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Lieberman Leads by Eight Points in
Courant/CSRA UConn Statewide Poll
Released: October 11, 2006

Release # 06090
Contact:
Monika McDermott, CSRA Research Director
(860)486-3002 / (203)314-8435

Samuel Best, CSRA Director
(860)486-2451

STORRS, Conn. - Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman holds an eight point lead over his Democratic challenger Ned Lamont, according to a new survey sponsored jointly by the Hartford Courant and the Center for Survey Research and Analysis (CSRA) at the University of Connecticut .   With a little less than one month to go until Election Day, likely voters in Connecticut favor Lieberman over Lamont 48% to 40% when leaners are included.   Alan Schlesinger, the Republican candidate, receives only 4% of the likely vote according to the Courant / CSRA poll.   Eight percent of likely voters remain undecided.  

US Senate Race among Likely CT Voters

 

Likely voters

With leaners

Lieberman

46%

48%

Lamont

39%

40%

Schlesinger

3%

4%

Other

--

--

Undecided

10%

8%

 

The vote on the first preference question, without the push of the undecided voters, is 46% Lieberman, 39% Lamont and 3% Schlesinger.   Roughly 15% of both Lamont's and Lieberman's supporters say they could still change their minds before Election Day.

Lieberman, running as an independent candidate, draws support from across the political spectrum - winning among Republicans and independents, with 45% and 67% respectively, and maintaining a substantial portion of the Democratic vote (35%).   In contrast, Lamont is only holding 56% of his own Democratic base, and he trails Lieberman by eight points among independents.

Senate Vote by Party

 

Democrats

Independents

Republicans

Lieberman

35%

45%

67%

Lamont

56%

37%

15%

Schlesinger

--

2%

9%

 

"Lieberman has managed to do exactly what he set out to do after his Democratic primary loss" explains CSRA Research Director Monika McDermott.   "His goal was to finesse the party issue by appealing to independents and Republicans without completely alienating Democratic voters.   He's pulled it off so far."

Lamont made headway against Lieberman in the Democratic primary by relying on the Iraq war issue, and the war's unpopularity in Connecticut .   This strategy is not having the same impact in the general election.   Sixty percent of likely voters feel going to war with Iraq was the "wrong decision," and Lamont wins 58% support from these voters.   Lieberman still manages to take nearly a third of these voters, as well as capturing seven in ten likely voters who believe the war was the "right" decision.

The situation is no different when considering those voters who place Iraq as the most important issue in their vote.   While it is by far the top issue in the race - 37% cite it as their main consideration - a third of these voters are supporting Lieberman.   The next most important issue - the economy - works to Lieberman's advantage - 52% of voters placing this as their number one issue are supporting Lieberman.

 

Most Important Issues in the Vote

 

Likely voters

Iraq

37%

Economy

20%

Health Care

14%

Terrorism

12%

Education

6%

Immigration

6%

 

 

According to CSRA's McDermott: "The Iraq war should be Lamont's area of strength, given its unpopularity in Connecticut , Lieberman's staunch support of it, and its importance relative to other issues.   The problem for his campaign, however, is that convincing general election voters to turn on Lieberman because of Iraq is much harder than convincing Democratic primary voters was."

 

Candidate Differences

The Courant   / CSRA survey also asked voters about their preferences regarding some of the interesting differences between the candidates and their campaigns, but without using the candidates' names.   The results demonstrate that likely voters are divided as to the kind of candidate and campaign they would like - but neither Lieberman nor Lamont fits the total bill.

A candidate in the Lamont mold has advantages on voters' preferences regarding religion and politics, representative style, and offering change.   When asked whether they would prefer a candidate who believes religion is an important part of American government and policy or a candidate who believes there should be a distinct separation between religion and government, likely voters go for the latter by a two-to-one margin.

 

Likely Voter Preferences on Candidate type

Candidate who believes in distinct separation of religion and government

64%

Candidate who believes religion is an important part of government

32%

 

 

Representative who does what the voters think is right, even if he disagrees

69%

Representative who does what he thinks is right, even if the voters disagree

26%

 

 

Challengers because they offer change

53%

Incumbents because they offer experience

29%

 

 

Likely voters also overwhelmingly prefer a representative in office who follows what the voters think is right, rather than his own views on what is right, when the two conflict.   Nearly seven-in-ten prefer the former, compared to only 26% who prefer the latter.   In addition they believe electing challengers is good because they offer change, rather than incumbents who offer experience.

 

A Lieberman-type candidate has advantages on the issues of compromise and campaign funding.   When asked what they would prefer the party they support to do if it wins control of Congress, likely voters support compromise in far greater numbers than pursuing a party agenda - 70% to 24% respectively.

 

Likely Voter Preferences on Candidate type

Party should modify agenda to pursue compromise

70%

Party should pursue their own agenda

24%

 

 

Candidate whose campaign is funded mostly by donations

from individuals, lobbyists and PACs

41%

Candidate whose campaign is funded mostly with his own money

34%

 

Likely voters are more divided on the issue of campaign funding, although a donations funded campaign edges out a personal wealth funded campaign.  

 

McDermott adds: "It's interesting that Lieberman is fully exploiting one of his big strengths - the party compromise issue - while Lamont has yet to explore some areas that could provide fertile ground for him, such as issue representation"

 

The Issues

Likely voters believe that Lieberman is the candidate who comes closest to them on the issues, despite disagreeing with him on two that are of national and local significance - Iraq and the No Child Left Behind Act.   Forty-four percent of likely voters say Lieberman is the candidate who comes closest to representing their views, and 39% say Lamont is.   Three percent say Schlesinger.

Likely voters are cognizant of their disagreement with Lieberman on the war - 86% know that he voted to authorize the use of force.   But they are less clear on the No Child Left Behind Act.   Over half of likely voters - 53% say they do not know whether Lieberman voted for or against the Act, and another 4% believe he voted against it.   Overall, Connecticut voters do not support the program.   Forty-seven percent feel the U.S. made the wrong decision passing No Child Left Behind, compared to 42% who believe it was the right thing.

The Incumbent

Lieberman's performance in office is helping him lead Lamont, as is his personality. Lieberman currently enjoys a 57% approval rating among likely voters around the state, including 23% who approve "strongly."   Democrats are divided over his performance, but independents and Republicans give him solid marks.

Additionally, Lieberman is the candidate likely voters would most like to spend time with in a casual setting.   Roughly half of likely voters say they would rather chat with Lieberman at a party than with either Lamont or Schlesinger.   One-third would rather talk to Lamont, and 4% would like to chat with Schlesinger.   Eight percent of likely voters would rather avoid them all at a party.

 

# # #

 

 

This survey was conducted from October 4 - October 9, 2006 , by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis (CSRA) at the University of Connecticut , among 637 registered voters statewide.   A random-digit-dial technique was used to select respondent households (sampling both listed and unlisted telephone numbers).   Respondents were selected randomly within households.   Voters are weighted according to their probability of voting on Election Day.   The margin of error for the survey is + 3.9 percentage points.

 

Suppose that the election for United States Senate were being held today. Would you vote for: (READ CHOICES 1-3)

 

            Independent Joe Lieberman                                                                46%

            Democrat Ned Lamont                                                                       39

            Republican Alan Schlesinger                                                                 3

            Other (SPECIFY) (vol)                                                                        0

            Don't Know (vol)                                                                               10

            Refused (vol)                                                                                        2

 

As of TODAY, do you LEAN more toward: (READ CHOICES 1-3) [Asked of those voters undecided in the first vote question]

 

            Independent Joe Lieberman                                                                16%

            Democrat Ned Lamont                                                                       13

            Republican Alan Schlesinger                                                                 3

            Neither (vol)                                                                                       12

            Don't Know (vol)                                                                               41

            Refused (vol)                                                                                      14

 

Will you definitely vote for <QVC2>, or might you change your mind? [Asked of those expressing a preference in the first vote question.]

 

            Definitely                                                                                            84%

            Might Change Mind                                                                            16

            Don't Know (vol)                                                                                 0

 

Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as President? (PROBE: Strongly/Somewhat Approve/Disapprove)

 

          Strongly Approve                                                                                 13%

          Somewhat Approve                                                                             18

          Somewhat Disapprove                                                                         13

          Strongly Disapprove                                                                             54

          Don't Know (vol)                                                                                   2

          Refused (vol)                                                                                         0

 

 

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Joe Lieberman is handling his job as Senator? (PROBE: Strongly/Somewhat Approve/Disapprove)

 

            Strongly Approve                                                                               23%

            Somewhat Approve                                                                           34

            Somewhat Disapprove                                                                       16

            Strongly Disapprove                                                                           23

            Don't Know (vol)                                                                                 4

            Refused (vol)                                                                                        1

 

What about nationally, do you think things in this country are generally going in the right direction or do you feel things have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track?

 

            Right direction                                                                                     22%

            Wrong track                                                                                       72

            Don't Know (vol)                                                                                  6

 

Which ONE of the following issues is MOST important to you when you think about your vote for Senate this year: economic conditions, health care, the situation in Iraq , illegal immigration, terrorism or education?

 

            Economic conditions                                                                           20%

            Health care                                                                                         14

            The situation in Iraq                                                                            37

            Illegal immigration                                                                                 6

            Terrorism                                                                                           12

            Education                                                                                             6

            Don't Know (vol)                                                                                 3

            Refused (vol)                                                                                        0

 

Based on what you've read or heard, did Joe Lieberman vote for or against the USA Patriot Act? [Asked of a third of the sample.]

 

            Voted For                                                                                          51%

            Voted Against                                                                                      6

            Don't Know (vol)                                                                               42

 

Based on what you've read or heard, did Joe Lieberman vote for or against the No Child Left Behind Act?   [Asked of a third of the sample.]

 

             Voted For                                                                                         44%

             Voted Against                                                                                      4

             Don't Know (vol)                                                                               53

 

 

Based on what you've read or heard, did Joe Lieberman vote for or against authorizing the use of Military Force Against Iraq?   [Asked of a third of the sample.]

 

             Voted For                                                                                         86%

             Voted Against                                                                                      5

             Don't Know (vol)                                                                                 9

             Refused (vol)                                                                                       1

 

 

Do you think the United States made the right decision or the wrong decision in passing the USA Patriot Act?

 

           Right decision                                                                                      47%

           Wrong decision                                                                                   33

           Don't Know (vol)                                                                                19

           Refused (vol)                                                                                         1

 

Do you think the United States made the right decision or the wrong decision in passing the No Child Left Behind Act?

 

           Right decision                                                                                      42%

           Wrong decision                                                                                   47

           Don't Know (vol)                                                                                11

           Refused (vol)                                                                                         1

 

Do you think the United States made the right decision or the wrong decision in using military force against Iraq ?

 

          Right Decision                                                                                      34%

          Wrong Decision                                                                                   60

          Don't know (vol)                                                                                    6

          Refused (vol)                                                                                         0

 

Do you think the war in Iraq has made the United States safer from terrorism, less safe, or has it made no difference one way or the other?

 

          Safer                                                                                                    22%

          Less safe                                                                                              42

          No difference                                                                                       34

          Don't Know (vol)                                                                                   2

          Refused (vol)                                                                                          0

 

 

At this point, do you think we should set a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. troops in Iraq , or do you think our withdrawal date should be left open?

 

        Timetable for withdrawal                                                                         50%

        Be left open                                                                                            47

        Don't Know (vol)                                                                                      4

        Refused (vol)                                                                                            0

 

Which type of candidate would you prefer: (READ CHOICES 1-2) (IF NECESSARY: Which do you prefer MORE - a candidate who mixes religion and politics, or a candidate who wants to keep them separate?)

 

     A candidate who believes religion is an important part of

            American government and policy                                                         32%

     A candidate who believes there should be a distinct separation

            between religion and government                                                         64

     Don't Know (vol)                                                                                         4

     Refused (vol)                                                                                               1

 

If the party you vote for wins control of Congress, which strategy would you prefer: (READ CHOICES 1-2) (IF NECESSARY: Which do you prefer MORE - the party pursuing their own agenda or pursuing compromise?)

 

    That they pursue their own agenda                                                              24%

    That they modify their agenda to pursue

            compromise with the other party                                                         70

    Don't Know (vol)                                                                                         5

    Refused (vol)                                                                                               1

 

Which comes closer to your view: (READ CHOICES 1-2) (IF NECESSARY: If you HAD to choose, would you choose experience or change?)

 

    Electing incumbents is a good idea because they offer experience                 29%

    Electing challengers is a good idea because they offer change                       53

    Don't Know (vol)                                                                                       15

    Refused (vol)                                                                                                3

 

Which type of candidate would you prefer: (READ CHOICES 1-2) (IF NECESSARY: Which do you prefer MORE - a candidate funded by lobbyists and individuals, or a candidate who is self-funded?)

 

    A candidate who funds his campaign mostly with donations

            from individuals, lobbyists and PAC's (packs)                                     41%

    A wealthy candidate who funds his campaign mostly

            with his own money                                                                            34

    Don't Know (vol)                                                                                       19

    Refused (vol)                                                                                               6

 

Which type of political representative would you prefer: (READ CHOICES 1-2) (IF NECESSARY: Which would you prefer MORE - a representative who follows his own beliefs, or one who follows the voters' beliefs?)

 

    A representative who does what he thinks is right, even

            if it disagrees with the views of the voters                                             26%

    A representative who does what the voters think is right, even

            if it disagrees with his views                                                                 69

    Don't Know (vol)                                                                                         4

    Refused (vol)                                                                                               1

 

Which Senate candidate comes closest to representing your views on important issues? (READ CHOICES 1-3)

 

          Joe Lieberman                                                                                      44%

          Ned Lamont                                                                                         39

          Alan Schlesinger                                                                                     3

          None (vol)                                                                                             4

          Don't Know (vol)                                                                                   8

          Refused (vol)                                                                                          2

 

Who would you rather chat with at a party? (READ CHOICES 1-3)

 

          Joe Lieberman                                                                                      49%

          Ned Lamont                                                                                         33

          Alan Schlesinger                                                                                     4

          None (vol)                                                                                              8

          Don't Know (vol)                                                                                    4

          Refused (vol)                                                                                          2


* vol = volunteered response

 

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