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Connecticut: Poll Shows Lieberman Trailing Among Dems.

Businessman Ned Lamont has edged into the lead over Sen. Joe Lieberman among Democrats most likely to vote in Connecticut's Aug. 8 primary, according to an independent poll released today.

Senate Candidate Ned Lamont
Ned Lamont speaks at a public gathering July 11 in Stamford. (Photo by Getty Images)

Lamont leads 51 percent to 47 percent in the Quinnipiac University survey -- a huge swing from a June poll conducted by Quinnipiac that showed Lieberman leading Lamont 55 percent to 40 percent among likely Democratic primary voters. The new poll shows Lamont with a wide lead among self-identified liberals (67 percent to 32 percent), while Lieberman leads among moderate/conservative voters by a 59 percent to 39 percent margin.

Fifty-six percent of the sample said Lieberman deserved reelection, but his numbers on that question were higher among Republicans (68 percent said he should be reelected) than Democrats (51 percent). Among likely Democratic primary voters, 46 percent felt the incumbent deserved another term while 45 percent said he did not.

The vast majority of voters (79 percent) told polltakers that their mind was made up on a candidate; 77 percent of Lieberman supporters and 81 percent of Lamont supporters said they would not even contemplate switching candidates between now and August 8.

In the general election, both Lieberman and Lamont would trample former state Rep. Alan Schlesinger (R), according to the poll. And Lieberman still carries a wide lead over Lamont and Schlesinger in a hypothetical three-way race. Lieberman has said that if he loses the Aug. 8 primary he will pursue an independent candidacy in the general election.

Looking at these numbers, it's not surprising that Lieberman made the decision earlier this month to begin collecting signatures to qualify for the general-election ballot as an independent. It's clear that a significant (and growing) segment of the likely Democratic electorate has decided to abandon Lieberman, their party's vice presidential nominee just six years ago.

Lieberman's decision to collect signatures does not mean that he is giving up on his campaign to win the primary. The latest evidence? Former President Bill Clinton, a beloved figure among liberals, will campaign for Lieberman next Monday. The two men have known each other since 1970 when Clinton worked on Lieberman's campaign for the state Senate. Clinton's wife -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) -- has said she will back Lieberman in the primary but, should he lose that race, will support the Democratic nominee.

Jay Carson, a spokesman for President Clinton, said that the former president and his wife share the same position. "President Clinton is looking forward to campaigning with Senator Lieberman on Monday and will work hard to help ensure he wins the primary, but he respects the primary process and will support the candidate that wins the Democratic primary."

By Chris Cillizza  |  July 20, 2006; 11:14 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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