Suffolk Poll: Democrats Leading for Governor and U.S. Senate in Connecticut

10/21/2010

With less than two weeks left in the 2010 election cycle, Connecticut Attorney General and Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate Richard Blumenthal (57 percent) has opened up an 18 point lead over Republican candidate Linda McMahon (39 percent) in the Connecticut race for U.S. Senate, according to the latest Suffolk University poll. Connecticut for Lieberman candidate John Mertens has 1 percent, Independent Warren Mosler has 2 percent, while just 2 percent of likely voters remain undecided.

Blumenthal is listed twice on the ballot for U.S. Senate – once as the Democratic Party nominee and once as the Working Families Party nominee. This fusion or cross-endorsement process allows total votes cast for both the Democratic and Working Families nominees to be counted for Blumenthal. Blumenthal was the choice of 54 percent as the Democratic nominee and 3 percent as the Working Families Party nominee.

“It doesn’t appear that voter fusion will cause too much confusion in Connecticut on election day,” said David Paleologos, director of the Political Research Center at Boston’s Suffolk University. “Blumenthal, at this point, doesn’t even need the Working Families Party votes to secure a win – he just needs Republican Linda McMahon to continue her negative ad campaign, as voters have viewed McMahon’s campaign as the more negative between the two.”

When asked who has run a more negative campaign in the U.S. Senate race, 62 percent of likely voters said Republican Linda McMahon, while only 20 percent said Democrat Richard Blumenthal, and 18 percent were undecided. And, when asked specifically about McMahon’s ads stating Blumenthal lied about serving in Vietnam, 33 percent of likely voters said it made no difference as to who they would vote for on Nov. 2, 30 percent said it made them more likely to vote for Democrat Blumenthal, 25 percent said Republican McMahon, 5 percent stated it made them more likely to vote for another candidate, and 6 percent of likely voters remain undecided on the issue.

In the race for governor, Democrat Dan Malloy (49 percent) leads Republican Tom Foley (38 percent) by 11 points. Malloy also benefits from the cross-endorsement votes garnered as the Democratic and Working Families Party nominee. As the Democratic nominee, Malloy only led Foley by 7 points. Independent Thomas Marsh received the support of 4 percent and 8 percent of likely voters were undecided.

Hillary Clinton (65 percent favorable – 26 percent unfavorable) is the most popular politician of the public figures polled. This mirrors findings in the Suffolk University poll of Pennsylvania, Illinois, Ohio, Nevada, Massachusetts, and Florida likely voters in the last four weeks. Among other figures, President Obama scores a 54 percent favorable – 40 percent unfavorable rating in Connecticut, although his job approval was much closer with 46 percent saying they approve of the job he is doing as president and 42 percent disapprove.

Republican for Governor Tom Foley scores a 32 percent favorable - 36 percent unfavorable rating, while his Democratic opponent Dan Molloy scores a 41 percent favorable – 29 percent unfavorable rating. In the U.S. Senate race, frontrunner Democrat Richard Blumenthal scores a 56 percent favorable – 34 percent unfavorable rating, while his opponent Republican Linda McMahon scores a 33 percent favorable – 52 percent unfavorable rating.

In the races for the Constitutional offices of secretary of state, treasurer, comptroller, and attorney general, all Democrats are listed separately as Democratic nominees and Working Families Party nominees, and lead their respective Republican opponents. For secretary of state Democrat Denise Merrill (32 percent) leads Republican Jerry Farrell (22 percent), Republican Jeff Wright (20 percent) trails Democrat Denise Nappier (43 percent) for treasurer, and Republican Jack Orchulli (16 percent) trails Democrat Kevin Lembo (33 percent) in the race for comptroller. Finally, in the attorney general race, Democrat George Jepsen (40 percent) leads Republican Martha Dean (28 percent). All of the above statewide offices carry high undecided counts signaling fluidity in all races.

Few believe that the recession is over in Connecticut. Only 8 percent indicate it is, while 87 percent say it’s not over. And when likely voters were asked if the job situation will improve in the next six months, only 34 percent indicate yes, while 58 percent said no.

The Suffolk bellwether, the town of Plainfield, is further evidence that the Democrats may win both the Senate and governor races in Connecticut. In the Senate fight Blumenthal leads McMahon 46 percent to 42 percent, while in the race for governor, Malloy leads Foley 45 percent to 36 percent. In the 2006 general election in Connecticut, the town of Plainfield was within one percentage point of the state totals for all gubernatorial and U.S. Senate candidates.

Methodology

The statewide survey of 500 Connecticut likely voters was conducted with live telephone interviews Oct. 19-20, 2010. The margin of error is +/- 4.4 percent at a 95 percent level of confidence. The town of Plainfield bellwether included 300 likely voters polled 10/19-10/20. Bellwethers are designed to predict outcomes, not margins. Marginals and full cross-tabulation data will be posted Thursday, Oct. 21, 2010 on the Suffolk University Political Research Center Web site: www.suffolk.edu/college/1450.html. For more information, contact David Paleologos at 781-290-9310.

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