Credit: Courtesy of SHU

A new Sacred Heart University poll released Monday found that if the 2022 Election was held today nearly half or 47.6% of those surveyed would vote for Gov. Ned Lamont, while 29.7% would vote for Republican Bob Stefanowski. 

The digital poll of 1,000 residents was conducted at the end of March. It found 83.1% of Democrats indicated they would vote for Lamont, while only 11.8% of Republican respondents said they would vote for him. 

The survey also concluded that Lamont did a good job handling the COVID-19 pandemic. An estimated 46.8% rated Lamont’s handling of the pandemic as “excellent” or “good.” 

“Polls go up, they go down, but our sole focus is on governing — building on our historic gas tax cut last month by providing much-needed car and property tax relief to millions of residents,” Lamont’s campaign spokesman Jake Lewis, said. “Over the past three years, the governor has shown strong leadership through tough times, keeping small businesses open, cutting taxes for working families, and increasing investments in our schools.”

Stefanowski’s campaign had a different take.

“We’ve got our own polling data that’s fueling our campaign and clearly the governor does too, which is why his campaign started running television commercials seven months before the election, in the middle of a legislative session,” Liz Kurantowicz of the Stefanowski campaign, said.

The survey also asked a bunch of questions about how residents are feeling on a wide range of issues. 

The survey found about one-third of those surveyed felt Connecticut’s laws regulating the purchase of firearms was “too lenient” while about 32.5% felt they were “about right.” 

When it comes to parental influence of K-12 schools, 26.9% of the respondents indicated the amount of parental influence is “too little,” while a similar frequency, 26.6% indicated it is “about right.” 

A higher frequency of Republican respondents, or 42.8%, indicated parental influence on K-12 schools was “too little” compared to 15.5% of Democratic respondents. 

The survey also found a majority of residents don’t believe the property tax is “fair.” Lamont has proposed legislation to increase the amount of the property tax credit, a policy position he was unable to fulfill in his first term. 

Similarly, 61.8% of the respondents do not believe the income tax is “fair,” and 56.7% do not believe the sales tax is “fair.” 

When it comes to the issue of youth crime, nearly two-fifths of Connecticut residents surveyed in March 2022 or 37.7% indicated the state should respond to young people who repeatedly commit crimes by “sentencing them for the same amount of time as an adult, to be served in an adult prison.” A higher frequency of respondents or 71.9%  reported “increase employment opportunities for young people” as the best use for public funding to reduce long-term crime.

When it comes to quality of life issues, a majority or 73.7% reported their quality of life has been either “excellent” or “good,” which marked a small increase over a similar poll in October 2021 which found 68.7% of residents enjoyed their quality of life in the state. 

However, more respondents expressed the belief that the quality of life in Connecticut over the last year is declining, 30.8%, compared to the rate of those who reported the same in October 2021, 16.8%. 

In this new poll, 31.8% of surveyed residents reported it being either very easy or somewhat easy to maintain their standard of living out of their household income today, while 44.7% reported it being difficult. The frequency of respondents who indicated it was very easy or somewhat easy has decreased significantly from 40.4% in October 2021.

“Connecticut residents are quite concerned about tax issues and quality-of-life standards and are looking to state government for relief,” Steven Michels, director of the Institute for Public Policy & Civic Engagement, said. “Also, aligned with the current national trends, we see increased attention being paid to parental, school board or government involvement in teaching curricula and books used in public schools. Not surprisingly, political affiliation plays a large role in how respondents lean on these and other social, legal, emotional and educational issues currently affecting residents in Connecticut and across the country.”