Blumenthal, Malloy lead into final week

With just six days to go before Election Day, Democrats hold the lead in the senate and gubernatorial race.

A new Quinnipiac University poll released yesterday showed Attorney General and U.S. Senate candidate Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73, a democrat, leading republican Linda McMahon, former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, 54 to 42 percent among likely voters. In the governor’s race, former democratic mayor of Stamford, Conn., Dan Malloy leads Republican businessman Tom Foley by five percentage points, a decrease from Malloy’s seven point lead two weeks ago. Although spokespeople for both Malloy and Foley said the election will impact New Haven’s future, an informal poll showed only one fifth of 50 Yale students interviewed plan to vote in Connecticut.

Roy Occhiogrosso, a senior adviser to the Malloy campaign, said in an interview Sunday that Malloy hopes to use the governor’s office to spur development of New Haven’s port, as well as the commercial ports in New London and Bridgeport, to generate jobs and economic activity.

“Dan understands urban policy in a way that Foley just doesn’t,” Occhiogrosso said. “He knows as a former mayor of Stamford that the state’s job is not to tell cities what to do, but rather to partner with them in a junior way and work with community leaders on the ground.”

Occhiogrosso also leveled a direct criticism of Foley, saying that because of Foley’s promise not to raise taxes, he would be unable to close the state’s budget deficit without cutting aid to cities and towns. These cuts, he said, would mean that cities like New Haven would have to raise property taxes to maintain their budgets. Raising property taxes in New Haven, he said, would be a “nail in the coffin” of the city’s economy.

Despite harsh words from Malloy’s campaign, Foley has been gaining in the polls. Liz Osborn, the Foley campaign’s press secretary, expressed confidence that a Foley victory remains within reach. In the past two weeks, Foley’s campaign has managed to narrow Malloy’s lead to only two points.

Osborn said the Malloy campaign’s scenario of higher taxes would not occur under a Foley administration.

“Most of the budget deficit will be closed cutting spending, and the rest will be filled by reviving Connecticut’s economy,” she said.

Mayor John DeStefano, Jr., who supports Malloy, emphasized that Malloy’s experience in Stamford is an asset to New Haven.

“As a mayor of another large Connecticut city, I believe Dan has insights into the challenges we face here,” he said.

But according to Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, there has been little movement in the gubernatorial and senatorial races during the past two weeks.

“The vote for Connecticut governor and senator is solidifying,” he said.

In the senatorial race, Blumenthal has maintained a double-digit advantage since an Oct. 14 Quinnipiac poll put him at eleven points ahead. Blumenthal’s lead grew substantially since its low, a lead by only 3 points, in a Sept. 28 Quinnipiac Poll. McMahon, who has spent more than $41 million of her own money on the campaign so far, managed to cut Blumenthal’s lead from a high of 40 points in a Jan. 14 Quinniapiac Poll.

Schwartz said he believes the McMahon campaign has relied excessively on negative television advertisements attacking Blumenthal’s character. He said that while Blumenthal remains popular, negative perceptions of McMahon have been increasing.

“One has to wonder if over the last few weeks McMahon would have been better off spending more of her millions on positive ads,” Schwartz said.

Ed Patru, a spokesman for the McMahon campaign, said in a statement that time still remains for the election to swing back to McMahon.

He said that in January, Democrats were stunned when republican Scott Brown won a Massachusetts special election to fill the seat of the late Senator Edward Kennedy after Brown trailed by double digits in the polls only nine days before the election.

Still, as election drama unfolds through the state, with important consequences for New Haven, only a fraction of Yale students will be participating in the finale.

An informal poll of 50 students showed that only 37, or 74 percent, plan to vote at all. Of those 37, only 11, or about 30 percent, plan to vote in Connecticut. The rest said they plan to vote in their home states.

Election Day is Nov. 2.

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