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Lamont ahead in SHU/Hearst Poll

August 23, 2018

In the race for governor, Democrat Ned Lamont is ahead of Republican Bob Stefanowski by nearly four points in the new Sacred Heart University/Hearst Connecticut Media Poll.

While the Greenwich businessman has 40.8 percent support among likely voters, Stefanowski, an executive from Madison has 36.9 percent, the poll finds. The gap, however, is within the margin of error of 4.32 percent, meaning the race is essentially tied heading into the Labor Day weekend next week.

The poll finds that women support Lamont 49.3 percent to 30 percent for Stefanowski. But males in the group of 502 surveyed support Stefanowski by 43.9 percent to Lamont’s 31.4 percent.

But the crucial support of unaffiliated voters is virtually tied, at 29.8 percent each, for the two candidates. And 16.7 percent are undecided over whom to support on November 6. Nearly 82 percent of Republicans say they support Stefanowski, while about 77 percent of Democrats say they are backing Lamont.

“Whether we’re up or down, we don’t weigh in on polls because we are fighting for every vote every day,” said Marc Bradley, Lamont’s campaign manager, said in a statement Thursday morning. “We’re focused on providing financial relief for the middle class, creating jobs, overcoming our fiscal challenges and moving our state forward.”

In the 21 questions voters answered in the poll this week, the state’s “high tax burden” and budget crisis were listed as the top issues.

The two candidates are nearly tied, with 29.8 percent of voters holding a “favorable” view of Lamont, while 30.3 percent have a similar opinion of Stefanowski. The race will remain fluid, however, because 44.4 percent of those surveyed have not heard enough about Stefanowski to form an opinion, while 41.6 percent report the same about Lamont.

The polls finds that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who is not seeking a third four-year term, has an approval rating of just 15.9 percent.

On national issues, less than one-third - 30.5 percent - approve of President Donald Trump’s job performance, while 58.3 disapprove. This issue could come back to haunt Stefanowski, who fully supports the president and his policies, while Lamont and state Democrats have been highly critical.

The voters translate their criticism of the president into support for their local Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Voters throughout Connecticut are more likely to support Democrats for Congress by 43 percent to 33.1 percent, if the election were held this week, the poll found.

Among unaffiliated voters, 29.8 percent support the Democratic congressional candidate in their district, compared to 21.5 percent who support the Republican candidate. However, another 36.4 percent of unaffiliated voters were undecided on who they would support in the U.S. congressional election at the time of the poll.

kdixon@ctpost.com Twitter: @KenDixonCT

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