Nice to have plenty of loot to build name recognition. Linda McMahon spends millions on television, radio, direct mail then — swoosh — the effort juices her to a polling lead among candidates for the GOP U.S. Senate nomination. Former Congressman Rob Simmons and economic guru Peter Schiff could be eating her dust if they don’t get up and stay up on the air. Problem is they cannot compete with her spending. Problem for Linda? Democrat Dick Blumenthal just moves along at his pace, kicks out press releases in his role as state attorney general, and maintains a huge lead in head-to-head matchups against any Republican.
Money matters big time in these races. When Quinnipiac releases poll results for gubernatorial leaders look for Tom Foley to be the leading Republican. Why? Moolah. What about Lieutenant Governor Michael Fedele? No one knows him. And he has no money.
Former wrestling executive Linda McMahon, surging from a 10-point deficit two months ago, now leads former U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons 44 – 34 percent in the Republican primary for the Connecticut U.S. Senate contest, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.
This reverses a 37 – 27 percent Simmons lead in a January 14 survey by the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University. In this latest poll, businessman Peter Schiff has 9 percent, with 12 percent undecided.
Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal tops Merrick Alpert 81 – 6 percent in a Democratic Senate primary and stomps his Republican opponents:
•61 – 28 percent over McMahon, compared to 64 – 23 percent January 14;
•62 – 26 percent over Simmons, compared to 62 – 27 percent;
•64 – 21 percent over Schiff, compared to 66 – 19 percent.
Blumenthal gets a 79 – 13 percent approval rating, continuing a 10-month string of approval ratings of 78 points or higher, and a 70 – 18 percent favorability rating.
“What explains Linda McMahon’s rise in the polls? Money. She is the only Senate candidate on TV right now. She quickly has become as well-known and well-liked among Republicans as the former frontrunner for the Republican nomination, three-term Congressman Rob Simmons,” said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, PhD.
“In the general election, however, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has a commanding lead over all three potential Republican opponents. Blumenthal’s approval rating continues near 80 percent. While money could make the difference in the Republican primary, it will have less of an effect in the general election. It is very hard to change the public’s opinion of an elected official they have known and liked for 20 years.”
Favorability ratings for other Connecticut U.S. Senate candidates are:
•Alpert: 93 percent don’t know enough about him to form an opinion;
•McMahon: 36 – 26 percent with 36 percent who don’t know enough about her;
•Simmons: 38 – 21 percent with 40 percent who don’t know enough about him;
•Schiff: 85 percent don’t know enough about him.
Connecticut voters say 46 – 36 percent they prefer a candidate who relies on campaign donations, rather than a wealthy candidate who relies on his/her own funds. Results are similar among Democrats, Republicans and independent voters.
The next Connecticut U.S. Senator should generally support President Barack Obama’s policies, voters say 56 – 36 percent.
Connecticut voters approve 54 – 42 percent of the job President Obama is doing, compared to 55 – 41 percent January 14 and Obama’s lowest score in the state since he was inaugurated. Voters disapprove 52 – 42 percent of the way the President is handling health care and disapprove 50 – 46 percent of the way he is handling the economy, but approve 54 – 39 percent of the way he is handling foreign policy.
Voters mostly disapprove 48 – 40 percent of the proposed health care reform pending in Congress. Democrats approve 68 – 22 percent, while disapproval is 87 – 7 percent among Republicans and 50 – 34 percent among independent voters. The proposed health care legislation is too complicated, 59 percent say, while 32 percent say changes must be complex to be effective.
Only 16 percent of Connecticut voters trust the government in Washington to do the right thing almost all of the time or most of the time, while 53 percent say the federal government does right some of the time and 30 percent say “hardly ever.”
But only 23 percent of Connecticut voters say they are Tea Party supporters. That group includes 50 percent of Republicans, 4 percent of Democrats and 25 percent of independent voters.
“While very few voters trust the government in Washington to do what is right most of the time, President Barack Obama still gets a 54 percent job approval,” Dr. Schwartz said.