(Updated 12:11 p.m.) Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would beat Republican Donald Trump by seven points in Connecticut if the election were held today, a Quinnipiac University poll found.
Clinton would get 45 percent of the vote and Trump would get 38 percent, according to a poll of 1,330 Connecticut voters. The poll’s margin of error is 2.7 percent.
“This is a surprisingly close race, because traditionally Connecticut is a very blue state,” Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz told reporters Tuesday morning. “It hasn’t voted for a Republican for President since 1988. Democratic candidates have won typically by double-digit margins.”
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders does slightly better than Clinton in Connecticut. Sanders would get 54 percent of the vote and Trump would get 35 percent in an increasingly unlikely matchup.
When third party candidates are added to the mix, Clinton gets 41 percent, with 36 percent for Trump, 6 percent for Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson, and 3 percent for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, according to the poll.
The poll found neither Clinton or Trump are well liked by Connecticut voters.
A total of 37 percent of Connecticut voters have a “strongly favorable” or “somewhat favorable” opinion of Clinton, while 55 percent have a “somewhat unfavorable” or “strongly unfavorable” opinion. Trump gets 33 percent “strongly favorable” or “somewhat unfavorable,” and 61 percent “somewhat unfavorable” or “very unfavorable.”
Schwartz called these unfavorability ratings very unusual. “I know nationally that these are historically the least favorably viewed presidential candidates ever,” Schwartz said. “So in Connecticut, I can’t recall in our own polling seeing two more negatively viewed candidates.”
He also pointed out that eight percent of voters volunteered that they would opt not to vote in a Hillary Clinton-Donald Trump matchup. “I can’t remember ever seeing the volunteer wouldn’t-vote ever being so high. Typically you get two, three percent who actually volunteer when you ask them how they’re going to vote, that they won’t vote. Eight percent, to me, is a sign that people are unhappy with their choices. We might see a lower than usual turnout.”
Fifty-five percent of voters surveyed said that if Trump is president, he will bring about “real change in the way things are done in Washington.” If Clinton is president, it will be “business as usual,” 82 percent of voters told Quinnipiac University pollsters.
Sixty percent of voters surveyed say Clinton has the right “personality and temperament” to be president, but Trump does not, according to 68 percent of voters polled.
“It’s pretty amazing that Trump is within single digits of Clinton, given how poorly he scores on having the temperament and being prepared for the presidency,” Schwartz said in a press release. “What Trump has going for him is the desire for change, and the weakness of Hillary Clinton.”
At a late morning press conference, Schwartz said, “As you know, independents are the largest voting bloc here, and the key swing group. And he’s winning them by a few points. If it wasn’t for the Democrats outnumbering Republicans in the state, Trump would be ahead.”
The poll was conducted June 1-5 before the Associated Press declared late Monday that Clinton had secured enough delegates to win the Democratic presidential nomination. The Sanders campaign said Clinton does not have, and will not have, the requisite number of pledged delegates to secure the nomination.
“It is unfortunate that the media, in a rush to judgment, are ignoring the Democratic National Committee’s clear statement that it is wrong to count the votes of superdelegates before they actually vote at the convention this summer,” Michael Briggs, Sanders spokesman, said.
He said she will be dependent on superdelegates who do not vote until July 25 convention in Philadelphia and who can change their minds between now and then.
Asked whether Quinnipiac would continue to include questions about Sanders in its polling, Schwartz said “We’ll wait and see. Let’s see how Sanders reacts to what happens today in California and then we’ll sort of make the decision on a case-by-case basis.”
Meanwhile, in Connecticut’s U.S. Senate race, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal would handily beat his two potential Republican challengers, state Rep. Dan Carter of Bethel and August Wolf of Stamford, who is seeking to petition his way onto the Republican primary ballot.
The poll found Blumenthal would receive 60 percent of the vote in a matchup against Carter, beating him by 30 points, and 62 percent of the vote in a matchup against Wolf, beating him by 35 points. Blumenthal is also well-liked by Connecticut voters and received a 60 percent job approval rating. Schwartz attributed the “lopsided” race to Blumenthal’s approval rating and the relatively unknown status of his challengers.
Connecticut’s other U.S. Senator, Chris Murphy, who isn’t up for re-election this year, received a 53 percent approval rating.
Max Moran contributed to this report.