The story that the campaign of Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal (D) has been telling got some independent corroboration this morning — a new poll from Quinnipiac University shows Blumenthal is still dominating the race for Senate in the wake of a brutal New York Times story that accused him of lying about his military record.
The poll, one of the most respected in Connecticut politics, shows Blumenthal ahead of likely Republican nominee Linda McMahon by a whopping 25 points. He leads the race by a margin of 56-31. That’s down somewhat from the astronomical 61-28 lead Blumenthal had in the March Q poll, but — as they say in the business — anything over 20 is a good day.
Especially the wake of the Times revelations, which some observers predicted might destroy Blumenthal’s squeaky-clean image in Connecticut and knock him into a tough race to replace retiring Sen. Chris Dodd (D). But the Q poll suggests that hasn’t happened. Blumenthal’s job approval ratings remain high, according to the pollster, even among Republicans.
Overall, 76% of respondents to the Q poll approved of the job Blumenthal is doing as attorney general. Just 16% disapprove. Among Republicans, the numbers are not much different: Blumenthal’s approval rating among those voters stands at 63%.
There are signs that the Times story has made some impact in the race, but not at the level that McMahon’s campaign — which publicly took credit for shopping the story of about Blumenthal’s admitted “misstatements” about his time in the Marine Reserves during the Vietnam era — hoped for.
Asked about the story, 33% of respondents to the Q poll said that the story would make it less likely for them to vote for Blumenthal. But at the same time, 61% say it doesn’t make a difference.
Voters also appear to be buying Blumenthal’s take on the story rather than that of his opponents — 54% of respondents said that he “misspoke” about his military service, while just 38% say he “lied.”
That’s not what McMahon was hoping for. Her supporters probably had their fingers crossed that the Times piece would close the huge gap with Blumenthal (as one poll, from Rasmussen, initially showed it did.) But the Q poll shows that even after the story has been cooking for days, voters in Connecticut just don’t seem that interested.
The TPM Poll Average for the Blumenthal-McMahon matchup shows Blumenthal ahead by a margin of 52.3-39.1.
The poll was taken May 24-25 among 1,159 registered voters in CT. The margin of error is 2.9%.