udall gardner

Story highlights

A Quinnipiac University poll showed Sen. Udall trailing Rep. Cory Gardner 40-48%

A USA Today/Suffolk University poll gave Gardner a 1-point edge

The two nonpartisan polls are the first time Udall has been behind his opponent since July

Udall's campaign manager dismissed his candidate's fall in this week's polls

Washington CNN  — 

A pair of polls released show Democratic Sen. Mark Udall falling behind his Republican opponent in the tight Colorado race for his seat.

A Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday shows Udall trailing Rep. Cory Gardner by eight points. The poll comes less than a day after a USA Today/Suffolk University poll showed the race as a statistical dead heat, with Gardner leading the incumbent, 43% to 42%.

The two nonpartisan polls are the first time Udall has been behind his opponent since the last Quinnipiac poll gave Gardner a 2-point lead in July.

The race has looked like a tough contest since Gardner jumped into it, but polling over the last two weeks has given Udall a 2- to 6-point edge over his Republican opponent.

Udall’s campaign manager Adam Dunstone acknowledged on Twitter that his candidate is locked in a tight race, but dismissed any “wild swings like you see in the news.”

Republicans are closer than ever to retaking the Senate since Democrats took control in 2006, and a GOP win in Colorado could help tip the balance.

Udall has tried to put daylight between his positions and President Barack Obama’s policies as the President’s poll numbers have dipped.

The USA Today/Suffolk University poll showed 55% had an unfavorable view of Obama.

And while Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper shared a beer with Obama in Denver in July, Udall wasn’t in the picture for the photo-op. He was originally scheduled to attend a Denver fundraiser with the President, but made a last-minute change to stay on Capitol Hill for a vote.

But Gardner’s hefty lead in the Quinnipiac poll could also be an outlier: It’s the second time this week that Quinnipiac has strayed from the pack of polls.

The institution also gave Republican candidate Joni Ernst a 6-point lead against her Democratic opponent Bruce Braley in the equally contentious Iowa Senate race. Other polls have pointed to a dead heat in the Iowa contest.