Why has seemingly every Democratic activist and surrogate piled on Rep. Cory Gardner using every stereotypical “Republicans are the devil” attack imaginable as of late?  They know their boy Udall is on the ropes.

In a poll put out by Rasmussen Reports on Monday, liberal U.S. Sen. Udall leads Gardner 42% to 41%.  In any campaign, you start to hit the “oh-crap” button when your incumbent candidate drops below 46 or 47%.  At 42% you might as well start packing your bags.  This is because your candidate is already a known quantity, they have spent their last term out in front of the people, and if the people don’t know you or don’t like you by now, they sure as hell aren’t coming around to you on Election Day.  This is especially true of Udall, who has been in the public eye for decades.

What must be even more disheartening for Udall’s campaign are the numbers behind the numbers.  Despite having no primary, Udall can only manage the same amount of in-party votes as Gardner does (e.g., 80% of Republicans support Gardner and 80% of Democrats support Udall).  Expect Gardner’s numbers to rise even slightly higher after the primary has concluded.  This is also reflected in the fact that Gardner, despite just announcing last week, and not having as high of name ID as Udall is already pulling more Dems than Udall is pulling Rs (9% to 7%, respectively).  In a race this close, every R to D or D to R vote will count like two.

Furthermore, unaffiliated voters are breaking for Gardner 40% to 34%.  Self-identifying moderates and people unsure of their ideological preference also prefer Gardner more (39% to 37%, 85% to 15%, respectively).

Adding context, two numbers make Gardner’s performance even stronger.  Gardner is topping Udall even though almost 19% of voters have never heard of Gardner, which is 15 points higher than Udall.  Gardner’s favorability among those who know him show that the more people get to know him, the more his overall approval numbers will rise.

On the other hand, despite polls saying how toxic President Obama is right now (Udall won’t even campaign with him), Rasmussen has Obama’s approval/somewhat approve numbers at 49%, while his disapprove/somewhat disapprove at 50%.  Other polls have had Obama drastically worse in Colorado, and with no recent news to bump up O’s poll numbers, it wouldn’t be hard to conjecture that this sample of people are noticeably more Democratic than the electorate will be in November.  Translation: those seemingly close numbers Udall started with up top suddenly turn into a Gardner landslide that could bury Udall in November.