Lieberman Closing Gap on Lamont?

A Greenwich Time headline proclaims “Lieberman shows signs cutting into Lamont lead, poll shows.” The story, however, does not necessarily support that attention-grabbing title.

U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, fighting for his political survival, appears to be cutting into challenger Ned Lamont’s lead the day before Connecticut’s Democratic primary election, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday. The poll shows Lamont, a wealthy Greenwich businessman, leading Lieberman 51 percent to 45 percent among likely Democratic voters heading into Tuesday’s primary. Last week’s Quinnipiac poll showed Lamont leading 54 percent to 41 percent. Lamont has had a lead in the poll since July 20.

So, Lieberman has picked up 3.5 points, right? Perhaps. Indeed, that’s the best guess.

Unfortunately, the poll has a margin of error of +/- 3 points. This means that the two sets of poll results may well reflect identical public sentiments. A three point “gain” may just reflect random sampling error.

Remember, poll results should be thought of as ranges not precise numbers. The two surveys should be viewed this way for clarity:

    July 30: Lamont 57.5-50.5 to Lieberman 44.5-37.5

    August 7: Lamont 54.5-47.5 to Lieberman 48.5-41.5.

Obviously, the second poll is better for Lieberman. Indeed, it’s conceivable that the mood of those surveyed is actually a 48.5 to 47.5 Lieberman upset or a 54.5 to 41.5 Lamont blowout.

FILED UNDER: 2006 Election, Public Opinion Polls, , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. M. Murcek says:

    The pump is being primed for the netroots to shriek “The Democrats stole the election from us…”

  2. At this point, I think a Lieberman squeaker win would be a bigger political earthquake than a Lamont 13 point victory. And how is that when an incumbent winning would be a bigger story than the incumbent getting trounced?