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New Poll Shows No Clear Frontrunner in Gov Race

A new poll shows that there is no clear front runner in the wide-open Connecticut governor’s race — and that Republicans have a strong chance of succeeding outgoing Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

The poll of more than 1,150 Connecticut adults focused directly on who should be chosen governor in the 2018 race.

The winner?

The generic “Republican candidate for governor’’ got the most response at 35.4 percent. The second-place winner was the generic “Democratic candidate for governor’’ at 22.5 percent.

The private poll by Hartford-based Tremont Public Advisors LLC was conducted online between December 12 and 14. Hartford Democratic political strategist Matthew Hennessy, who oversaw the poll and has been involved in campaigns in the past, said that he is not supporting any particular candidate and that no candidates paid for the poll. Tremont is a federal lobbying firm, but is not registered as a state lobbying firm in Connecticut.

The survey was taken during an ongoing polling vacuum because the predominant Quinnipiac Poll has not focused recently on Connecticut and has instead been conducting national polls on issues like President Donald J. Trump’s approval ratings.

“If the Quinnipiac Poll was out doing 1,000 Connecticut residents in live calls, there wouldn’t be a need for a private poll like this,’’ Hennessy said.

Unlike Quinnipiac, the Tremont poll was not a random survey of voters who are interviewed by paid callers on both land lines and cell phones.

The survey mentioned five candidates, but none of them scored anywhere near the levels of the generic Republican and Democratic responses.

The leader among the candidates was Hartford mayor Luke Bronin at 10.6 percent, followed by Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton at 9.3 percent and former Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz at 9.2 percent. Greenwich television entrepreneur Ned Lamont was next at 7.5 percent, followed by former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker of Bridgeport at 5.6 percent.

The top four candidates were all jammed within the margin of error, which was plus or minus three percentage points.

“There doesn’t appear to be any candidate who is breaking away,’’ Hennessy said. “Somebody could get in the race in January, and there really isn’t an impediment to doing that because right now, there is no clear front runner on either side.’’

Besides Lamont and Bysiewicz, those who have not yet made any official announcements about joining the race include former 2014 candidate R. Nelson “Oz’’ Griebel of Hartford and New Britain mayor Erin Stewart. Lamont told Capitol Watch that he will make a decision in January, and Griebel says his decision will be soon.

“The Republicans are right in there, neck and neck, with the Democrats,’’ said Hennessy, a longtime Democrat who is not yet supporting anyone in the race. “Democrats have to be a bit concerned because Hillary Clinton won Connecticut by a little over 13 points, and Donald Trump, as the leader of the Republican Party, has extremely low approval ratings in Connecticut.’’

Update: Boughton cited the poll in a fundraising appeal on the day after the survey was mentioned in Capitol Watch.

“As of today, we are just $5,500 short of hitting our 2018 fundraising goal,’’ Boughton wrote to potential contributors. “Please, reach out to your friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors to take us over the finish line before the end of the year. Connecticut needs us.’’


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