(Updated 11:30 a.m.) Today’s Quinnipiac University poll shows Republican U.S. Senate candidate Linda McMahon closing the gap to within three points of Democrat Richard Blumenthal.
The poll shows McMahon trailing Blumenthal 49 to 46 percent, which is three points closer than a Sept. 14 poll of likely voters. The poll has a three point margin of error.
“With five weeks to go, the Connecticut Senate race is very close. Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is ahead by only a statistically insignificant three points,“ Quinnipiac University Poll Director Doug Schwartz said. “ Blumenthal has to be concerned about Linda McMahon’s momentum. He can hear her footsteps as she closes in on him.”
Blumenthal’s internal polling puts him up by 12 points and a recent Rasmussen Reports poll showed Blumenthal up by five points.
Tuesday’s Quinnipiac University poll found only four percent of voters are undecided and nine percent say they may still change their mind by Election Day.
Independent voters flipped their support in this latest poll to McMahon. On Sept. 14 they favored Blumenthal 47 to 46 percent, but now they favor McMahon 49 to 44 percent.
However, women still favor Blumenthal 59 to 39 percent, while men favor McMahon 52 to 44 percent.
“There continues to be a big gender gap, as we’ve seen in other states such a New York and Pennsylvania. Women are going with the Democrat and men are siding with the Republican,” Schwartz said. “Usually debates don’t make much of a difference, but in a race this close next month’s debates could be a game changer.”
The poll also found McMahon gets the angry vote.
The 33 percent of likely voters who say they are “angry” with the federal government support McMahon 78 – 20 percent.
“McMahon clearly is capitalizing on the anger that one-third of voters are feeling toward the federal government,” Schwartz said.
But what about the impact of media on the campaign. McMahon has spent millions of dollars on mailers and television commercials, while Blumenthal is just beginning to hit the airwaves.
The poll found of the 95 percent who have seen McMahon’s television ads, 56 percent find them annoying and 40 percent find them informative. Among all voters, 54 percent say McMahon’s advertising is excessive, while 37 percent say it is about right.
Blumenthal’s advertising has been about right, 49 percent say, while 33 percent say he hasn’t advertised enough and 11 percent call it excessive.
“Linda McMahon has spent about $22 million on her campaign, but is it overkill? A majority of voters say that it has been excessive. In contrast, many Democrats feel that Blumenthal hasn’t been doing enough on the advertising front,” Schwartz said.
Blumenthal’s campaign manager Mindy Myers said they always knew it would be a close race.
“Linda McMahon’s spending $50 million to whitewash her record and tear down Dick Blumenthal. But the people of Connecticut know Linda McMahon puts profits ahead of people and Dick Blumenthal stands up to the special interests and puts people first. That difference will make the difference on Election day,” Myers said.
McMahon’s campaign continued to use the poll results to paint Blumenthal as a career politician.
“After nearly four decades in government, Dick Blumenthal just doesn’t understand the impact his job-killing policies will have on Connecticut,” Ed Patru, McMahon’s campaign communications director, said. “It’s becoming clearer by the day that Connecticut voters recognize we cannot change the trajectory of Washington’s misguided policies by electing another tax-and-spend career politician.”
This story will be updated later this morning with a livestream of the 11 a.m. Capitol press conference.