Negative campaigning against U.S. Rep. Nancy Johnson seems to have backfired for U.S. Rep. Jim Maloney, according to a poll Tuesday that showed Johnson amassing a 16-point lead in the 5th District race.

Johnson, a 10-term Republican, has the support of 50 percent of likely voters in the 5th District, while 34 percent support Maloney, a three-term Democrat, and 18 percent are undecided.

About 32 percent of those polled thought that Maloney’s campaign has been negative, while about 18 percent thought Johnson’s has been negative.

“There is a sense the negative tone of the campaign over the last few weeks has not worked in Maloney’s favor at all,” said David Yalof, an associate poll director.

The poll, by the University of Connecticut Center for Research and Analysis, also showed that Johnson is enjoying more support from her own party than Maloney is from his.

Johnson said the poll shows that voters are now recognizing the difference between her and Maloney.

Maloney dismissed the poll as erroneous. Partisan polls by his campaign and by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee show the race is a dead heat, he said.

“They didn’t get it this time. It happens,” Maloney said of the UConn poll.

–Associated Press