Updated: November 20, 2013 at 10:25 am
DENVER — Democratic Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado may not cruise to re-election next year, according to a poll released Tuesday that suggested a clear undercurrent of dissatisfaction among Colorado voters.
The Quinnipiac University poll released Tuesday put Udall ahead of all GOP challengers. But only 41 percent said Udall deserves to be re-elected.
Udall's lead was nearly within the margin of error against Republican Ken Buck, leading 45 percent to 42 percent. Buck was the GOP nominee three years ago against Colorado's other senator, Democrat Michael Bennet.
Udall performed more strongly against lesser-known hypothetical Republican opponents, including three members of the state Legislature. And when Coloradans were asked whether they had a favorable opinion of Udall, 44 percent agreed, while 38 percent said they had an unfavorable opinion.
The poll of 1,206 registered voters was taken from Nov. 15-18 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percentage points. On Monday the poll released similar results about next year's gubernatorial race. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper led all Republican challengers, but 49 percent of Colorado voters said they don't think he deserves re-election.
The poll results Tuesday also suggested a state unhappy with the federal health care overhaul. Colorado is using a state-run health insurance exchange, not the problematic federal exchange. But voters still had a negative opinion of the health law.
Forty percent supported the health care law, while 56 percent opposed it. Only 18 percent said they thought their family's health care would be better a year from now because of the new law.
Colorado's health care pessimism was in line with national polling suggesting public dissatisfaction with the law.
Pollsters also asked Coloradans about hypothetical 2016 presidential candidates.
Democrat Hillary Clinton trailed or tied all possible matchups with Republicans. She tied Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and was about even with Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. Clinton trailed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie by a wider margin, 38 percent to 46 percent.