PPP Poll: Blumenthal Popular and Well Ahead

Posted October 4, 2010 at 6:22pm

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is among the most popular Democratic Senate candidates this cycle, according to a survey released Monday by Public Policy Polling.

The Democratic polling firm found that only one Democratic Senate hopeful, West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin, has a higher favorability rating than Blumenthal’s 53 percent.

“That would make him a tough opponent in a blue state even for a strong Republican opponent, but that [GOP nominee Linda] McMahon is not,” PPP Director Tom Jensen wrote Monday afternoon on the company’s blog.

While various independent polls found in recent days that McMahon had pulled to within single digits, PPP’s poll found she trailed the more popular Blumenthal by 12 points: 41 percent to 53 percent. That’s according to a survey of 810 likely Connecticut voters taken from Thursday to Saturday, with a 3.4-point margin of error.

The McMahon camp wasted no time in attacking the results:

“PPP is a Democratic Party firm with controversial methodology, and its numbers are at odds with the findings of Quinnipiac, Rasmussen and our own internal numbers,” McMahon spokesman Ed Patru said. “And frankly, I don’t believe the Democrats buy those numbers either because if they did, they wouldn’t be rushing to buy ads in Connecticut.”

On the question of favorability, however, other polls support the notion that Blumenthal is more popular than McMahon, a former wrestling executive.

Quinnipiac University, for example, determined that Blumenthal led by just 3 points overall but enjoyed a 51 percent favorability rating compared with McMahon’s 42 percent. That’s a statistically insignificant difference from PPP’s numbers, which were 53 percent for Blumenthal and 39 percent for McMahon.

Popularity, of course, isn’t a guaranteed recipe for victory.

Manchin, who earned a 59 percent job performance approval rating in a PPP poll late last month, may be the most popular Senate Democratic candidate, but he is locked in a tight race with Republican John Raese. Rasmussen Reports determined last week that the contest is a statistical tie.

And former Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee was among Rhode Island’s best-liked politicians in 2006 but was swept out in an anti-Republican wave.

Meanwhile, Blumenthal and McMahon face off Monday night in their first of three debates scheduled over the next eight days. It airs live on Connecticut television at 7 p.m., while C-SPAN will broadcast the debate nationally at 10 p.m.