The contentious U.S. Senate race in Colorado has received attention for the role Latino voters may have on Election Day, but overall numbers show the Republican candidate with an early edge.

Ahead of Nov. 4, Quinnipiac University released its latest survey results between Democratic incumbent Sen. Mark Udall and Rep. Cory Gardner, the Republican challenger. Gardner has a 7 percent lead against Udall among likely voters, but the lead is with the inclusion of independent candidate Steve Shogan. With Shogan as an option, Gardner received 46 percent of the Quinnipiac poll, ahead of 39 percent for Udall and 7 percent supporting Shogan. With Shogan out of the race, Gardner slightly improves his lead to 49 percent compared to 41 percent for Udall.

"U.S. Sen. Mark Udall loses ground to U.S. Rep. Cory Gardner -- and the GOP smacks its lips," Quinnipiac University Poll Assistant Director Tim Malloy said in a press statement. "This Colorado Senate race has national implications, and it's taken an ugly turn for the incumbent. Will the tidal shift in the Senate start in the Rocky Mountains?"

Despite being an independent candidate, Shogan didn't receive most of the votes from likely voters. While Shogan fared well into double-digit territory with 19 percent, Gardner won the independent vote with 37 percent, narrowly ahead of Udall's 35 percent. Respondents who said they would vote for Shogan were asked for their second choice between Gardner and Udall. The second choice among Shogan supporters was for Gardner with 49 percent versus 41 percent for Udall.

Men are more likely to vote for Gardner with 54 percent, while Udall received 33 percent of the male vote. Udall narrowly won the female demographic in the survey. Udall received 45 percent of the female vote, but 39 percent of women also supported Gardner.

Quinnipiac also asked respondents if they have already voted ahead of Nov. 4. Of the early voters participating in the survey, 48 percent voted for Gardner and 42 percent for Udall. Three percent of the early voters voted for Shogan.

Based on statistics from the Center for American Progress, one-fifth of the Colorado population is Latino, although the number is expected to increase to more than one-third by 2040.

"This race may come down to the Latino vote, and the latest polls have Rep. Gardner slightly ahead in the polls. However, with Latino voters comprising 14 percent of eligible voters, and with immigration a key and personal issue for Latino voters in Colorado, the politics of immigration reform could swing the race-and the balance of the Senate," noted CAP.

The other Colorado senator is Democrat Michael Bennet, who won his 2010 senate election against Republican Ken Buck with 81 percent of the Latino vote. CAP acknowledged the Latino spending power in Colorado is $21.8 billion, as of 2012, which is an increase of 454.5 percent since 1990.


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