A Senate Upset Brewing In Connecticut?
Two years ago, Linda McMahon, formerly the CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, lost a Senate bid to Richard Blumenthal by a rather decisive twelve percentage points. Considering that only two years earlier, Barack Obama had defeated John McCain in the Nutmeg State by some 300,000 votes, this really wasn’t much of a surprise. Connecticut has been a reliably blue state for decades and hadn’t sent a Republican to the Senate since Lowell Weicker was defeated by Joe Lieberman in 1988 (before that, the last Republican Senator from Connecticut was a guy named Prescott Bush.) Indeed, McMahon was never really competitive in the polls in the race against Blumenthal. This time, though, things seem to be substantially different:
Linda McMahon, the GOP nominee for Connecticut’s Senate race, leads Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy narrowly in a poll released Tuesday
Indeed, 49 percent of likely voters back McMahon, while 46 percent back Murphy, reports a new Quinnipiac poll.
Notably, McMahon leads among men, 54 percent to 42 percent, while Murphy leads among women, 50 percent to 46 percent.
“The poll is good news for Linda McMahon. In our first likely voter poll in Connecticut, McMahon has a 3-point advantage in a too-close-to-call race. Her edge is due to her double-digit lead among independent voters and being close among women, a group she struggled with in her 2010 run,” said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz.
In 2010, McMahon was defeated in a Connecticut Senate race by Richard Blumenthal.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney in Connecticut by a relatively narrow 7 points, 52 percent to 45 percent.
Whenever you see a reliably blue or red state seeming to tilt even slightly in the other direction, it raises eyebrows. Connecticut hasn’t voted for a Republican for President for 24 years, and failed to re-elect its last Republican Senator at that same time. While the GOP has had some more success at the state level, having held the Governor’s Office from 1995 through 2011, for example, in national politics Connecticut has been reliably
Republican Democratic for 30 years. Is that changing, even just slightly?
It’s possible, of course, that we’re looking at a bad poll, and at least in the Presidential numbers it’s worth noting that 12% of the people who say they’re supporting either Romney or Obama say they may change their minds. Additionally, the fall campaign hasn’t started yet and the numbers are likely to change once McMahon and Murphy start debating. Nonetheless, McMahon seems to be in a far better position than she was two years ago.
One final note, Quinnipiac poll director says that he doesn’t think we’ll see either of the Presidential campaigns putting significant money into Connecticut even if it is closer than expected. He’s likely correct there. The Romney campaign would be more likely to invest its dollars in the handful of battleground states that will actually decide the election. Nonetheless, if Connecticut is somehow a toss-up in October, the Obama Campaign is likely to have something to worry about.