FAIRFIELD, CT — A Sacred Heart University / Hearst Media poll of likely voters released late Thursday says Republican gubernatorial nominee Bob Stefanowski is leading Democratic nominee Ned Lamont by 2.4 percentage points. That’s within the 4.32 percent margin of error.
The poll of 500 likely voters conducted between Oct. 29 and Oct. 31 shows Stefanowski with 40 percent support, Lamont with 37.6 percent, and unaffiliated candidate Oz Griebel with 9 percent of the vote.
“Over the course of the four polls we’ve conducted since September on Connecticut’s gubernatorial race, we’ve watched the Republican candidate, Bob Stefanowski, close the gap,” said Lesley DeNardis, executive director of the Institute for Public Policy and director of Sacred Heart University’s master of public administration program. “Now, it’s a statistical dead heat, with Stefanowski moving up 2.4 percentage points over Lamont, who led by 3.4 percentage points just two weeks ago.”
Stefanowski’s campaign wasted little time sending emails and sharing the news on social media.
They said their tax cutting message is resonating and they have the momentum going into Tuesday’s election.
A longshot candidate from Madison who didn’t vote for 16 years before announcing his run for governor is winning over unaffiliated voters, according to the poll. The poll found that unaffiliated voters, the largest voting bloc in Connecticut, favor Stefanowski by a 43.6 percent to 22.8 percent margin. The support he’s seen from unaffiliated voters has remained steady between this poll and the one conducted between October 13-17. In that poll Lamont had a 3.4 percentage point lead over Stefanowski.
There are still about 20 percent of unaffiliated voters who are undecided, according to the latest poll.
The poll also found that female voters still favor Lamont over Stefanowski in this latest poll by a 40.8 percent to 34.8 percent margin. Meanwhile, male voters support Stefanowski by a 45.2 percent to 34.4 percent margin.
“While unaffiliated voters are supporting the Republican (43.6 percent), 20 percent of them are still undecided, and the race continues to be highly competitive,” DeNardis said. “High taxes, the state budget crisis and low economic growth continue to be the major factors the race will hinge on. Ultimately, the candidate the voters believe will do a better job of returning Connecticut to economic health, creating new jobs and offering more long-term solutions tied to improved quality of life and cost-of-living issues will prevail.”
Stefanowski has been a single-issue candidate, promising to get rid of the personal income tax over eight years and the estate and corporation tax in the second two years of his first term. Stefanowski has not said what spending he plans to cut in order to eliminate the state income tax, which accounts for more than 51 percent of the revenue for the state’s $20 billion annual budget. The state is facing a $4.6 billion budget deficit over the next two years.
Stefanowski has said he doesn’t plan to cut the income tax in the first two years of his administration. However, details on how exactly he would move forward after that are unclear.
Lamont has promised to increase the property tax credit, and wouldn’t raise the personal income tax, which has a top rate of 6.99 percent. He favors tolls for out-of-state tractor trailer trucks and would prefer a statewide property tax for motor vehicles, instead of the current system.