In questioning who a likely voter is, I had the Q-poll in mind. Nate Silver estimates a 4.5 Q-poll lean to the right, and their last poll set narrative across the state (their home is CT) with a 'tied' race and a 'surging Linda McMahon (R). This, despite internal Blumenthal polls showing him with a 12 point lead.
Well, that 12 point lead is confirmed in a new independent PPP poll (one not done for Daily Kos, MoE +/- 3.4) out this afternoon:
The race may be closer than it was six months ago but the truth remains: Richard Blumenthal is one of the strongest Democratic Senate candidates in the country, Linda McMahon is one of the weakest Republican ones, and Blumenthal holds a double digit lead. It's 53-41 in PPP's newest look at the race.
Blumenthal's favorability rating is 53/39, making him the second most popular Democratic Senate candidate in a competitive race behind only Joe Manchin in West Virginia. That would make him a tough opponent in a blue state even for a strong Republican opponent but that McMahon is not.
Her numbers are the exact inverse of Blumenthal's with only 39% of voters seeing her positively and 53% having an unfavorable opinion. The only Republican Senate candidates that our most recent polls found with worse favorability numbers than McMahon were Joe Miller, Sharron Angle, and Christine O'Donnell.
The media savvy McMahon has an opportunity in tonight's first debate with Blumenthal, but she'll need a spectacular smackdown to change minds (the "may change minds" number in the last Q-poll was only 9%.) Dredging up comments made by Blumenthal about his Vietnam service (her latest ads) won't wash in a state already dismissive of the so-called controversy. Meanwhile:
Kate Hansen, a spokeswoman for the state Democrats accused McMahon, who stepped down as WWE's CEO last fall to run for Sen. Christoper Dodd's seat, of teaming up with "an executive convicted on child pornography charges to produce and market a raunchy pay-per-view event, explicit programming marketed to kids to make herself millions in profits."
With CT being a smaller state than CA, McMahon may beat out Meg Whitman for most spent per capita. But with Blumenthal so well known and McMahon looked on so unfavorably, her millions don't look to buy her this election, at least as of now. Tom Jensen/PPP notes:
Fewer than half of voters in the state- 47%- think McMahon is fit to hold public office. McMahon would have to make serious in roads with Democrats to have any chance at winning the race but only 13% of them have a favorable view of her.
That won't change in a hurry.
Full results (.pdf) here.