Latest SHU Poll on CT Gubernatorial Race Finds Lamont Holds Slim Lead

News Story: October 23, 2018

Ned Lamont, Institute for Public Policy logo and Bob StefanowskiNed Lamont, left, and Bob Stefanowski

A new poll from Sacred Heart University’s Institute for Public Policy, commissioned in conjunction with Hearst Connecticut Media, shows the Democratic gubernatorial contender, Ned Lamont, carrying a slim lead into the final two weeks of the gubernatorial race by a 3.4 percentage point margin over Republican challenger Bob Stefanowski. At the same time, unaffiliated respondents are preferring Stefanowski over Lamont 43.2 percent to 24 percent. Independent candidate Oz Griebel is the preferred candidate by 8.4 percent of likely voters, with an additional 13.7 percent of unaffiliated respondents leaning his way.

“Likely voters” responding to the telephone survey conducted between October 13 and October 17 also are favoring Democratic candidates running for the House of Representative seats. And on the national front, only one-third of those polled in Connecticut approve of the job President Trump is doing, and almost three quarters said they disapprove of the nominating and approval process conducted in the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The poll, conducted by telephone, asked 23 questions of 501 state residents who are likely voters. Respondents also commented on the issues that will help guide their decisions in November such as taxes, the state budget and adding tolls on Connecticut’s highways.

Specifics show 39.5 percent of Connecticut voters currently support Lamont (D) for governor compared to 36.1 percent who support Stefanowski (R). Both candidates have strong support within their own parties as 79.0 percent of Republicans support Stefanowski and 71.1 percent of Democrats support Lamont.

Lamont is leading among female voters with 50 percent supporting him compared to 25.2 percent of female voters who support the Republican. However, 47 percent of likely male voters support Stefanowski, compared to 29.1 percent of male voters who support Lamont.

Regarding the Congressional races, also being held in November, 48.7 percent of Connecticut “likely voters” in October 2018 suggest they will support the Democratic candidate in their district compared to 34.1 percent who will support the Republican candidate. This 14.6 percentage point margin is up slightly from the 13.0 percentage point margin posted in September 2018.

Of these respondents, 59.2 percent of female voters support the Democratic candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives, which is up from 50.9 percent in September 2018. Male voters, however, favor the Republican candidate by a 44.2 percent to 38.2 percent margin. While unaffiliated voters in October 2018 are more likely to support the Republican candidate for Governor, unaffiliated voters currently are split on the candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives in their district (36.3 percent to 36.3 percent).

Though slightly less so than in Septembers, the State’s “high overall tax burden” (22.0 percent in October 2018 down from 23.2 percent in September 2018) or “budget crisis” (17.6 percent in October 2018 down from 22.8 percent from September 2018) continue to be key concerns. Another 10.6 percent reported the “high overall cost of living” or “low economic growth” in the State would be the deciding factor for them.

In addition, leading up to the election to choose his successor, almost three-quarters (73.7 percent) of Connecticut voters “disapprove” of the job Dannel Malloy is doing as governor. In other key findings, more than one-half of Connecticut voters (52.1 percent) reported they “strongly” or “somewhat” agree with creating electronic tolls on state highways to help pay for highway improvements to relieve congestion. Also, three-fifths of Connecticut voters (64.9 percent) reported they “strongly” (47.1 percent) or “somewhat” (17.8 percent) agree with a question regarding the fairness of raising taxes on people with incomes over $1 million if the State cannot solve its budget crisis by cutting state services and spending.

Nationally, slightly more than one-third of Connecticut voters (35.1 percent) approve of how Donald Trump is handling his job as president, and 50 percent of unaffiliated voters disapprove of his performance. And when asked if they approved or disapproved of the U.S. Senate’s Judiciary Committee handling of the nomination process of Supreme Court nominee, Brett

Kavanaugh, 72.4 percent of Connecticut “likely voters” disapprove of the handling, based on the October 2018 poll. Interestingly, 54.8 percent of Republicans disapprove of the handling of the confirmation process, and 80 percent of female voters disapprove as well.

“As this gubernatorial race tightens in the final weeks, the numbers in October indicate many likely voters are closing in on their decisions for the November election, but the jury is still out,” reflects Lesley DeNardis, executive director of the Institute for Public Policy and director of Sacred Heart University’s master of public administration program. Stefanowski, the Republican candidate, continues making inroads among unaffiliated voters, but with two weeks to go, significant numbers of voters are undecided (14.8 percent). Greater outreach and clear messages are vital during this last stage of the race to help voters make up their minds. And with the large percentage of female voters leaning to the Democrats – compounded by the high number of likely voters who are still angry over the Kavanaugh appointment process – this race is going to remain neck and neck to the finish line.”

GreatBlue Research Inc., conducted the Connecticut-specific scientific telephone survey on behalf of the SHU Institute for Public Policy, interviewing 501 residents statewide who indicated that they were “likely” to vote in the 2018 election for governor. Statistically, a sample of 501 telephone interviews represents a margin for error of +/-4.32 percent at a 95 percent confidence level. 

Sacred Heart’s Institute for Public Policy, which was established in 2017 in the College of Arts and Sciences, is aligned with the University’s new master of public administration program. In addition to hosting state-wide polls, the institute conducts public policy research, hosts public forums and workshops and serves as a public-policy learning incubator for students.

A PDF file of complete polling results is available at www.sacredheart.edu/pollresults.