With just eleven days to go until Election Day, the Democrats in both the U.S. Senate and gubernatorial races appear to be pulling away.
In recent weeks, senatorial candidate Richard Blumenthal LAW ’73 and gubernatorial candidate Dan Malloy have made importantgains on their Republican opponents. The gap between the two parties comes after both races appeared headed for a dead heat in September. The latest Quinnipiac University Poll numbers show an eleven percent lead for Blumenthal over Linda McMahon, the former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment. Malloy, a former mayor of Stamford, Conn., has opened up a seven percent lead over Tom Foley, of Greenwich, Conn.
“We have seen significant movement towards Democrats in the last few weeks,” said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz in a phone interview.
Schwartz said Malloy, who has more than doubled his lead since a Sept. 28 Quinnipiac poll put his lead at only three points, was approaching the “magic 50 percent mark.”
Blumenthal, who has served as the state’s attorney general for the last 20 years, is above that threshold and now needs only to hold on to his supporters. In both races, Schwartz said, the Republican candidate has been losing support among Independents.
“In order to win in Connecticut, Republicans need Independents, since this is a blue state,” Schwartz said.
Registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans 34 to 21 percent in the state.
Susan Voigt, the chairwoman of the Democratic Town Committee of New Haven, said she feels confident that her party will sweep the gubernatorial and senatorial races, despite September being a rocky month in the polls for both Democrats.
In the Quinnipiac poll released Sept. 28, both Blumenthal’s and Malloy’s leads stood at three points.
“Looking broadly at the polls and the energy coming from Democrats, I think the last couple of weeks have been very positive,” Voigt said. “People are working every day.”
Speaking to reporters outside Louis’ Lunch on Crown Street on Monday, Foley said he felt that the large number of undecided voters in the governor’s race, about 7 percent, would play to his favor as the candidate from the party out of power.
Schwartz questioned whether those voters would lean towards the Republican candidate, but he noted that undecided voters tended to be Independents rather than Democrats.
Schwartz added that McMahon, whose deep pockets helped her narrow what was in January a 40 point gap between her and Blumenthal, should not yet be counted out.
McMahon has spent $39.5 million of her own money on the race so far and has publicly stated a willingness to spend as much as $50 million before the election.
“I would never want to count out someone who has that kind of money,” Schwartz said. “There could still be an October surprise.”
Election Day is Nov. 2.