May 27th, 2010
09:19 AM ET
5 years ago

Poll: Most Connecticut voters OK with Blumenthal controversy

A new poll released Thursday has Richard Blumenthal holding a 56 to 31 point lead over his challenger for Senate.
A new poll released Thursday has Richard Blumenthal holding a 56 to 31 point lead over his challenger for Senate.

(CNN) – A new poll suggests that the controversy surrounding Democratic Senate nominee and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal's misstating of his military record during the Vietnam War does not seem to be hurting him with most state voters.

A Quinnipiac University survey released Thursday indicates that more than six out of ten Connecticut voters say the controversy doesn't make a difference to their decision in the Senate election, with a third questioned saying it makes them less likely to vote for Blumenthal.

According to the poll, 56 percent say they back Blumenthal, with 31 percent supporting former professional wrestling executive Linda McMahon, in a likely general election matchup. One in ten were undecided. Blumenthal's 25 point advantage is down from a 33 point lead in a March poll conducted by Quinnipiac University.

"It looks like Connecticut voters forgive Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, or feel that there is nothing to forgive in the Vietnam service flap. While he has taken a hit with voters, his poll numbers were so high to begin with that he still maintains a commanding lead over Linda McMahon," says Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz.

Early last week the New York Times reported that Blumenthal distorted his military service record. The article alleged that Blumenthal lied about serving in Vietnam and says that he never served in that war, even though the candidate has claimed he did in speeches before veterans groups and military families.

A day after the release of the article, Blumenthal acknowledged he had not always accurately described his military service during the Vietnam War. Blumenthal served in the Marine Corps Reserves during the Vietnam War, and was stationed stateside. He said he mistakenly said he served "in" Vietnam rather than "during" Vietnam in his previous speeches.

The absence of a strong apology in his remarks last Tuesday fueled criticism from Republicans and even some Democrats.

"I have made mistakes and I am sorry. I truly regret offending anyone," Blumenthal said in a statement sent to the Hartford Courant Sunday night. "I will always champion the cause of Connecticut's and our nation's veterans."

In the statement to the Courant, Connecticut's largest daily newspaper, Blumenthal also said that "at times when I have sought to honor veterans, I have not been as clear or precise as I should have been about my service in the Marine Corps Reserves."

Last Friday McMahon captured the Senate nomination endorsement of state Republicans, but could still face a challenge in Connecticut's August primary.

According to the poll, McMahon leads the GOP primary with 49 percent, with former Rep. Rob Simmons at 23 percent and businessman Peter Schiff at 11 percent. Simmons, who narrowly lost the Republican endorsement to McMahon, suspended his campaign as the survey was being conducted.

"What is surprising is that McMahon gets no bounce from her Republican convention victory. Her negatives went up 13 points from 26 percent unfavorable to 39 percent unfavorable. The more voters get to know McMahon the less they like her," adds Schwartz.

The race is to succeed Sen. Chris Dodd. The five-term Democratic senator announced in January that he would not run for re-election this year. Dodd had been considered one of the most vulnerable Democrats in this November's midterms.

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted Monday and Tuesday, with 1,159 registered voters in Connecticut questioned by telephone. The survey's overall samplign error is plus or minus three percentage points.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn


Filed under: Linda McMahon • Richard Blumenthal
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. Lib Hunter

    Wow thats strange, Rasmussen has him down to a 3 point lead. Well this is CNN so we all know the real deal.

    May 27, 2010 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  2. Monrob

    Good, we need more republicans like we need another hole in our head.

    May 27, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  3. Biased

    So is the new change in Washington and elsewhere that it is fine with democrats when their party representatives lie but just the most horrible despicable event that has ever occurred in history when a republican does it? Are we now expected to accept lies as part of the new tone and learn to gradually evaluate which lie is worse than another lie? Do little lies from democrats get a pass while little lies from republicans don't? Is a democratic lie better than a republican lie? Will it now be okay to lie under oath since democrats don't think it is a big deal? There are a lot of consequences that flow from one little decision to make a lie okay in the eyes of some.

    May 27, 2010 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  4. gary

    blumenthal is a liar, he lied about his service and he will keep lying if elected. I guess that the country is sooo synical that we expect our leaders to lie to us....it will be pathetic if this man wins the election.

    May 27, 2010 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  5. Mike

    Why not be honbest and call what Blumenthal did by the right term. He diddn't misstate his VietNam service he out and out LIED,
    Of course the liberals here in Connecticut are OK with him LYING because they are use to a scum bag by the name of Chris Dodd lying to them for the last several years.
    Be honest if the liberal press would have caught a Conservative misstating his military service record they would have been all over him or her for that matter like white on Rice.

    May 27, 2010 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  6. Ann Frantti

    What??? This type of adult behavior sends a message to our youth that is is acceptable to lie on a college or job application. So much for modeling high standards..!!

    May 27, 2010 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  7. Ron in California

    Connecticutt voters are Ok with a person who lies or allows untrhuths that favor him to stand? I wonder what else might be lurking out there that he has lied about.

    May 27, 2010 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  8. Duck Fallas

    Linda McMahon wants to promote job growth in CT by having all her WWE junk made in China.

    Blumenthal has done more to help Vets in CT than almost anyone else.

    May 27, 2010 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  9. New Age Independant

    There can be no doubt that he clearly intended to deceive voters to gain their votes. This is a serious character issue and should give voters insight on how he will perform if elected. If he'll say anything to help get elected now, the sky is the limit later on.

    May 27, 2010 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  10. Marge

    What I can't understand is why this is still a story. The man mentioned Viet Nam three times in a speech. Twice he said Viet Nam era. Once he mis-spoke and left off era. McMahon tried to spoil his run, edited the two correct ones and tried to land a point by just giving the incorrect one. And the NYT didn't even bother to check.

    Blumenthal said he mis-spoke and didn't add era to the one sentence and the voters realized this. But the republican run press like CNN are still trying to make a mountain out of it. I hope McMahon gets "slammed" so bad the people of CT will be embarrased to even mention her name.

    May 27, 2010 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  11. Paul from Phoenix

    As soon as they starrt debating, Blumenthal is toast. He was AWFUL in his primary debates. And if he tries to make it a race about money, his family is worth over $100 million dollars, so that would be a pretty poor choice.

    May 27, 2010 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  12. Dean

    Since when does being a liar ruin a political career? That's what they do best.

    May 27, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  13. toughlove

    I thought Americans were sick and tired of liars...whether they're Republican or Democrat??Maybe we'll never learn and it will be our downfall.

    May 27, 2010 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  14. Peace

    People in Connecticut are not stupid. They understand what is good for them and the man (Blumenthal) very well. They are looking at the present and the future not back-paddling, moon-walking, backsliding of some of the opposition party wanted them to adapt!

    May 27, 2010 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    The point is that he did serve during Vietnam in some capacity. The bigger question is what has done during his time as Attorney General. If there are questions that were raised as his time there, then that is a campaign issue. This misspeaking over surving during or in Vietnam is minor issue. What will he do for the state if he is elected to the US Senate?

    May 27, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  16. doug

    Woah big suprise here!

    Musilms are ok with praying to Allah 4 times a day too. Same thing, lying is like the religion of Democrats, in fact if you are caught being honest they kick you out of the party.

    Objective, fair minded Americans who have spent time in ultra blue areas know the way Democrats are. I don't think it is wrong to expect better for our country, if this whole nation was just like these blue areas then it would not be worth it for our brave men and women to defend it. The Taliban want people killed if they don't believe what they believe, read the ticker or watch msnbc, are Democrats any different?

    May 27, 2010 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  17. Mike

    So most Connecticut voters have not problem with a draft dodging liar and here I thought that could only happen in California,Vermont and the state of Washington.

    May 27, 2010 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  18. Jeanne Wife of Former Marine

    Nothing to forgive? Well, then, Connecticut voters and people must be okay with lying. Blumenthal did not misspeak he wanted the advantage of saying he was a Vietnam Veteran. Ask any man or woman who has served, who has lost a son, daughter,mother, father in service to their country how they feel about this . Better yet; ask a Marine how she or he feels about this. If you accept this, then I guess you are okay with the people who go out and buy medals to say they have served and been wounded in action. What is wrong with you people? To say you served in Vietnam when you did not is a LIE! AND IS DISHONORING ALL OF THOSE THAT DID AND THOSE THAT LOST THEIR LIVES!!!! not only in Vietnam, but WWI, WWII, Korea, Iraq and Afghanistan.

    May 27, 2010 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  19. Harold Morton

    I usually do not comment but in this case I will. I do not think he can be trusted after his misleading comments. He is the AG!! and he knew he was not telling the truth and did not admit it until he was caught. Do he not send people to jail for this behavior?

    May 27, 2010 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  20. Steve (the real one)

    Circle the wagons liberals, circle the wagons! Somehow you will attempt to blame Bush or Palin for this guys lack of integrity!

    May 27, 2010 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  21. Simon/Orlando

    Why would they vote a blatant liar into congress? Wait a minute...what am I thinking. He'll fit in just fine with the rest of them.

    May 27, 2010 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  22. demmie

    well, they're used to voting democrat so are accustomed to lies...

    May 27, 2010 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  23. Patrick

    How disgusting. Connecticut voters are so blatently biased for Dems they will forgive someone lying about fighting in a war. If he wins the senate seat then Connecticut should be ashamed of itself. He also is a terrible AG isn't that enough to not vote for him?

    May 27, 2010 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  24. Right Leaning Independent

    Of course it does not bother them! Hypocrites love each other!!

    May 27, 2010 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  25. SayWhat

    "According to the poll, 56 percent say they back Blumenthal, with 31 percent supporting former professional wrestling executive Linda McMahon..'

    Yeah, I'd go with the delusional, reluctant ex-Marine over the wrestling lady, even if he starts telling about how he helped raise the flag on Iwo Jima. Good luck, Connecticut.

    May 27, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
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