This morning’s University of Connecticut/Hartford Courant poll showing Democrat Chris Murphy leading Republican Linda McMahon, 44 percent to 38 percent, in the hotly contested Connecticut Senate race drew swift reactions from both sides.
McMahon campaign manager Corry Bliss questioned the poll’s methodology:
“These results are extremely suspect. Even the poll director herself is hedging on the veracity of the results by saying it is ‘not necessarily a 6-point lead,’ so this is a clear indication that the methodology of this poll is completely flawed. Clearly, this poll oversampled Democrats and severely undersampled Independents. Recognizing that Independents represent the largest voting bloc in the state and that Linda McMahon has been winning Independents by a significant margin in every other public poll released during the past several weeks, it becomes obvious that this poll is not representative of Connecticut’s voting population — despite the Courant‘s biased attempt to dismiss the sampling errors. Linda McMahon will defeat Chris Murphy in this race because she is the only candidate who has a plan in place to bring back jobs, cut middle-class taxes, and get our economy back on track. After six failed years in Congress, Connecticut voters will ultimately decide they just can’t afford six more years of Congressman Murphy’s failures.”
From Murphy spokesman Eli Zupnick:
“Linda McMahon’s campaign is now so desperate to convince people that this race isn’t slipping away that they are more focused on attacking polls than talking about issues. Connecticut voters are seeing past McMahon’s nasty personal attacks and are hearing more and more about her right-wing Republican plans to end Social Security, privatize Medicare, cut taxes for the rich, and deny rape victims access to emergency contraception,” said Murphy campaign spokesman Eli Zupnick. ”And the more they learn, the more they move toward Chris Murphy, the one candidate with a strong record of fighting for jobs and Connecticut’s middle class families.”
UConn poll director Jennifer Necci Dineen said Thursday that the complaints about “oversampling” are nothing new in political campaigns, saying that similar charges were made by supporters of Democrat John Kerry during the 2004 presidential race that was later won by Republican President George W. Bush.
The poll released the following statement:
“The University of Connecticut/Hartford Courant Poll stands firmly behind its results, including the methodology used for screening likely voters. We begin with a random sample of all Connecticut adults, screening to ensure the respondent is registered and then asking a series of questions to determine the respondents’ likelihood to vote. Those likely voters then receive the remainder of the questionnaire.
“A party’s voter registration or the party with which they say they identify – which are not necessarily the same — do not factor in to “likely voter” status. Our intention is to produce the best, most objective picture of the race for Connecticut’s open Senate seat as of the time of the polling.
“While the data in our October 18 release shows an increase in Chris Murphy’s share of the vote, the point spread is within the survey’s margin of error. A margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points means that the survey estimates that McMahon’s share of the vote is 38 percent, plus or minus 4 (resulting in a range of 34 to 42 percent). Likewise, Chris Murphy’s number of 44 percent, plus or minus 4, means his share of the vote is between 40 and 48 percent. The actual difference could be 6 points, but it could also be more or less.”