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Lieberman Leads in Connecticut

As the Ramble nears its end (whew!), we turn our attention back to our favorite race of this election cycle -- the Connecticut Senate contest.

A new Quinnipiac poll out this morning shows Sen. Joe Lieberman, who is running as an independent, leading businessman Ned Lamont (D) 49 percent to 39 percent. Former state Rep. Alan Schlesinger (R) receives a measly five percent support, while seven percent of the sample remains undecided.

The results are essentially unchanged from an August Quinnipiac survey when Lieberman held a 53 percent to 41 percent lead over Lamont. That poll was conducted just days after Lamont defeated Lieberman in the state's Aug. 8 primary.

Lieberman's margin in the latest poll comes from a combination of strong support among Republicans and Independents coupled with his ability to stay within shouting distance of Lamont among Democrats.

Lieberman, not surprisingly, leads Lamont 69 percent to 15 percent among Republicans and 50 percent to 36 percent among self-identifying Independents. Even among Democrats Lieberman receives 37 percent support -- 20 points below the number backing Lamont -- but still respectable for a Senator who six weeks ago lost own party's nomination.

And while Lamont led among the 35 percent of the sample who said that Iraq was the most important issue in the election, Lieberman carried an advantage among the 65 percent of voters who cited some other issue as most critical to them this fall.

"Ned Lamont has lost momentum," said Quinnipiac polling director Douglas Schwartz. "He's gained only two points in six weeks. He's going to have to do something different in the next six weeks or Sen. Joseph Lieberman stays in for another six years."

Lamont continues to donate heavily from his own considerable personal fortune, pouring in another $750,000 this week, bringing his total contributions to the race to over $6 million.

In the final 40 days, Lamont must find a way to pull away Democratic and Independent support from Lieberman and hope that Schlesinger can emerge as a viable option for die-hard Republicans who can't bring themselves to vote for any Democrat -- even Lieberman. It's a triple-bank shot but we hesitate to underestimate Lamont who emerged from total obscurity to become the Democratic party's standard-bearer in the fall.

By Chris Cillizza  |  September 28, 2006; 10:22 AM ET
Categories:  Senate  
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