Ned Lamont, whose anti-war campaign rattled the political landscape by toppling Sen. Joe Lieberman in Connecticut’s Democratic primary, is gaining support among voters — but Lieberman still has an edge, according to a poll released Thursday.
The Quinnipiac University poll has Lieberman leading Lamont among registered voters 49 percent to 38 percent. Republican Alan Schlesinger gets support from 4 percent. Among likely voters, Lieberman was supported by 53 percent, compared to Lamont’s 41 percent and Schlesinger’s 4 percent.
Lieberman, a nationally known centrist who has been criticized by many Democrats for supporting the war in Iraq and a perceived closeness to President Bush, lost the Aug. 8 Democratic primary by 10,000 votes. Political pundits say the primary was evidence of voters’ frustration with the war and predict it could have national political ramifications.
Lieberman’s advantage in the general election comes from broad support among unaffiliated and Republican voters. Fifty-three percent of likely voters polled said he deserves to be re-elected, and nearly half doubted that Lamont, a political novice who founded a company that wires college campuses for cable television, has enough experience to be senator.
“Senator Lieberman’s support among Republicans is nothing short of amazing. It more than offsets what he has lost among Democrats,” poll director Douglas Schwartz said. “As long as Lieberman maintains this kind of support among Republicans, while holding a significant number of Democratic votes, the veteran senator will be hard to beat.”
Lamont, however, is improving since a July 20 Quinnipiac poll. In that survey of registered voters, he trailed Lieberman 51 percent to 27 percent with Schlesinger getting 9 percent. The latest poll quizzed both registered voters and voters likely to cast ballots; the July 20 poll only questioned registered voters.
Top state and national Democrats, including Sens. John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, Chris Dodd, Hillary Clinton and Frank Lautenberg, abandoned Lieberman after the primary and are endorsing Lamont. Former Sen. John Edwards, the 2004 candidate for vice president, was to campaign for Lamont on Thursday.
Some Senate Republicans, meanwhile, are throwing their support behind Lieberman instead of Schlesinger, who has been dogged by revelations of that he was sued by two New Jersey casinos for gambling debts, and that he gambled at a Connecticut casino under a false name in the 1990s while a state legislator.
Messages seeking comment were left with the three campaigns early Thursday.
The telephone poll was conducted between Aug. 10 to 14. Quinnipiac surveyed 1,319 registered voters and the poll has a sampling error margin of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points. Among the 1,083 likely voters, the margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
On the Net: http://www.quinnipiac.edu