Washington (CNN) – Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy holds an early 11-point lead in a new poll over Republican Linda McMahon, a former WWE executive, in the race to fill Connecticut Sen. Joe Liebermann’s vacated seat in 2012.
The new Quinnipiac survey shows Murphy leading McMahon, who has not yet officially declared her candidacy, 49 percent to 38 percent in the hypothetical race. Though Murphy also leads former Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz 36 percent to 26 percent in the Democratic primary, Bysiewicz leads McMahon in the general election 46 percent to 38 percent.
With a year to the primary, however, 35 percent of Democrats are undecided on their nominee.
“There is a lot of room for movement because about a third of Democrats are undecided, reflecting the large percentages who don't have an opinion of either candidate,” Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz said.
McMahon, who lost her bid for Senate in 2010, leads former Connecticut Rep. Chris Shays, who declared his Republican candidate August 22, 50 percent to 35 percent in the hypothetical GOP primary.
"In the Republican primary, Linda McMahon's name recognition advantage over former U.S. Rep. Chris Shays helps give her an early 15 point lead,” Schwartz said. “Before she turns on the vaunted McMahon money machine.”
McMahon challenged Democrat Richard Blumenthal in 2010, and though some polls had her within 3 percent at times, Blumenthal ended up defeating McMahon by 11 percent. She ended up spending $50 million of her own money on the campaign.
Since the loss, McMahon has maintained a wide TV and political presence and her name recognition is high in Connecticut.
Lieberman, an independent senator who caucuses with the Democrats, is retiring from the Senate after 22 years. He was a candidate for vice president when he ran with Al Gore in 2000.
The election will be held November 6, 2012 and the Cook Political Report labels it a “likely democratic” race.
Quinnipiac conducted the poll from Sep. 8 – 13 and surveyed 1,230 registered voters of the phone. The poll has a sampling error of plus or minus 2.8 percent.