Q-Poll: Murphy opens up lead over McMahon

Women and older voters are shifting away from Linda McMahon, the Republican candidate in Connecticut's U.S. Senate race, giving U.S. Rep. Christopher Murphy, the Democrat, a 49-43% likely voter lead, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today.

President Barack Obama also opened up a big lead over Republican Mitt Romney for Connecticut's seven electoral votes, according to the same poll.

This compares to the results of an Oct. 4 survey by Quinnipiac University, showing Ms. McMahon with a 48-47% lead.

In the latest results, released Wednesday, Oct. 24, women back Murphy 52-38%, compared to 50-44% 20 days ago. Men are at 50-46% for McMahon compared to 52-45% earlier.

Voters older than 55 years old shifted from a 48-48% split earlier this month to 51-42% for Murphy.

A total of 62% of Connecticut likely voters have a "strongly unfavorable" or "somewhat unfavorable" opinion of this Senate race in general.

The race remains fluid as 11% of Murphy voters and 14% of McMahon voters say they might change their mind in the next 13 days.

"It's déjà vu all over again in the Connecticut Senate race. As we hit the final stretch of the campaign, Linda McMahon is beginning to fade, as she did in her 2010 run against Richard Blumenthal," Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D, director of the Quinnipiac University poll, said Wednesday morning.

"Has she hit her ceiling? She took 43% of the vote in 2010, losing by 12 points to Blumenthal. Two weeks before the election, she is back at 43%."

Connecticut likely voters say 47-42% that Mr. Murphy better understands their economic problems. If she wins, Ms. McMahon would favor the wealthy over the middle class, voters say 55-36%. Mr. Murphy would favor the middle class, voters say 70-14%.

"Murphy has taken the lead in the Senate race in part because more voters now believe he understands their economic problems better than McMahon," Dr. Schwartz said.

Voters have a mixed opinion of Mr. Murphy, with 39% favorable and 39% unfavorable, compared to a negative 36-40% favorability three weeks ago. Ms. McMahon gets a negative 41-47% favorability, down from a 45-41% positive on Oct. 4.

"One of McMahon's key strengths had been that voters liked her more than Murphy," Schwartz said. "Voters are evenly divided on Murphy but have a net negative opinion of McMahon. After improving her image from two years ago, her favorability rating has fallen back to about where she was in 2010.

"After being neck and neck among voters over 55, Murphy has opened up a 9-point lead among this age group. This could be in part due to Murphy's 16-point advantage among this age group on who would do a better job on Medicare and Social Security, which have become hot issues in this campaign."

Presidential Race

President Barack Obama buries Gov. Mitt Romney in the run for the White House, leading 55-41%, compared to 54-42% on the poll released Oct. 4.

Obama leads 60-36% among women and gets 49% of men to Romney's 46%. The President leads among every subgroup except Republicans.

Only 5% of Romney voters and 6% of Obama voters say they might change their mind.

"President Barack Obama is running stronger than Murphy in Connecticut, holding steady with a 14-point lead over Gov. Mitt Romney. The President's coattails are helping Murphy," Dr. Schwartz said.

The poll

From Oct. 19-22, Quinnipiac University surveyed 1,412 likely voters with a margin of error of +/- 2.6 percentage points. Live interviewers called landlines and cell phones.

The Quinnipiac University Poll conducts public opinion surveys in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida, Ohio, Virginia, and the nation as a public service and for research.