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Shays Leads Farrell in
Connecticut’s 4th District
Released: October 3, 2006

Release # 06086
Contact:
Monika McDermott, CSRA Research Director
(860)486-3002
Samuel Best, CSRA Director
(860)486-2451

STORRS, Conn. -   Republican incumbent Christopher Shays leads his Democratic challenger Diane Farrell by 4 points in the race for Connecticut’s 4th congressional district, according to a new survey conducted jointly by the Stamford Advocate and the University of Connecticut’s Center for Survey Research and Analysis (CSRA).

The Advocate/UConn Poll shows that, despite major dissatisfaction in the district with President Bush and the war in Iraq, likely voters feel that Shays has been doing a good job.

Likely voters currently give Shays 44% of the vote, compared to 40% for Farrell, with 16% of likely voters still undecided. When those who lean toward one or the other candidate are included, Shays leads Farrell by 5 points (46% to 41%), with 12% undecided.

Fewer than 1% of voters say they will vote for someone other than the two major candidates.

CT 4 th District Vote

 

Likely voters

With leaners

Shays

44%

46%

Farrell

40%

41%

Other

1%

1%

Undecided

16%

12%

 

Room for movement remains, however. In addition to the 16% of likely voters who are currently undecided, nearly 20% of Shays’ voters feel they may still change their minds before Election Day, as do 15% of Farrell’s supporters.

According to Assistant Professor Monika McDermott, Research Director of CSRA “Shays currently has the same lead he had in 2004 when he beat Farrell by 4 points. It’s certainly good news for Shays that Farrell has yet to gain on him. But at the same time, there’s is still a month to go in the campaign, and voters in the 4th district are expressing a fair amount of uncertainty.”

Likely voters in the 4th district are very unhappy with the way things are going nationally – 63% disapprove of the job President Bush is doing, including 49% who “strongly” disapprove. Another two-thirds think the country is “seriously off on the wrong track.”

Voters’ dissatisfaction also centers around the very unpopular war in Iraq. Fifty-five percent of likely voters in the district believe going to war with Iraq was the wrong decision. Twenty-eight percent of likely voters cite the war in Iraq as the biggest issue in their vote for Congress, compared to only 18% who cite the economy, the next most important issue.

National Conditions

 

Disapprove of Bush

Country on the wrong track

Iraq war was wrong decision

Likely Voters

63%

67%

55%

 

Even with all of this dissatisfaction nationally, however, 59% of voters in the 4th district approve of the way Shays has been doing his job, including 23% who “strongly” approve.

According to McDermott: “Diane Farrell is following the national Democratic playbook in trying to tie Christopher Shays to an unpopular president and an unpopular war. But many 4th district voters have yet to make the same connection. They simply don’t blame Shays for the condition of the country.”

Shays' Job Approval among Likely Voters

 

Strongly Approve

Somewhat Approve

Somewhat Disapprove

Strongly Disapprove

Likely Voters

23%

36%

13%

14%

 

Part of Shays’ inoculation against Bush’s unpopularity and national issues may be due to voters’ lack of knowledge. Over one-third of likely voters cannot say whether or not Shays voted for the congressional resolution authorizing the use of force against Iraq, a very unpopular action in the 4th. And voters are even less informed of Shays’ record on other important national issues.

Likely Voters' Knowledge of Shays' Congressional Voting Record

 

Use of Force in Iraq

No Child Left Behind

Homeland Security Act

Patriot Act

Voted for

61%

32%

46%

44%

Voted against

3%

5%

8%

8%

Don't know

35%

62%

46%

46%

 

Additional poll results are in this PDF.

 

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