File photos of Gov. Ned Lamont and Bob Stefanowski

A Thursday Quinnipiac poll of 1,660 Connecticut residents suggested Gov. Ned Lamont held an 8 point lead over his Republican rival Bob Stefanowski ahead of their expected rematch this November.

The survey, which favored Lamont 51% to 43%, was conducted from May 19 to May 23 and had a margin of error of 2.4%. The poll gives Lamont an edge that is slightly wider than his margin of victory in the 2018 election, when he beat out Stefanowski 48% to 44%.

Women who were surveyed last week reported backing Lamont 59% to 35% while men supported Stefanowski 52% to 42%.

“Governor Lamont, propelled by strong support from women and enjoying a positive job approval rating from Connecticut voters, leads in a rematch with Bob Stefanowski, but it’s certainly not a lock,” Doug Schwartz, Quinnipiac University poll director, said in a press release.

Although he leads his opponent, the survey suggested Lamont’s favorability rating had declined from its peak at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fifty two percent of voters reported approving of the governor’s job performance as opposed to 62% in May of 2020. Voters still give Lamont high marks on managing COVID, however. The poll found 71% approved of his pandemic response.

Meanwhile, Stefanowki’s approval rating grew by 4 points from 33% in August of 2018 to 37% this week. 

The survey suggested economic issues were chief on the minds of Connecticut voters. Thirty-five percent of voters surveyed said the economy was their number one concern. The poll also suggested Connecticut voters feel better about the economy than they did four years ago. This week, 40% of voters described the state’s economy as either “good” (37) or “excellent” (3). Whereas, in August of 2018, 26% of surveyed voters answered “good” (25) or “excellent” (1).

However, more than half of those surveyed, 58%, reported being worse off financially than they were last year.

Taxes ranked as the second leading concern of voters at 15% and abortion followed at 11%. 

The U.S. Supreme Court’s expected reversal of Roe v. Wade has generated significant debate over abortion in Connecticut and contributed to the legislature’s decision to pass a law to prevent states with policies prohibiting abortions from extraditing patients or doctors who chose to conduct the procedure in Connecticut. Voters surveyed approved of that law 66% to 26%.

At a press conference last week, Stefanowski said he would support a law requiring parents to be notified before their child receives an abortion. He said his position was mainstream and suggested Lamont was “extreme” for not supporting it. 

According to the Q poll, Connecticut voters support parental notification for anyone younger than 16 years old 70% to 24%. 

The poll was conducted in the days before a gunman in Texas murdered 19 children and two elementary school teachers, sparking a renewed debate around gun control policies and that issue did not rank significantly on the minds of the surveyed voters. 

However, voters did weigh in on the job performance of other public figures like U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who is vying for reelection this year. The poll suggested voters approved of Blumenthal’s job performance by a narrow 45% to 43% margin, his lowest since assuming the office in 2011.

Meanwhile, voters approved of U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy 45% to 37% and disapproved of President Joe Biden 40% to 54%.