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Politics Jun 6, 2012 - 9:49 AM

QU Poll: McMahon, Murphy open big leads in CT primaries

By Quinnipiac University Polling Institute

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Former wrestling executive Linda McMahon leads former U.S. Rep. Christopher Shays 59 – 30 percent in the Republican primary for Connecticut’s U.S. Senate seat, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today. This compares to a 51 – 42 percent McMahon lead March 22.

In the Democratic Senate primary, U.S. Rep. Christopher Murphy leads former Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz 50 – 20 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University poll finds. This compares to a 37 – 25 percent Murphy lead March 22.

In possible November matchups:

Murphy gets 46 percent to McMahon’s 43 percent, compared to a 52 – 37 percent Murphy lead March 22;

Murphy beats Shays 45 – 37 percent, compared to a 41 – 40 percent tie March 22;

McMahon edges Bysiewicz 46 – 42 percent, reversing a 49 – 39 percent Bysiewicz lead March 22;

Shays gets 44 percent to Bysiewicz’ 40 percent, compared to a 43 – 42 percent tie March 22.

The McMahon-Murphy matchup features a reverse gender gap as men back McMahon 48 – 44 percent, while women back Murphy 47 – 38 percent. Murphy leads 55 – 35 percent among voters with a college degree while McMahon leads 48 – 40 percent among voters without a degree.

“Linda McMahon is now the clear frontrunner for the GOP nod, crushing Congressmen Christopher Shays by 29 points, after having led Shays by only 9 points back in March.  It is hard to see how Shays can overcome such a large lead by primary day, August 14,” said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, PhD. 

“McMahon also is doing better against Congressman Chris Murphy, the front runner for the Democratic nomination.  She is essentially tied with Murphy after trailing by 15 points in March.”

“McMahon’s improvement in the general election against Murphy is due to her better performance among independent voters.  She now has 43 percent of these key voters, to Murphy’s 41 percent, overcoming a 15-point deficit in March,” Dr. Schwartz added. 

“Unlike in our last poll, McMahon would be a stronger candidate than Shays against Murphy.”

“McMahon has been dominating the airwaves and it appears to be paying off.”

Connecticut voters have a 45 – 38 percent favorable opinion of McMahon, with 16 percent who haven’t heard enough about her to form an opinion.  This is an improvement from March when her favorability rating was a negative 40 – 44 percent.  Voters have a 37 – 17 percent favorable opinion of Murphy, but 46 percent haven’t heard enough about him, little changed from March.

“McMahon also is benefitting from a huge name recognition advantage after her 2010 Senate campaign.  The other three candidates are unknown to over 40 percent of the electorate,” Schwartz said.

Presidential Race

President Barack Obama leads Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican challenger, 50 – 38 percent, including 48 – 42 percent among men, 52 – 35 percent among women and 45 – 35 percent among independent voters.

President Obama gets a 53 – 43 percent approval rating and a 52 – 41 percent favorability rating. Romney gets a negative 34 – 42 percent favorability rating.

“While President Barack Obama has a comfortable double digit lead over Gov. Mitt Romney, McMahon is running in a close race against Murphy. With Republicans needing to pick up only four seats to win control of the U.S. Senate, the national spotlight could turn on this competitive Senate race to fill Sen. Joe Lieberman’s seat,” Schwartz said.

Connecticut voters disapprove 47 – 44 percent of the job Gov. Dannel Malloy is doing, compared to a 44 – 37 percent disapproval in an April 25 poll.

From May 29 – June 3, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,408 registered voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points. Live interviewers call landlines and cell phones. The survey includes 381 Republicans with a margin of error of +/- 5 percentage points and 538 Democrats with a margin of error of +/- 4.2 percentage points.

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