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In Connecticut's U.S. Senate race, Blumenthal leads Levy by 13 points in WTNH-TV poll

U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and U.S. Representative Jahana Hayes (D-Conn.-05) greet each other before the start of a roundtable discussion on pediatric mental health at the Wheeler Family Health & Wellness Center in New Britain, Monday, October 24, 2022.
Mark Mirko
Connecticut Public
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-5th District) greet each other before the start of a roundtable discussion on pediatric mental health at the Wheeler Family Health & Wellness Center in New Britain, Monday, Oct. 24, 2022.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal maintained his double-digit polling lead over Republican challenger Leora Levy as he seeks a third term in the U.S. Senate.

The poll released Wednesday by WTNH/The Hill/Emerson College found Blumenthal leading Levy by 13 percentage points, 53% to 40%. Only 5% of voters remain undecided in the final weeks of the Senate race.

The WTNH poll surveyed 1,000 likely voters from Oct. 19 to 21 with a margin of error of 3 percentage points. Blumenthal’s double-digit lead resembles the margins in other recent polling conducted by Quinnipiac University and Western New England University.

Blumenthal has held a massive fundraising and spending advantage over Levy, who was off the air for weeks after her primary victory in August. The senator’s campaign spent more than $4.5 million over the past few months. But Levy is out with a new ad on Wednesday criticizing Blumenthal’s record and spotlighting the issue of crime ahead of her roundtable with law enforcement.

“Those are the type of game changers that will move the needle in a political election — communication activities, advertisements,” Spencer Kimball, executive director of Emerson College Polling, said in a statement. He added that time on the airwaves gives candidates the ability to tighten races and define themselves.

Blumenthal also holds a higher favorability rating than his Republican opponent: 53% of likely voters view him favorably, while 43% have an unfavorable view. Meanwhile, 41% have a favorable opinion of Levy, compared to 36% who view her unfavorably.

With Blumenthal serving in elected office since 1984, only 4% of voters say they are unsure or have never heard of Blumenthal. For Levy, 24% of likely voters said they are unsure or never heard of her. She has never run for office, but Levy is a Republican National Committee member as well as a political fundraiser.

Levy has gotten some last-minute financial help from former President Donald Trump, whose endorsement helped her clinch the GOP nomination decisively. He held a fundraiser for her last week from Mar-a-Lago, and she is getting a boost from Connecticut Patriots PAC, a super PAC supporting her campaign.

Her campaign’s new ad highlights the increase of murder rates in the state in 2020 as well as for car theft and robbery. Levy also sought to tie Blumenthal to activists who support defunding the police, while the narrator calls him “downright dangerous.”

But at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing over the summer, Blumenthal highlighted his support for law enforcement as well as more resources, saying “the last thing in the world we want to do is delegitimize our police or defund them.”

After an increase in 2020, crime fell in Connecticut last year, according to a report released last month by the state Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

Still, Republicans are seeking to use it as a wedge issue in this election season. Levy is hosting a roundtable on Wednesday evening with the president of the Connecticut Fraternal Order of Police, which has endorsed her campaign. They plan to discuss crime related to fentanyl as well as the recent deadly police shooting in Bristol.

While governor’s races in Connecticut rarely end in landslide victories, Blumenthal has easily won his past two Senate campaigns. He defeated Republican Linda McMahon by 10 percentage points in 2010 after she spent tens of millions of dollars of her own money to defeat him. Six years later, Blumenthal won reelection by an even bigger margin with 63% of the vote.

Like 2010, this election cycle is expected to favor Republicans overall. The party out of power historically picks up seats in the midterm cycle, and the election is typically viewed as a referendum on the sitting president.

Lisa Hagen is CT Public and CT Mirror’s shared Federal Policy Reporter. Based in Washington, D.C., she focuses on the impact of federal policy in Connecticut and covers the state’s congressional delegation. Lisa previously covered national politics and campaigns for U.S. News & World Report, The Hill and National Journal’s Hotline.

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