From the latest poll from Quinnipiac University out today, looking at approval of President Barack Obama, his signature health care reform law, and upcoming races for U.S. Senate in 2014 and for President in 2016:
U.S. Sen. Mark Udall gets a split 44 – 44 percent approval rating, but voters say 47 – 41 percent the Democratic incumbent does not deserve to be reelected.
In the 2014 U.S. Senate race in Colorado, Sen. Udall gets 45 percent to 42 percent for Republican District Attorney Ken Buck. In other possible matchups:
Udall over State Sen. Randy Baumgardner 44 – 39 percent;
Udall tops State Sen. Owen Hill 45 – 39 percent;
Udall at 43 percent, with 40 percent for businessman Jaime McMillan;
Udall leads State Rep. Amy Stephens 45 – 38 percent;
Udall tops businessman Mark Aspiri 45 – 36 percent.
"Though running even or ahead of six possible Republican challengers, Sen. Mark Udall must be pulling for a quick fix of the Obamacare website and a change of heart by Coloradans who dislike the Affordable Care Act by a wide margin," [Q-pac assistant director Tim] Malloy said.
Colorado voters disapprove 59 – 36 percent of the job President Barack Obama is doing, his worst approval rating in any state or national Quinnipiac University poll since he was elected. Even women disapprove by 52 – 41 percent, while men disapprove 66 – 31 percent. Disapproval is 98 – 2 percent among Republicans and 65 – 27 percent among independent voters, while Democrats approve 78 – 15 parent.
The Durango Herald's Joe Hanel has a good summary up on today's poll:
The poll found the popularity of Democrats in general plummeted since the last time Quinnipiac surveyed Colorado voters in August. But Republicans don’t have much to cheer about. Their popularity ratings remain even lower.
Colorado voters have unfavorable views of the Democratic Party, with 39 percent approving and 54 percent disapproving; the Republican Party, 34 percent to 56 percent; and the GOP’s tea party faction, 34 percent to 48 percent.
First of all, there's no question that the disastrous rollout of the federal health insurance marketplace has severely impacted polling numbers for Democrats. The numbers for both Sen. Mark Udall and President Obama undeniably have taken a major hit, and Obamacare is the obvious explanation. The only ray of sunshine in this bad news for Democrats is that nearly a year remains before the next election. This week, the narrative on the rollout of Obamacare has begun to shift as news reports finally show appreciable numbers of signups through the marketplaces. Whatever the polls show today, once the story of Obamacare changes from dysfunction to hard-won success–you might say 'if,' but we believe it will happen–these numbers should turn around.
On the GOP side of the 2014 Senate race, we see, much like the numbers for Gov. John Hickenlooper yesterday, a total inability to capitalize on Democrats' self-inflicted wounds. Udall's lead over all GOP challengers is significant, but even more noteworthy is the failure of Rep. Amy Stephens to differentiate herself from a weak pack of Republican candidates. As the only woman in a field of generally underrecognized GOP contenders, we truthfully expected her to outperform in a head-to-head matchup against Udall. Instead, she's one of the weakest.
Lastly, and though it's far too early to meaningfully poll the 2016 presidential race, the evident popularity of Republican Gov. Chris Christie in Colorado shouldn't be overlooked. On a number of occasions, including Christie's cooperation with Obama on Hurricane Sandy relief efforts just before last year's elections, as well as Christie's very public chastisement of Colorado Republicans for their hypocritical disaster relief votes, he has distinguished himself as the kind of pragmatic statesman local independent voters love. There's a lesson in that for Republicans and Democrats in Colorado, but with our local GOP lurching ever rightward, we doubt they can follow the example.