August 4th, 2010
12:23 PM ET
12 years ago

Poll: Connecticut Senate smackdown heating up

(CNN) - A new poll indicates that the battle for Connecticut's open Senate seat is becoming more competitive, as is next week's Republican Senate primary.

According to a Quinnipiac University survey released Tuesday, 50 percent of Connecticut voters say they back longtime state Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, the presumptive Democratic nominee, with four in ten supporting former professional wrestling executive Linda McMahon, the leading GOP Senate candidate, and seven percent undecided.

Blumenthal's ten point advantage is down from a 17 point lead in a Quinnipiac poll from last month and a 20 point margin from June.

"The McMahon-Blumenthal Senate race in Connecticut could be a real smackdown, as the Republican has the money and momentum, cutting into Blumenthal's lead month to month," says Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz. "Independent voters, the largest bloc of voters in Connecticut, are for the first time evenly divided between Linda McMahon, who gets 46 percent, and Richard Blumenthal, who gets 44 percent. Blumenthal led 54 – 35 percent among independent voters just three weeks ago."

The general election winner will succeed five-term Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, who announced earlier this year that he would not run for re-election. A GOP Senate victory in Connecticut would give the party a big boost towards possibly reclaiming control of the chamber.

The poll release comes six days before the state's primary. According to the survey, McMahon leads former three-term Rep. Rob Simmons 47 to 30 percent, with businessman Peter Schiff at 14 percent. McMahon's 17 point advantage over Simmons is down from a 27 point margin last month.

Since then, Simmons has jump started his campaign. The former Army officer, decorated war veteran, and CIA employee, suspended his campaign and released most of his staff after McMahon captured the Senate nomination endorsement of Connecticut Republican delegates at the state's GOP convention in May. The gathering gave Simmons a second place finish and businessman Peter Schiff was third in the voting.

But Simmons remains on the primary ballot, and in recent weeks he has gone up with campaign television commercials, attended a debate, and has scored the endorsement of a number of Connecticut newspapers, including the Hartford Courant, the largest newspaper in the state.

"As McMahon focuses on Blumenthal, she better watch her back. Rob Simmons has shown surprising strength among Republican voters after jumping back into the primary contest barely two weeks ago. But it might be too little too late for Simmons," adds Schwartz. "Among all voters, McMahon runs better than Simmons against Blumenthal, which is different than our last poll when they ran roughly the same against Blumenthal. Republican primary voters think McMahon has the better character and personality to be a U.S. Senator, but that Simmons is more qualified."

The Quinnipiac University poll was conducted July 28-August 2, with 1,299 Connecticut voters questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 2.7 percentage points. Quinnpiac conducted a separate survey of 1,003 likely Connecticut GOP primary votes, with a sampling error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: 2010 • Connecticut • Linda McMahon • Richard Blumenthal • Rob Simmons
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Malt

    Good to see that Dodd is gone. He helped screw up the economy and then had the gaul to put his name on the useless Financial 'Reform' bill– which doesn't even address the real reason for the economic collapse.

    Connecticut needs to put someone in there that will represent the people. I'd suggest a republican this time around. Democrats haven't used their last 4 years of Congress rule (including 21 months of the super majority and the presidency).

    Vote for honest people.

    August 4, 2010 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  2. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Linda McMahon has somewhat of a clue. She has been ignoring her primary opponents and even ignoring Dick Blumenthal (the Vietnam fiasco somewhat blew up in her face), instead concentrating on running against the "establishment". By focusing on this, she has been able to ignore issues, one-on-one interviews and debates. Of course, the Republican race for the Senate has to be the oddest in CT history.

    McMahon received the support needed in the nominating convention to be the recognized party nominee. Rob Simmons received enough votes to qualify for the primary, but decided to suspend campaigning until a couple of weeks ago. Peter Schiff did not receive qualifying votes but did gather enough signatures to qualify for a spot on the primary ballot. I think that was the last time anyone in the state heard from him. I have yet to see, hear or read any ad for him.

    What really worries me about this election is McMahon has vowed to use up to $50 Million of her own money to win. As she has yet to articulate a position on any issue (other than the WWE is really just a soap opera) this seems like a lot of money to satisfy her ego. What I would find truly ironic would be if she wins her election, but the Democrats capture every other Senate race. That would make her the most junior member of the minority party that couldn't even support a Fillibuster! Ah, one can only dream...

    August 4, 2010 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  3. jim

    Blumenthal should be standing in the unemployment line come Nov. The man is the worst kind of politician,a liar.People always blame the mess the country in on the people in power but they keep voting for these same people time after time. I hope this time will be different.

    August 4, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. Corby

    I am sure that Connecticutt's women will get strongly behind McMahon whose "lowest common denominator" product does so much to elevate the status of women.

    August 4, 2010 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  5. the Republican has the money and momentum

    don't let the GOPers lead, big mistake, we are where we are now because we let the Republican have the money and momentum, see where Bush / Cheney got us?

    August 4, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    McMahon doesn't really understand that she will be one of 100 senators and will have little clout. There is little chance for her to get anything done because she will be in the minority and have no senority. Besides, her plans are little more than GOP party line ideology.

    August 4, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  7. Vijay

    It is most unfortunate that scandals regarding the ethics of prominent democrats have come to frontline just before elections. They must be dealth with of course. Republicans will fight tooth and nail, a reappeal of Bush Tax, and the oil disaster has scared the nation beyond belief.

    I hope the democrats somehow find a way to show these disasters are not their doing,and at the same time highlight the good they have done. Clearly the president's policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan do not convince anyone as solutions. As far as the Immigration Policy and what is going on in Arizone, the administration has a lot of homework to do and that too real quick.

    August 4, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. DENNA

    It is too bad that all of these Republicans are only interested in winning, not in governing or doing things to help America.

    August 4, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |