(CNN) – A new poll suggests that big bucks are helping a former professional wrestling executive surge to the top in the battle for the Republican Senate nomination in Connecticut.
According to a Quinnipiac University survey of Connecticut voters released Wednesday morning, Linda McMahon leads former Rep. Rob Simmons 44 to 34 percent in the GOP primary matchup, with businessman Peter Schiff at 9 percent and 12 percent undecided. McMahon's 10 point lead is a dramatic swing from a 10 point deficit in a Quinnipiac poll conducted two months ago.
"What explains Linda McMahon's rise in the polls? Money. She is the only Senate candidate on TV right now. She quickly has become as well-known and well-liked among Republicans as the former frontrunner for the Republican nomination, three-term Congressman Rob Simmons," says Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz.
"We are very encouraged by the results of this poll. We have said for months that the momentum behind Linda's candidacy is real and undeniable," says McMahon campaign spokesman Ed Patru. "This poll confirms what we are seeing in our own internal polls: Linda's standing against Rob Simmons continues to improve month by month, and Republicans are excited about Linda being their nominee against Dick Blumenthal this fall."
But the poll also indicates that by a 46 to 36 percent margin, Connecticut voters say they prefer a candidate who relies on campaign donations, rather than a wealthy candidate who relies on his/her own funds.
"It should be no surprise to anyone that after six months and millions and millions of dollars in uncontested spending, including on misleading negative attack mail against Rob Simmons that Factcheck.org deemed riddled with falsehoods, that Linda McMahon would be able to buy an improvement in her polling," says Simmons campaign manager Jim Barnett.
According to the survey, the likely Democratic nominee, Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, flattens his GOP opponents in hypothetical general election matchups. Blumenthal tops McMahon by 33 points, Simmons by 35 points, and Schiff by 43 points. The poll also indicates that Blumenthal flattens Merrick Alpert 81 to 6 percent in the Democratic primary matchup.
Nearly 8 in 10 people questioned approve of the job Blumenthal is doing as attorney general.
"Blumenthal's approval rating continues to be near 80 percent. While money could make the difference in the Republican primary, it will have less of an effect in the general election. It is very hard to change the public's opinion of an elected official they have known and liked for 20 years," adds Schwartz.
Blumenthal, Connecticut's attorney general for the past two decades, announced his candidacy on January 6, a couple of hours after fellow Democrat Chris Dodd, a five term senator, announced he would not run for re-election this November. Dodd had been considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats seeking-re-election in 2010.
The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted March 9-15, with 1,451 registered Connecticut voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.6 percentage points.
–Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn
Just because she has money doesn't mean she can govern.
vote against the health reform bill and get rid of Pelosi,Boxer,Reed,and Fienstien
Go ahead. Elect her, and make your state a national joke.
The WWE has been famous for economic mismanagement. Sometimes they make a ton of money, but it's always a "bubble" economy for them. During lean times, they flirt with bankruptcy. Wanna run your state that way? Go ahead.
Another idiot in the right-wing column.
Could you imagine her as president? Wonder if that dude with the green tongue would be her education secretary. I could see it now – "OK kids... straighten up and improve your grades or I'm going to take some of this padded corner stuffing and mush it in your face"
I know there are a lot of evil libs in this state but you have got to think that all of the decent people can rally behind a truly wonderful person who is a living example of the American dream. After the Dodd-lib and his other cronie Demoncrats created this financial crisis, it is time to get Republicans in and clean this mess up.
"What explains Linda McMahon's rise in the polls? Money.
This further illustrates how we will be impacted by the SCJs decision vis-a-vis corporations and campaign financing. If one individual can impact the outcome of his/her campaign with just their own funds, imagine how a corporation can skewer a campaign with their almost limitless availability of dollars?
Pretty soon gioing to the polls is just going to be something we do out of habit because it'll be meaningless.
Interesting how the SC ruling came AFTER Barrack won. He's not too keen on corporations, so I guess the "powers that be" decided that they needed every advantage they could get to ensure that someone outside the "club" and unwilling to play ball with big business didn't stand in their way next time around. Hmm.
She has all the makings of a great GOP politician, she made a lot of money promoting a low class despicalbe "sport" and now wants to share her great knowledge and leadership with the people.
We've got to fix America's infactuation with celebrity status.
This lady has done nothing in the way of public service to prove that she deserves this.
She is attempting to buy legitamacy.
I'm very glad Blumenthal, who has been a dedicated and effective public servant, is running, because the idea that a candidate like McMahon with no experience and qualifications–just a lot of money–could get elected is emblematic of everything that's wrong with elections. We need public funding for elections, so that candidates get in on the basis of their aptitude, not their bank accounts.
There really should be minimum qualifications for these jobs. What does a "pro wrestling executive" know about running a government?
Great. Just what Connecticut needs: the CEO of a company that encouraged its employees to take poison and fake their competitions. Haven't the Republicans learned that lying is wrong?
If the Repugnants could just resurrect Larry, Moe, and Curly, to go along with McMahon, Rubio, and Hayworth, wouldn't they have a perfect set of bozos running for high office this year?
"Hey, Moe! This nail has the head on the wrong end!"
"You idiot. That goes on the other wall."
Look this is not the WWE and we need someone in the U.S. Senate that really knows what they are talking about. We do not need another "NO" vote in Washington D.C. to everything.
Linda Mcmahon is nothing but an actress, just like her family business. Everything she speaks is scripted. How can anyone actually relate to her???? I saw her in the last debate and everything she said sounded like she was reading from a book. She is not real and should be challenged on it. How come nobody is questioning her on her "family business" that was running rampid on steroids and took the lives of many wrestlers all for the sake of "entertainment". Peter Schiff should be the real candidate, he is a person who could really change things, not Mcmahon.
hopefully she takes some wresters with her and beats up the politicians in Washington. No matter what the party.
TERM-LIMITS and nobody over 80yrs in the Senate.