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Rand Paul tops Hillary Clinton by five in Colorado poll

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Denver - A new Colorado poll shows the Democratic Party cannot presume an early coronation of Hillary Clinton to be a sound political strategy, and that the state's Senate seat is up for grabs.

Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., who hails from a dynasty of successful Democrats, remains locked in a tight race with his Republican challenger, Rep. Cory Gardner, according to a Quinnipiac University poll out Thursday. Udall leads by a single point which means he and Gardner are in a virtual tie since the poll has a 2.7 margin for error.

Meanwhile, the poll shows Hillary Clinton, when matched against Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, would lose by five points in Colorado 48-43. Republican Chris Christie of New Jersey matched Clinton 42 to 42 in the poll. Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee trailed Clinton by a single point 45-44, while former Florida governor Jeb Bush would lose to Clinton 45-40 in the Western swing state if elections were held today.

Coloradans said the economy and healthcare were the most important issues by respective margins of 16 and 14 percent, far ahead of any other issue. Democrat incumbents like Udall are more vulnerable on these issues due to a particularly slow economic recovery and the badly botched rollout of Obamacare.

Further complicating things for Udall, who voted for Obamacare, healthcare proposals due out before the election may contain another spike in premium rates and deductibles, according to many industry analysts.

Gardner led Udall, 53 to 40 percent among those concerned with the economy and the Republican was favored 57-36 over Udall among those who said healthcare was their biggest concern.

Women favored Udall in the poll, while men favored Gardner. Udall won with 53 percent of the vote in 2008, about two years before the Democrats passed Obamacare without a single Republican vote.

President Obama, who won the state with 53% of the vote in 2012, has lost his appeal to Coloradans. A decisive 59% of respondents expressed disapproval of Obama’s performance and 60% disapprove of his handling of the economy.

Quinnipiac in Hamden, Conn., surveyed 1,298 registered voters between April 15 and April 21. The poll has a margin of error of 2.7 percentage points for the entire sample.

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