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Is Obamacare Putting Colorado's Udall in Danger?

8:01 AM, Feb 7, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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Obamacare is extremely unpopular in Colorado, according to a new Quinnipiac poll, and that looks like trouble for the state's senior senator, first-term Democrat Mark Udall. In its survey of registered voters in Colorado, Quinnipiac found that 60 percent oppose the health-care law, and only 37 percent support it. Those who oppose Obamacare in Colorado include 68 percent of independents, 53 percent of women, and 61 percent of young adults under the age of 30.

Mark Udall

How does that bode for Udall, who was first elected in 2008 and, like every other Democratic senator, voted for Obamacare? The poll found that when voters were asked if a politician's support for Obamacare would affect their vote in November, 52 percent said it would make them "less likely" to vote for that candidate. Just 29 percent said it would make them more likely and 18 percent said it would make no difference.

An effective Republican campaign against Udall, focusing on his support for Obamacare, could topple the Democrat. Quinnipiac found Udall's support is weak, with voters split evenly at 42 percent on whether he deserves reelection. On job approval, 45 percent say they approve of Udall to 41 percent who say they disapprove. Among the five potential Republican opponents, Udall beats them all--but just barely, and in none of the match-ups does he receive more than 45 percent support.

In fact, against two state senators, Randy Baumgardner and Amy Stephens, Udall polls just 2 points ahead, 43 percent to 41 percent. And against Ken Buck, the unsuccessful Republican challenger in 2010 to Colorado's other Democratic senator, Michael Bennet, Udall is just 3 points ahead, 45 percent to 42 percent.

These numbers suggest that Colorado, once a swing state that has shifted blue in recent years, could be another example of how the unpopularity of Obamacare might bring down incumbent Democrats in what were thought to be relatively safe states. Obamacare's dismal state in Oregon, for example, may give the GOP an opportunity to defeat the weaker-than-expected Jeff Merkley, and Republicans are looking at taking back Democrat-held seats in Minnesota, Michigan, and New Hampshire.

And as Sean Trende recently pointed out, President Obama's own unpopularity could be a factor in Senate Democrats' ability to retain their majority. According to Quinnipiac, Obama's job approval in Colorado is a measly 37 percent, compared to 59 percent who disapprove of his job as president.

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