Newest polls show deadlocked contest between Gardner, Udall

John Frank --- The Denver Post 

One of the nation's most-watched U.S. Senate races is headed for a photo finish, as the final Denver Post poll in the 2014 election shows Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and Republican rival Cory Gardner are essentially tied.

A poll conducted this week shows Gardner at 46 percent and Udall at 44 percent — a narrow edge within the four-percentage-point margin-of-error. The poll surveyed those who are likely to vote and those who returned ballots in Colorado's first all-mail election.

Another 5 percent support a third-party candidate and 5 percent remain undecided, according to the SurveyUSA poll conducted Monday through Wednesday.

The close race mirrors an average of polls, putting it between two and four points, and suggests Colorado remains one of the nation's showcase swing states.

A Post/SurveyUSA poll released Sept. 11 showed Udall with a four-point lead, 46 percent to 44 percent, but the contest reversed by the next poll Oct. 13, showing Gardner with a two-point edge.

A breakdown of the final poll numbers offers promise to Republicans and Democrats.

For Gardner's camp, the poll shows a slightly larger three-point lead among those who said they already voted, a reflection of early Republican energy surrounding the election.

A look at the demographics in the poll shows Gardner holds a lead among voters aged 35 to 49 as well as seniors. He also leads self-identified independent voters by seven points, a key indicator in the state where one-third of the voters are registered as unaffiliated.

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