CT-Sen: Blumenthal Crushes Opposition; SSP Moves To Lean D

Public Policy Polling (1/4-5, registered voters):

Richard Blumenthal (D): 59

Rob Simmons (R): 28

Richard Blumenthal (D): 60

Linda McMahon (R): 28

Richard Blumenthal (D): 63

Peter Schiff (R): 23

(MoE: ±4.3%)

We got some tweets yesterday from PPP that they found Democratic AG Richard Blumenthal leading Republican opposition in the Connecticut Senate race by “uber-safe” margins. It seems like the message from that poll was received, as in the intervening day, Chris Dodd announced his retirement, and Blumenthal finally got took the plunge and is running for the open seat. With everyone wondering about the ramifications of this stunning swap, this has to be one of the most eagerly awaited polls I’ve seen.

The numbers are, indeed, stunning. Blumenthal routs his Republican opposition, with the closest race against ex-Rep. Rob Simmons a whopping 31-point margin. Blumenthal’s favorables are 59/19, including 71% favorable among Dems, 60% among indies, and even a 37/35 favorable among Republicans.

This contrasts with Chris Dodd’s numbers: losing 44-40 to Simmons, tying Linda McMahon at 43-43, and beating Peter Schiff 44-37. While that’s actually a little better than some other recent polls had shown, it still indicates pretty clearly why he felt it was time to step aside. PPP also tested Rep. Chris Murphy, who seemed like a likely Plan C but seems highly unlikely to enter now that Blumenthal is already in. Murphy beats Simmons 42-35, McMahon 43-36, and Schiff 44-28: again, indicating that the problem was specific to Dodd (who clocked in with a pitiable 29/57 approval), and not with Connecticut suddenly turning against Democrats.

With this, we’re moving the race rating to Lean Democratic. Why only Lean D? (This may actually disappoint many of our salivating fans.) Our rationale is that Blumenthal is untested in terms of running for federal office, with potentially “mile wide, inch deep” support that comes with name rec from decades as the state’s AG that may dissipate somewhat in a heated election, especially one in an unfavorable year for Democrats. However, we’re doing so out of an abundance of caution, and expect to move this rating further in the Democratic direction if additional polls are in the same range.

RaceTracker Wiki: CT-Sen

44 thoughts on “CT-Sen: Blumenthal Crushes Opposition; SSP Moves To Lean D”

  1. more cautious with your race racing than I am. That’s OK, though. Your reasoning is fair enough.  

  2. a 37/35 favorability rating among Republicans is very impressive.  I’m sure that the GOP will be ablie to chip his favorabilities among this group, but he still has the clear upper hand.

  3. Okay, who runs against Loserman in 2012?  Murphy?  DeLauro?  Probably not Larson (or is it Larsen?).  

    (NOTE: Don’t take that to mean I am in any way disappointed by these developments).

  4. with out worrying about re-election and taking a lot of time off to campaign. There are two important bills Dodd is working on and he can focused on getting them passed. This new is going to save the DSCC milions and millions of dollars.

  5. In the two matchups with Blumenthal both Linda McMahon and Rob Simmons get 28%. However, in the matchup with Chris Murphy, Linda McMahon gets 36% while Rob Simmons gets 35%. It hilarious if Simmons lost the primary.

  6. Is better than those at Cook Political.  They moved it only to Toss Up.  

    Between that rating and California at Lean D, I have to wonder what Charlie Cook and Jennifer Duffy are looking at.  It’s as if they see a similar 2010 electorate as Scott Rasmussen, at least in those races.

  7. I’m not so sure that this is a favorable trade for the Republicans. Sure, Hoeven is more conservative than Simmons, but Blumenthal is presumably more liberal than Dorgan.

    The GOP desperately needs some good news with moderates and the Northeast if it’s going to shake the label of ‘regional party’. If we lose Gregg’s seat (45% chance or so), along with the likely loss of the Governorships of Rhode Island and Vermont, then we’ll have no major officeholders in the Northeast at all aside from Snowe and Collins.

  8. Don’t know about Blumenthal but now it looks like a Democratic hold.  Connecticut is a state where Dems don’t need to be spending money in 2010 especially with so many races they need to defend (AK, NV, CO, DE, ND, PA) and the seats where the Dems could potentially pick up seats (MO, OH, NH, FL, NC)

  9. Our weak candidates are doing crappy.  When our good candidates are polled, they crush the opposition.  To a large degree this has been shown true in polls on the Republican side already, but if PPP and other pollsters would stop with the dopey sideshow polls and poll hichenlooper in Colorado, any warm body in Nevada, and Halter in Arkansas, we’d see a whole different picture that is more telling of the electorate… rather than a specific politician.

  10. But he’d be better than nothing if he ran I guess. Should be interesting numbers from R2K.  

  11. …in a comment on another thread that Scott Rasmussen will studiously not poll CT-Sen for several weeks, until after other polls and the punditry have established the narrative “Blumenthal will win in a walk.”  Rasmussen doesn’t want to hurt his own party by contributing to that narrative early on, so he’ll let others establish it and then poll the race just so as not to be too conspicuously invisible.

    Maybe Scott will prove me wrong and poll CT-Sen right away with Blumenthal, but that would be a break from character for him.

  12. If Himes got in in’06 I’d have no prob with him, but his district needs some more time to be locked down, me feels.

  13. don’t bet the farm on her. Larson is 61 so maybe but he’s also chairman of the House Democratic Caucus so I think he’s cozy where he is.

  14. “Lean” D is awfully conservative, with those initial polling numbers.  I’d go with Likely D myself.  But I assume you’ll move it over after not too long if Blumenthal’s numbers hold up.

  15. I have not looked at it but couldn’t CT-5 be shored up some in redistricting before 2012?

  16. Not sure Pomeroy should run but he is a hell of lot more credible candidate than Shultz.  

  17. We have big majorities in both houses of the state legislature IIRC.  How’s the governor’s race looking?  I would have assumed with Rell retiring, we’d have a good shot, but I don’t know who’s running.

  18. Murphy clearly wants the job and is the youngest and arguably most ambitious of the Connecticut delegation.

    But don’t count out Jim Himes.  From his base on the gold coast, he could raise an amazing amount of money for a Senate run.  Himes is also quite young (mid-40s) and ambitious.

    Then again, any Connecticut Democrat raising money to oppose Joe Lieberman will raise an ungodly sum of money.  There are lots of Democrats in this state now whose strongest political view on any issue is the view that Joe Lieberman needs to go.

    As far as the House delegation, I would bet on Murphy, Himes, or even Joe Courtney over Connecticut’s two more senior House members, both of whom now have major House leadership roles (John Larson and Rosa DeLauro).

    And then there’s Ned Lamont.  You never know.  He and Himes would really be fighting over the same base, though.  Also Lamont is running for governor right now.  

    I should also mention Susan Bysiewicz, the Secretary of State, who has been elected repeatedly statewide but doesn’t have nearly the same fundraising or self-funding potential as Lamont.  She’s also running for governor right now… after the governor’s race shakes out perhaps some of the candidates will switch over to the anti-Lieberman race.

    Connecticut has a deep bench of Democratic state legislators and mayors, but in general these people are more likely to run for state statewide office if they’re going to run for statewide office.  I don’t see Dannel Malloy or John DeStefano (mayors, respectively, of Stamford and New Haven, both excellent, both sometime gubernatorial candidates) running for Senate.  But I could be wrong.

    Meanwhile, the Republican bench in this state is very, very unimpressive.  Politically, we are gradually turning into Massachusetts — with more poor people and more super-wealthy people.

  19. He’s about a decade younger than Pelosi, Hoyer and Clyburn. And whilst I can see Pelosi refusing to retire until Hoyer does, I’d not be surprised to see Clyburn go as soon as his daughter has enough experience on the FCC to take over.

    Larson will have to wait a while, and he’ll likely face a Progressive Caucus challenge when he does get the chance, but he’ll be standing for speaker by 2022 at the latest.

  20. …have a good chance.

    Right now the big names running are Susan Bysiewicz (secretary of state), Ned Lamont (needs no introduction), Dannel Malloy (longtime mayor of Stamford who came in #2 in the gubernatorial primary last time), and Jim Amann (former Speaker of the state house).  There are a couple of other candidates running too but those are the big names as far as I know.

  21. though I wouldn’t be surprised to see Simmons flip to the Governor’s race soon and let McMahon or Schiff get killed in the Senate race, but with a Blumenthal landslide on the Senate ticket, I think Bysiewicz or Lamont could get by Simmons.

    I don’t know how districts are drawn in Connecticut, but if it requires state legislature and Governor intervention, Dems are golden.  

  22. is that if that race ends up being a crazy three way race with Lieberman and Simmons runs again, could he pluck off enough moderates to win. A situation would look like this

    34% Simmons

    33% Lieberman

    33% Democrat

    This is purely hypothetical though

  23. I wouldn’t be so quick to write it off since Dubie has been elected in his own right statewide. But I agree about RI, the next governor will be Lincoln Chafee or a Democrat. The Republicans can’t even find a candidate…

  24. He hasn’t stated positions on too many national issues, but quiet AGs aren’t normally strong liberals and he does have a reputation for moderation.

    Dorgan, on the other hand, had some conservative stances on issues like abortion, but was basically a populist. I think it’s probably a wash, at best, for the Democrats.

  25. if polls showed a close three-way race I’d imagine that partisans of either party flirting with Lieberman would jump back to the fold. And I would think that from the start Republicans would just go with Lieberman to cut their losses.

  26. Frank Caprio has a huge warchest is one of the highest vote getters in the state. He is immensly popular and people are annoyed at Chafee for staying independent and not becoming a democrat.

  27. From the inside intel I’ve heard Caprio is kind of a slime ball. Seeing as how this is Rhode Island I wouldn’t be surprised if we start hearing about how he cut out some favorable deal for his cousin or something like that. Nor would I be surprised if Republicans pulled a CT-Sen 2006 (aka voting for Chafee because he’s the lesser of two evils).

  28. He definitely feels this could be a wave year for the GOP and has his ratings set accordingly.  There are relatively few seats that he actually has in the tossup or lean-R bags yet, but he moved a whole lot of normally safe seats into likely or lean.

  29. rates conservatively much like most pundits do.  No point in taking a chance when the race is not even a day fresh.

  30. I suspect 60% of the names we pull here will have some sort of ethical slime attached.  Chaffee was remarkably clean for the RI machine.

  31. he’s not a Democrat.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m a liberal and I even voted straight party in 2008, but the RI Democratic Party is just nasty. The fact that Chafee is basically a Democrat in his politics but without the association with the state party is actually a plus to him in my eyes and the eyes of many other Rhode Islanders.

  32. I don’t mean to suggest that only Democrats are slimey, but while corruption crosses party lines there’s still a negative to being a part of the Democratic establishment here. I think in some ways we’re like CT and NJ.

  33. He’ll move them back without comment around July if nothing appears, but he’d rather be quietly ahead of the cruve than have to rush to catch up.

  34. but yet again shows an enormous GOP bias.  His polls put the GOP candidates 10% closer than did PPP.

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