As The Ft. Collins Coloradoan reports:
Democrat Betsy Markey and Republican Cory Gardner are in a dead heat with less than eight weeks until Election Day, according to a poll released today by the Markey campaign.
The poll is a stark contrast to one released last week by a Republican-affiliated group, which showed Gardner with an 11 point lead.
The Markey campaign poll showed her and Gardner with 38 percent each, independent Ken “Wasko” Waszkiewicz at 5 percent and American Constitution Party candidate Doug Aden at 2 percent. The remaining 17 percent were undecided.
We wrote last week that any poll in CD-4 that does not include all four candidates cannot be considered accurate, and these numbers prove our point (not to mention the most recent U.S. Senate poll in Colorado, which showed the Libertarian candidate getting 5% of the vote). As we said before, CD-4 has a history of voting for third-party candidates, and national trends are showing disgust with both Democrats and Republicans. Third-party candidates are going to play a significant role in 2010 as a “protest vote” option for many voters. We wrote last week that internal polling from both the Markey and Gardner campaigns had shown third-party candidates receiving as much as 12% of the vote when respondents had a choice between all four candidates; the Markey poll has the total third-party vote at 7%, but that’s likely because they sampled a smaller percentage of Unaffiliated voters.
While critics will say that the Markey poll must be biased because it is an internal poll, it’s hard for that argument to get much traction given the significant oversample of Republicans. This poll sampled 50% Republicans and 37% Democrats, compared to 44% Republicans and 36% Democrats in last week’s Republican-ordered poll.