Dodd Comes In for Lamont, and New Q-Poll
by Matt Stoller, Fri Oct 20, 2006 at 08:02:21 AM EDT
There was a new Quinnipiac poll released today that included responses from people who had seen the Monday debate, and every single piece of it is bad news. Lieberman increased his lead from 10 to 17 points, leading 52-37. Lamont's negatives are up to 36, with positives of only 29. And Lieberman's positive is 49, and his negatives are only 28. The debate didn't change many peoples' minds, and though Schlesinger went from 4 in August to 6 in October, it's not clear if he picked up Republican support from Joe or Ned. In the first district, where Lieberman held a 1 point lead a few weeks ago, Joe has opened a 16 point gap. It's just brutal, and you can feel the glee emanating from Dr. Doug Schwartz, the Quinnipiac University Poll Director, who mostly despises the Lamont camp for some reason.
"Ned Lamont needed to score a knockout in the debates to catch Sen. Joseph Lieberman, but he apparently didn't lay a glove on him," said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, Ph.D.
"Lamont's negatives are up and he has fallen farther behind in the matchup against Lieberman because of his drop among independent voters and men.
"Observers had speculated that Alan Schlesinger would benefit from the debate exposure and take Republican votes away from Lieberman," Dr. Schwartz added. "Instead, he took Republican votes away from Lamont."
In fact, looking at the numbers from August, mostly what has changed is that Lamont has bled some Democratic support.
Ok. So why am I not really upset? Politics is emotional for me, and I go up and down as much as anyone, though I try to keep my analysis accurate. Well there are a couple of reasons. One, I've developed a kean respect for Senator Lieberman over the past few months. The man is completely brilliant, probably the best politician I've ever seen up close. When he wants something, he goes and gets it. He's not just a great politician, he's an extremely skilled sociopathic charmer, able to appeal to one's worst instincts while making you feel like he's helping create resolute moral tone. Lieberman is the consumate small state politician; he has the press here wrapped around his finger, and he is able to create an aura of trust and geniality wherever he goes, even as he calls for regime change in Iran and sends his voters' children to be maimed for his own pride. It's a stunning feat. So the challenge is great, and it's not supposed to be easy, because convincing the public that they have been voting for a psychotic man divorced from the consequences of his brutal actions is really tough when that creepy package is delivered in a Happy Meal.
Another reason, and this is more hard-nosed, is that Lieberman has dramatically outspent Lamont on TV, and that's about to change. The Q-poll doesn't measure intensity of support, and my suspicion is that Lieberman's support is not strong, it is soft. Most of his voters cite experience as their main reason for supporting him, but that's not the optimal quality to have in a change election year. The Dodd ad you see above is a salvo aimed at chipping away at the Lieberman softies, and bringing them over to Lamont. Even though Lamont won the primary, he still faces a question of viability from voters - is he real? Lieberman has been around for so long, and he was the VP candidate, that it's tough to see Lamont as positive or negative. People just don't know him. But Connecticut voters know Chris Dodd, and they like Chris Dodd, who has been around longer than Lieberman and is quite popular. So this ad, and the ad blitz that's coming, should begin to probe into the soft Lieberman supporters who know him as the guy who was once the VP candidate, but not much more than that.
And then there's Schlesinger. It's too bad there are only three debates, but he's starting to get air time on local news and he's being quoted in news articles. It's unlikely he'll stay at 6 percent, since there is a hardcore Republican fringe that hates immigration and Social Security as much as he does and will vote their hearts on election day.
So that's my sense. What do you think? I'd appreciate perspective from Connecticut residence, though of course everyone's welcome to chime in.
UPDATE: Colin McEnroe weighs in.
These numbers are not right.