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Women turn against GOP, giving Lamont and Blumenthal 17-point leads

Gov. Ned Lamont came upon a birthday celebration while campaigning in West Hartford in June.
Gov. Ned Lamont came upon a birthday celebration while campaigning in West Hartford in June.

An overwhelming majority of women have abandoned the top of the Republican ticket in Connecticut, producing huge leads for Gov. Ned Lamont and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal in a new Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters.

Lamont and Blumenthal lead their Republican challengers, Bob Stefanowski for governor and Leora Levy for Senate, by identical margins of 57% to 40% in a survey conducted from Sept. 15 to 19 and released Wednesday afternoon.

The poll reinforces what has been apparent in other surveys: Donald J. Trump is toxic for Republicans in blue states, and a gender gap favoring Democrats remains wide in the aftermath of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade.

The dynamics of both Connecticut races are strikingly similar: The two Democrats break even or slightly lead among men, they enjoy leads of about 30 points among women, and their favorability and approval rates are solid.

“There’s not much ticket-splitting,” said Doug Schwartz, the poll director.

The poll is especially bad news for Levy, the upset winner of the Republican primary for Senate after her endorsement by Trump. Levy’s fundraising has been weak, and trailing by 17 points in mid-September is no lure for donors.

Trump is viewed favorably by only 27% of Connecticut voters and unfavorably by 65%. Voters are evenly split in the poll on the job approval rating of President Joe Biden.

With $10 million of his own money to spend, Stefanowski’s campaign finances are not as sensitive to public polling, and he was defiant Wednesday.

“This is pretty laughable,” Stefanowski said in a statement. “Anyone who believes that Ned Lamont is ahead by 17 points probably also thinks that taxes went down and their neighborhoods are safer under his failed policies.”

He said his internal polling shows him within the margin of error.

Levy’s campaign attacked Quinnipiac’s accuracy, except for its finding that unaffiliated voters favored Blumenthal by a single point.

“Quinnipiac’s commitment to consistently incorrect polling is in some ways admirable,” said Tim Saler, a Levy adviser. “Even the pollsters who said Joe Biden was winning Florida by five points two days before the election in 2020 know that Leora Levy is leading Dick Blumenthal among independents.”

Blumenthal’s campaign spokesman, Ty McEachern, said the senator was not averse to thinking the race is closer.

“He always works like he’s 10 points behind,” McEachern said.

An Emerson College Polling survey for WTNH last week had Lamont leading by 10 points and Blumenthal by 13 points, though with a far larger undecided vote.

Quinnipiac and Emerson each get an accuracy grade of A- from the political data site, FiveThirtyEight.com. The grades are based on how closely polls conducted within 21 days of an election came to the actual results.

Quinnipiac polls voters by live interviews of likely votes reached in random-digit dialing to land lines and cell phones. Its latest survey of 1,911 voters has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.2 points.

The governor’s race is a rematch between Lamont and Stefanowski.

In 2018, Quinnipiac found a tightening race with Lamont leading by 13 points on August 23, 8 points on Oct. 10 and 4 points on Oct. 30. Lamont won by 3 points.

The 2018 race, however, was more volatile, with two largely unpopular candidates vying for an open seat.

“We’re talking single digits in the fall last time. But now Gov. Lamont has been in office for four years, popular, has a strong approval rating. So he’s in a better position than he was four years ago,” Schwartz said.

The vast majority of voters who expressed a preference for a candidate told Quinnipiac they were firm in their choices. Only 15% in the governor’s race and 10% in the Senate contest indicated they might change their minds.

This year, Lamont has a positive favorable/unfavorable rating of 54% to 36%, while Stefanowski has a negative favorability of 33% to 39%, with a quarter of voters still not knowing enough about him to offer an opinion.

Voters also approve of Lamont’s performance in office, 58% to 36%.

Jake Lewis, his campaign spokesman, said the poll showed voters “applaud Gov. Lamont’s work turning Connecticut’s economy around, creating jobs and opportunity, and getting our fiscal house in order through responsible management.”

Likely voters had a favorable opinion of Blumenthal, 51% to 39%. They had a mixed view of Levy, with 27% favorable, 29% unfavorable and 44% with no opinion.

Blumenthal’s job approval rating was 56% to 38%.

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