| 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
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