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Rep. Chris Murphy
Rep. Chris Murphy
Public Policy Polling (PDF). 9/22-25. Connecticut voters. MoE ±4.0% (3/17-30 in parens):
Chris Murphy (D): 50 (54)
Linda McMahon (R): 43 (38)
Undecided: 6 (8)

Chris Murphy (D): 43 (--)
Chris Shays (R): 39 (--)
Undecided: 18 (--)

Chris Murphy (D): 45 (49)
Rob Simmons (R): 36 (34)
Undecided: 20 (17)

Susan Bysiewicz (D): 47 (50)
Linda McMahon (R): 46 (39)
Undecided: 7 (11)

Susan Bysiewicz (D): 37 (--)
Chris Shays (R): 48 (--)
Undecided: 16 (--)

Susan Bysiewicz (D): 41 (42)
Rob Simmons (R): 42 (39)
Undecided: 17 (19)

William Tong (D): 38 (--)
Linda McMahon (R): 45 (--)
Undecided: 17 (--)

William Tong (D): 27 (--)
Chris Shays (R): 46 (--)
Undecided: 27 (--)

William Tong (D): 32 (--)
Rob Simmons (R): 39 (--)
Undecided: 29 (--)

In PPP's first look at the Connecticut Senate race since March, you can pretty easily see the hierarchy of electability within each party, by looking at how the general election matchups sort out... they go Rep. Chris Murphy > ex-SoS Susan Bysiewicz > state Rep. William Tong, and ex-Rep. Chris Shays > ex-Rep. Rob Simmons > wrestling magnate Linda McMahon. Of course, that dovetails nicely with how well-known and how well-liked they are (Murphy is at 35/28 favorables and Shays is at 37/28, Simmons is at 28/28, McMahon is at 39/49, Bysiewicz is 29/41, and Tong is at an appalling 5/23... although I suspect 20% of that last number is people who just say that they disapprove all politicans regardless of whether they've heard of them).

The trendlines show some erosion for all of the Democratic candidates, but keep in mind that the last poll was back in March, before the Democrats' summertime swoon and at a point when they were riding pretty high. PPP's Tom Jensen points out one other noteworthy change since March: while Murphy's favorables have remained basically the same, Bysiewicz's have plunged. She was at 39/16 back then, even more popular than Murphy! What's odd is that she hasn't really done anything harmful since then, but maybe it took a while for her various screwups of 2010 (the strange switches from the gubernatorial race to the AG race to nothing, and her role in the maddening 2010 vote count) to sink in.

So, based on the general election numbers, Chris Shays, whose 'moderate' brand seems to have survived the years intact, makes this a top-tier race... but he'll have trouble emerging from the primary. The primary numbers haven't been released yet, but Tom teases that, given the GOP primary electorate's preference for a more conservative candidate, that ain't happening:

...it's no surprise that primary numbers we'll release next week show McMahon with a large lead.

Even a race against McMahon will be no cakewalk -- especially since she probably has another $20 or $30 million loose under the couch cushions to throw at the race -- but the Dems start in a better position against the less-liked McMahon. And that's especially the case if Murphy is the nominee (no tease from Tom on the Democratic primary, but given the disparity in his and Bysiewicz's favorables, I wouldn't expect otherwise).

Originally posted to Daily Kos Elections on Wed Sep 28, 2011 at 02:59 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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