Poll shows Peckinpaugh leading GOP in 2nd District Congressional race

An internal poll released today by Janet Peckinpaugh's Congressional campaign shows the former television broadcaster has a significant lead over her fellow challengers Daria Novak, who received her party's endorsement earlier this year, and Doug Dubitsky, an agribusiness attorney.

"The Republicans in the 2nd District are hungry for a candidate who can beat Joe Courtney and return common sense to Washington," said Peckinpaugh in a statement. "Our campaign has been out talking to Republicans through the district and it is clear that my message of controlling government spending, cutting taxes for small businesses and individuals, creating jobs and imposing term limits on members of Congress is resonating with voters."

But Peckinpaugh's campaign manager, Mike Gionta, acknowledged that part of the candidate's lead may be due to strong name recognition, the result of a career spent in television news.

"I'm not going to be naive and say it's only the former (Peckinpaugh's campaigning); I think it's a combination of both," Gionta said in a telephone interview this afternoon. "She's been out every day since she's been in the race, and I think what we're starting to see is -- and we saw this after the debate last Thursday with Lee Elci -- she's bringing issues into the forefront and the feedback is that it's resonating in the campaign is that she is engaging voters on issues and they believe that she will be a good Congresswoman."

More than half of likely Republican voters remain undecided, said pollster Robert Russo in a telephone interview. Thirty percent of those polled said they would support Peckinpaugh, 10 percent were for Novak, and 7 percent were for Dubitsky.

The poll surveyed 300 registered Republicans in the 2nd District, which encompasses much of Eastern Connecticut, and was said to be accurate within 5.4 percent.

The poll showed Peckinpaugh had a 3-to-1 lead over Novak and a 4-to-1 lead over Dubitsky ahead of the Aug. 10 primary. When asked about which candidate had the best chance of beating Joe Courtney, Peckinpaugh bested Novak by almost 4-to-1 and Dubitsky by 6-to-1, according to her campaign.

The poll showed that 41 percent of 2nd District Republicans considered the economy a top priority in the upcoming election; 23 percent said that controlling government spending was the most important issue.

Peckinpaugh’s challengers were skeptical of the poll results, saying they believed it was an attempt to portray the candidate as a frontrunner without full context. (The Peckinpaugh campaign’s press release did not cite actual poll numbers, though the pollster provided specific details in a telephone interview.)

“I don’t believe she could jump that quickly,” said Jennifer Harvey, Dubitsky’s campaign manager, who said she believed polls commissioned by candidates would likely skew in that candidate’s favor.

And Novak’s campaign manager, Suzanne Novak, said that she believed Republican voters would continue rally behind Novak, as they did when they endorsed her at the party convention.

“Quite frankly, we would consider a candidates own commissioned poll to show them as a frontrunner, otherwise why would they release the poll?” said Novak’s campaign manager, Suzanne Novak.

Last week, Novak’s campaign released a list of town hall meetings that extends well beyond the August primary, scheduling events across Eastern Connecticut through late October.

“As the Republican-endorsed candidate, Daria remains the frontrunner and we expect to see those results play out on Aug 10,” Novak said. “When you’re not confidant in your lead, that’s when these polls come out. You see them in every election, you see those all over the country. We’re looking forward. Daria’s goal all along has been to defeat Joe Courtney and that’s what we’re focused on.”

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