tied. The latest Rasmussen Poll released this week show Udall’s lead slipped, with him leading Schaffer 47 percent to 43 percent.

Udall and Schaffer are in a dead heat, according to the Quinnipiac poll. Udall and Schaffer are tied 44 to 44 percent, compared to a 48-38 percent lead for Udall in June.

Wadhams said polls especially those taken in the early summer, often don’t reflect what eventually happens in an election.

He pointed to the 1996 GOP primary for U.S. Senate. In early July, Attorney General Norton led U.S. Rep. Allard 46 percent to 32 percent. Allard went on to win the primary and the general election.

Udall served one term in the state legislature before getting elected to Congress. Three of the four bills he introduced in his first year in the General Assembly in 1997 where energy related.

Schaffer, who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2004 but lost in the primary, worked for Denver-based Aspect Energy before resigning in January to campaign full time.

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