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Is The Republican Surge In The Colorado Senate Race A Fluke?

Colorado Republican Rep. Cory Gardner has notched his largest lead to date over Democratic incumbent Mark Udall in Colorado’s tight race for U.S. Senate.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday has the Republican ahead by eight points, besting Udall by 48-40.

It’s the largest lead Gardner has had in the race, but the poll is also the only one of several released recently showing him ahead by such a wide margin. Other polls show either a dead heat between the candidates or they have Udall ahead.

“With control of the U.S. Senate in play, the Rocky Mountain State gives a jolting shot of adrenaline to the GOP,” said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University poll, in a press release announcing the poll results.

“For Sen. Mark Udall, the head to head numbers are bad and the character numbers are worse,” Malloy added.

According to the poll, voters view Gardner favorably by a 10-point margin. Fifty percent see Udall unfavorably, compared to 42 percent with a favorable opinion.

Gardner also comes out ahead in terms of leadership qualities, trustworthiness and voters perceptions that he cares about their problems.

FiveThirtyEight called the Quinnipiac poll “by far the most optimistic result for Republicans in the Centennial State this year.”

While state Republicans see the new poll as evidence that the GOP could pick up key seats — another Quinnipiac poll recently showed Republican gubernatorial challenger Bob Beauprez surging ahead of Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper by 10 points — polling analysts caution that the results could be an aberration or the result of an unusual sample of voters.

“[W]e should be wary of these latest Quinnipiac surveys,” wrote an analyst for FiveThirtyEight. “Not only are the results the most Republican-friendly of the year in [Colorado], but Quinnipiac’s polls have previously been too pro-Republican at this point in midterm elections.”

Quinnipiac defended its numbers to the Denver Post.

“Do we think this is an aberration? No,” Malloy told the paper. “Do we stick by the numbers? Yes.”

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