A new public opinion poll released on Tuesday, Oct. 30 confirms that Republican gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski has closed on Democrat Ned Lamont, making the race a statistical tossup.
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The Quinnipiac University poll of likely voters found that Lamont’s lead over Stefanowski has shrunk by half to four percentage points, within the margin of error. It also found that last week's undecided voters are beginning to make up their minds about who to elect on Nov. 6.
Only four percent of likely voters remain undecided in the Quinnipiac poll, but 13 percent of those who preferred a candidate for governor said they might change their mind in the next week.
Lamont leads Stefanowski 47 percent to 43 percent, with petitioning candidate Richard "Oz" Griebel at seven percent, according to Quinnipiac.
The latest telephone survey of 1,201 likely voters -- which can be accessed by clicking here -- was completed over six days ending on Sunday, Oct. 28.
Voters preferring Lamont have not changed their minds since the last Quinnipiac poll on Oct. 10, while Stefanowski has gained four points. Griebel had 11 percent in the earlier poll.
“This race is looking a lot like the last two elections for governor in Connecticut — a real nail-biter,” said the poll’s director, Douglas Schwartz.
“The race is close among independent voters. For Bob Stefanowski to pull ahead, the Republican must do better among this key swing group in blue Connecticut,” Schwartz said.
Quinnipiac's poll confirms a trend identified by Sacred Heart University and Hearst Connecticut Media Group, which found Lamont's lead had narrowed to 3.4 percent, according to this poll released last week
About 8.4 percent back independent candidate RIchard "Oz" Griebel. Nearly 15 percent of those surveyed were undecided, according to the telephone poll taken between Oct. 13 and Oct. 17.
The poll, which has a 4.3 percent margin of error, came two weeks after a Quinnipiac University poll found Lamont leading Stefanowski by 8 percentage points.
"This race will continue to move in Stefanowski’s direction," according to his campaign spokesman, Kendall Marr: “When it comes to Ned, Oz, and Dan Malloy, they are three peas in a pod.”
Secondly, the poll indicated Lamont’s spending millions of dollars on attack ads may be hurting him.
“We’ve said consistently that the only poll that matters is on November 6th,” Griebel campaign spokesman Chris Cooper said. “This poll does not match up with what we are hearing and seeing and it is also true that polling in recent election cycles has been notoriously inaccurate.”
Third, Stefanowski has built a sizable advantage over Lamont among unaffiliated voters, according to the Sacred Heart University/Hearst poll, which found the GOP nominee leading 43.2 percent to 24 percent.
Griebel's "spoiler factor" may be a fourth reason the election remains close so late in the campaign. A significant 13.7 percent of unaffiliated voters back Griebel, who is expected to sift more independents' support from Stefanowski than Lamont, as reported here by Daily Voice.
There is a fifth major factor that the race is neck-and-neck so late in the campaign: Both major party candidates suffer from low voter approval ratings.
Stefanowski has been tied to President Donald Trump -- not helpful in a "blue" state -- and Lamont to current Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who remains unpopular. Nearly three-quarters of those polled said they disapprove of Malloy’s job performance. Less than 15 percent approved of his two-term tenure.
Only one-third of those polled approved of President Trump’s job performance.
When asked about electronic tolling, 52.1 percent of respondents either “strongly” or “somewhat” agree that it would be an effective way to finance major transportation improvements. Lamont favors adding tolls for out-of-state truck drivers, while Griebel wants new tolls for all drivers. Stefanowski opposes them, calling them another form of taxes.
Stefanowski wants to get rid of income taxes altogether, but the Sacred Heart poll found nearly 65 percent of likely voters agree that raising income tax rates on households making more than $1 million annually would be a fair and effective way to balance state finances, if cuts to services are insufficient.
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