Articles and Analysis


CT Senate: Results by Party

Topics: 2006 , The 2006 Race

Our Slate Election Scorecard update yesterday focused on a new poll in Connecticut conducted by for the Hartford Courant by the University of Connecticut Hartford showing Joe Lieberman leading by an eight point margin (48% to 40%) over Democratic nominee Ned Lamont. Since that update went online, we learned of another new Connecticut poll from SurveyUSA showing Lieberman ahead by a larger margin (53% to 40%). The update makes reference to the results as tabulated by party, which are remarkably consistent across the various polls and tell the story of that race as it stands today.

I was able to gather results by party from four recent polls by Quinnipiac, Rasmussen, SurveyUSA and the Courant/U.Conn. poll (the latter appeared in The Hotline [$], but only for the tabulation without "leaners").


The results by party are remarkably consistent. Lieberman has become the overwhelming favorite of Republicans, receiving an average of 70% of their vote. Even among Republicans, their nominee Alan Schlesinger barely registers at an average of 11%. Remarkably, Democrat Ned Lamont runs ahead of Schlesinger among Republicans on all four surveys (a consistency that suggests statistical significance despite the small sample sizes involved).

With Lieberman winning so many Republican votes, Lamont's inability to get more than 60% of Democrats is what keeps this race from becoming more competitive. The challenge for Lamont in increasing his Democratic support is that many of Lieberman's Democratic supporters voted for him in the August primary. SurveyUSA reports that 80% of Lieberman's primary voters are sticking with him.

There is something about this race that almost defies gravity. With a tight national race for control of the U.S. Senate, two-thirds of Republicans are willing to support a candidate who describes himself as a Democrat who will "caucus with the Democrats," even if Democrats and Republicans split the Senate. And a third of Democrats are apparently taking Lieberman at his word despite his reliance on Republican money to fund his campaign.


Ken Berwitz:

This only defies gravity if you assume that voters are interested solely in partisan politics.

You might want to consider the possibility - probability is more like it - that a lot of voters in Connecticut do not want to lose the combination of effectiveness and seniority Lieberman provides, even if it means voting independent. They certainly have done it before (think Lowell Weicker).

It's also worth considering that Lamont barely won the Democratic primary (52% - 48%) so almost half of them preferred Lieberman even then. It stands to reason that many still would now.

One last thing: Primary voters tend to disproportionately be the hardliners and political junkies, not the general run of voters. Lamont is a darling of the hardline left and therefore would logically do better in a Democratic primary than a general election.



Actually, I think Lieberman's lead is largely to do with the Republicans running a really weak candidate. If Schlesinger were even taking 50% of the Republican vote Lamont would probably be leading.



Despite what the polls say, I think that Schlesinger will take away a good deal more votes.

He will be positioned at the top of the ballot- right next to very popular Republican governor Jodi Rell. I'm sure some Republicans will go "HUH? There's a Republican in the race!? Screw Joe!" seeing Schlesinger next to Rell. Also consider the fact that Joe will be down at the bottom of the ballot...


RonK, Seattle:

Top ballot position (Schlesinger) may be worth 3-5 points, but those will come mainly from low-information, mostly unaffiliated voters ... and from the no-op's on these polls.

I don't know of any result that suggests a big premium for 2nd position, as opposed to last position.


eric lowin:

I would hope that more voters in Connecticut would consider the analogy between Joe Lieberman and his unwavering, unquestioning, slavish, and embarrassing support for the worst president in American history and that Norwegian reprobate, Vidkun Quisling, who sold out his country to Hitler. All Joe is doing is pandering to the likes of Limbaugh and Rove. It is sickening.


Gary Kilbride:

This has been the most predictable race of the year. On primary night I posted on many sites that Lieberman would lead the general election polling by high single digits, and the dynamic of the race would not change unless Lamont somehow figured out a way to make Schlesinger more viable. The breakdowns in each category are almost identical to what I used in an Excel spreadsheet to come up with the high single digits projection.

My ongoing frustration is Democrats are lousy handicappers and Lamont has followed suit. He should have run ads immediately, addressing Schlesinger as too conservative for Connecticut and then listing areas in which Schlesinger takes typical conservative positions, more conservative than Lieberman without using Lieberman's name. Of course it would have been pure BS, and designed to boost Schlesinger's name ID and standing among Republicans, but atypical races require abnormal strategy.

The one thing Lamont could not afford to do was ignore Lieberman's naturally high base. The state is much more moderate than the progressive netroots wants to believe. I've allowed a private chuckle all year when it is described as the most liberal state, or similar to Massachusetts. Party ID edge in 2004 was a mere 37-30 in favor of Democrats, compared to 39-16 in Massachusetts. The self-identified liberal-conservative ratio was 26-24 in Connecticut while 34-21 in Massachusetts. A full 50% of voters in Connecticut describe themselves as moderate.

So a moderate is leading in a primarily moderate state, one that leans slightly left. Shocking. If you look at Connecticut statewide results, it's obvious the Democratic margin stems from the difference between Democrats and Republicans, about a 2/1 edge, while the massive number of independents do not break sharply left, if at all. Lieberman's 18 years provide enough comfort level and benefit of a doubt that no way Lamont seizes a vast majority among registered Democrats. And since the independents are primarily moderate and not far left, Lieberman leads there.

Lamont is done unless Schlesinger exceeds expectation in the debates and pulls a number at least double his current standing, and preferably in the teens.

My opinion on Lieberman is neutral until I hear him speak or read his comments. At that point he enrages me. The ultimate election night present would be an expected Lieberman easy victory turning into a narrow Lamont early-AM comeback, followed by wimpering Joe fruitlessly challenging the outcome for weeks.



As a conservative CT voter I am voting for Joe as Lamont is a jerk (I am being nice). I do not think that the republican will get more republican votes as we have more to lose with a Lamont victory than to lose with a Leiberman victory.


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