(Updated) The latest Quinnipiac University poll shows Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont with a lead over his Democratic competitors and Republican opponents in the race for governor.
Slightly less than half the Democratic voters still remain undecided, while Lamont received 27 percent of the Democratic vote. He is followed by former Stamford Mayor Dan Malloy who gets 11 percent. The rest of the Democratic field received 5 percent or less of the vote.
On the Republican side Greenwich businessman Tom Foley has a lead over Lt. Gov. Michael Fedele. More than half of the voters remain undecided, but 17 percent say if the primary were held today they would pick Foley, while eight percent say they’d pick Fedele. The rest of the Republican field received 6 percent or less of the vote.
“On the Democratic side, Ned Lamont has taken the ‘lead’ with the exit of Susan Bysiewicz, but much of that is due to his greater name recognition,“ Quinnipiac University Poll Director Doug Schwartz said in a press release. “Malloy is within striking range and it is possible for a lesser known candidate to emerge.”
In the general election, Lamont beats Foley 38 to 36 percent and Fedele 41 to 32 percent, while Malloy beats Foley 37 to 33 percent and Fedele 37 to 31 percent.
“The big winner in the primaries for Governor is ‘Undecided.’ With most of the candidates largely unknown, voters aren’t expressing a preference in the gubernatorial primaries yet,” Schwartz said.
Lamont enjoys a higher degree of name recognition over his Democratic and Republican opponents because he ran what ended up being a widely watched 2006 campaign for U.S. Senate against U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, who ended up beating him as an independent.
But it was unclear to Schwartz why Foley was leading the Republicans and had greater name recognition. Maybe it was all the television ads he ran when he was a candidate for U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s seat?
“We still found a large number of Republicans who say they don’t know enough about Foley to express an opinion, however, he is the best known of the Republicans and that also explains his early edge in the primary race,” Schwartz said Thursday at a Capitol press conference.
“It’s not that surprising that Fedele has a low name recognition, although I have to admit I was surprised at how low it was,” Schwartz said.
Schwartz said the sheer numbers of candidates in the race makes it difficult for any one candidate to break through and get their message across to voters. He said he can’t remember a race he’s polled where there were a dozen candidates running for one office.
“It’s going to be tough for them to distinguish themselves,” Schwartz said.
In the race for attorney general, Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz tops the Democratic pack with 62 percent. Former Democratic State Chairman George Jepson gets 10 percent and 24 percent are still undecided. Waterbury Mayor Michael Jarjura received 2 percent of the vote and Rep. Cam Staples, D-New Haven, who announced his candidacy Wednesday was not included in the poll conducted Jan. 14-19.
By a 49 – 14 percent margin, Connecticut voters have a favorable opinion of Bysiewicz, with 36 percent who don’t know enough about her to form an opinion.
“Bysiewicz has to feel good about her poll numbers,“ Schwartz said. “Despite the controversy over whether she has been in ‘active practice’ as an attorney for 10 years, which broke as the poll was in the field, she is the clear favorite over the virtually unknown George Jepsen in the Democratic primary. And her favorability numbers have remained high. But if this story doesn’t go away, this could change.”
The poll of 1,594 voters has a 2.5 percent margin of error.