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    Sunday, September 25, 2022

    Latest Quinnipiac Poll: Lamont, Blumenthal up by 17 points each over GOP rivals

    Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont stands up after signing a ceremonial bill on gun safety at Hartford Communities That Care, Tuesday, July 27, 2021, in Hartford, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
    Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski greets supporters at an election night party, Nov. 6, 2018, in Rocky Hill, Conn. (AP Photo/Stephen Dunn, File)
    Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., speaks to residents at the end of a vigil to stand in solidarity with the Uvalde, Texas, citizens May 26, 2022, in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, File)
    Leora Levy, Republican candidate for U.S. Senate,, speaks during a debate from WTNH television studios Tuesday, July 26, 2022, in New Haven, Conn. (Anthony Quinn/WTNH TV via AP)

    In a surprise, the latest Quinnipiac University poll shows both Gov. Ned Lamont and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal up by 17 points each with the election less than seven weeks away.

    In the battle for governor, Lamont leads Republican Bob Stefanowski of Madison in their rematch by 57% to 40%. Blumenthal leads by the same margin over Republican fundraiser Leora Levy of Greenwich.

    Nearly 90% of likely voters surveyed in the Senate race say they have already decided how they will vote on Nov. 8, while only 10% say they might switch before casting their vote. In the governor’s race, 84% have made up their minds, and only 2% reported that they are undecided.

    “Seventeen points is by any measure a huge lead,’' said Doug Schwartz, the poll director for Quinnipiac for more than 25 years. “Barring a calamity, it certainly looks like a cruise control ride up I-91 and back to the statehouse in Hartford for Governor Lamont.’'

    The poll of 1,911 likely voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 percentage points, which is a much smaller margin than polls taken with only 1,000 voters.

    Republicans blasted back hard at Quinnipiac, which has been historically viewed as a nonpartisan polling operation for decades.

    “This is pretty laughable,’' Stefanowski said. “Anyone who truly believes that Ned Lamont is ahead by 17 points probably also thinks that taxes went down and their neighborhoods are safer under his failed policies. Our internal polling has this race within the margin of error, and we look forward to winning and bringing relief and change to Connecticut families.’'

    Nationally known pollster John McLaughlin, who has handled polling for Donald J. Trump, worked for Stefanowski in 2018 and again this year. Stefanowski also rejected a recent poll by Channel 8, The Hill, and Emerson College Polling that showed Lamont ahead by 10 points with 9% undecided.

    Levy also blasted the latest survey.

    “Quinnipiac’s commitment to consistently incorrect polling is in some ways admirable,’' said Levy spokesman Tim Saler. “Even the pollsters who said Joe Biden was winning Florida by five points two days before the election in 2020 know that Leora Levy is leading Dick Blumenthal among independents. That’s how much trouble Dick is really in, even before voters come to learn about his support for open borders, defunding the police, and Biden’s disastrous economic policies.’'

    While criticized in the past by various candidates, Quinninipiac has defended its accuracy and stood by its methodology that involves live interviewers who speak to those on cellphones and traditional landlines that are often used by older voters. Some pundits say a problem is a mistrust of all telemarketers because phones are flooded with calls about car warranties and widespread scams. In addition, a growing number of voters are unwilling to provide accurate answers or any answers at all.

    In the 2018 governor’s race in Connecticut, the final Quinnipiac Poll had Democrat Ned Lamont ahead by 4 points, and he won by 3 points. In the 2014 governor’s race, the final poll had Gov. Dannel P. Malloy ahead by 1 point, and he won by 3 points.

    In Florida in the 2016 presidential race, the final Quinnipiac Poll had Democrat Hillary Clinton winning by 1 point, and she lost by 1 point — which the poll said was within the margin of error. In the 2016 presidential race in Ohio, the final Quinnipiac Poll said Republican Donald Trump would win by 5 points, and he actually won by 8 percentage points.

    Historically, races with wide margins in September have gotten closer by election day. On Aug. 23, 2018, the Quinnipiac poll showed Lamont had a 13-point lead over Stefanowski. Like Wednesday’s poll, Stefanowski said at the time in 2018 that his internal polls showed the race much tighter.

    Pat Trueman, Stefanowski’s campaign manager in 2018, described the poll as “not worth the paper it is printed on.”

    Some Democrats were concerned Wednesday, saying they feared that Democrats could be lulled into complacency if they believe that Lamont and Blumenthal have 17-point leads.

    One of the reasons for Lamont’s lead is that many voters have a favorable view of him. They have a 54% favorable view of Lamont, compared to 36% unfavorable. Stefanowski, by contrast, is far less known as 27% say they have not heard enough about him to have an opinion. Among those with an opinion, 33% have a favorable view and 39% have an unfavorable view, according to the recent poll. Democrats and Republicans had huge differences of opinion as 90% of Democrats have a favorable view of Lamont and only 22% of Republicans see the Democratic governor favorably.

    “Bob’s failing campaign continues to sink even further as voters reject his negative campaign, and his anti-choice, anti-gun control, radical agenda; and applaud Gov. Lamont’s work turning Connecticut’s economy around, creating jobs and opportunity, and getting our fiscal house in order through responsible management,” said Jake Lewis, Lamont’s campaign spokesman. “With less than seven weeks until election day, Governor Lamont remains focused on doing his job - working on behalf of Connecticut families and paying down our debt so we can invest in our future.”

    Both gubernatorial candidates are multimillionaire former business executives who are pouring part of their fortunes into the campaigns. Stefanowski has pledged to spend $10 million, while Lamont is expected to spend as much as the $15 million that he spent in 2018 to defeat Stefanowski by 3 percentage points.

    Lamont and Blumenthal have wide margins among women voters in a blue state where Democrats have held all statewide and Congressional elections since 2006, including governor, attorney general, and state treasurer.

    Connecticut Republicans have not won the U.S. Senate seat since Lowell P. Weicker Jr. in 1982. Since then, the elections have been won by Democrats Joe Lieberman, Chris Dodd, Chris Murphy and Blumenthal. Lieberman defeated Weicker in 1988, and Democrats have not lost since then.

    “Is it shaping up to be a big blue state blowout for Blumenthal?’' Schwartz asked. “GOP Senate candidate and Trump enthusiast Leora Levy certainly gets no assist from Trump’s 27% favorability rating in the state as Blumenthal gets strong support from women.’'

    For months, state and national Republicans have been predicting that “a red wave is coming’' because of the sluggish poll ratings of Democratic President Joe Biden and the longtime tradition of gains by the party out of power during the midterm elections. The Q poll, however, showed Connecticut voters split on Biden’s job rating with 48% approve and 48% disapprove.

    Women in the poll back the Democrats, while men are divided in each case. Women support Lamont by 63% to 35%, while men are split at 50% for Lamont and 47% for Stefanowski.

    Among those surveyed in the Senate race, women support Blumenthal by 64% to 33%. Men, meanwhile, are exactly split with 48% for Levy and 48% for Blumenthal.

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