Mark Matthews --- The Denver Post
A new poll by Quinnipiac University has Republican Cory Gardner ahead of Democrat Mark Udall by a striking 8 percentage points in their race for U.S. Senate — the challenger's largest lead to-date among public polls.
The survey of more than 1,200 likely Colorado voters favored Gardner 48 to 40 percent to the incumbent Udall, with independent, or unaffiliated, candidate Steve Shogan taking home 8 percent.
"U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner, for now, is in the driver's seat in a race with national importance," said Tim Malloy, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Poll, in a statement accompanying the findings made public Thursday.
The results add to string of recent voter surveys that have tried to capture the volatile nature of Colorado's Senate race, as well as its competitive fight for governor.
Quinnipiac's findings depart significantly from a Denver Post poll conducted last week that found Udall leading Gardner by 4 percentage points.
Similarly, Gardner's biggest advantage over Udall before the latest Quinnipiac results was 2 percentage points, according to a tally of more than dozen pollsof both likely and registered voters recorded by Real Clear Politics. Other recent polls have shown the Udall and Gardner in a statistical tie or even a Udall advantage.
On Wednesday, Quinnipiac unveiled a related poll that gave Republican Bob Beauprez a 10-point lead over Democratic incumbent John Hickenlooper, a margin that represents Beauprez's largest lead so far, according to a slate of polls compiled by the website Real Clear Politics.