The new Quinnipiac poll of the Connecticut senate race shows that former World Wrestling Entertainment CEO Linda McMahon has an edge over former Congressman Chris Shays in the Republican primary — but remains absolutely unelectable in the general election, compared to Shays who would at least have a shot.
McMahon leads Shays by 51%-42% in the primary — a slight improvement for Shays’ support from the last Quinnipiac poll in September, when he trailed by 50%-35%, but also without any decline for McMahon.
“Congressman Christopher Shays has narrowed the gap with Linda McMahon from 15 points to 9 points. The question is whether he can catch up by primary day, August 14,” writes Quinnipiac University poll director Douglas Schwartz.
But then in the general election matches, in the race to succeed Democratic-aligned independent Sen. Joe Lieberman, Democratic Rep. Chris Murphy leads McMahon 52%-37%, and former Connecticut Secretary of State Susan Bysiewicz leads McMahon by 49%-39%. By contrast, Murphy has only a dead heat edge of 41%-40% over Shays, and Shays edges Bysiewicz by a similar 43%-42%.
McMahon won the Republican nomination in the 2010 election, defeating former Rep. Rob Simmons and Peter Schiff, a financial analyst and Ron Paul adviser. However, despite the year’s overall strong Republican wave, she lost the general election to Democrat Richard Blumenthal by a 55%-43% margin.
By the end of the campaign, polling consistently showed that McMahon had become personally unpopular with the voters. This occurred for several reasons, ranging from a backlash against an over-saturation of her personal spending on the race, and attacks on WWE for both its lewd programming content and health problems among its actors attributed to performance-enhancing drugs.
Shays served in Congress from 1987 until his defeat in 2008, and was a main sponsor of campaign finance reform legislation in the early 2000s. He only narrowly won re-election in the Democratic wave of 2006, with the debate centering around his strong support for the Iraq War, and then was narrowly defeated in the second Democratic wave of 2008.
Also, this New England state is likely to vote heavily Democratic for president in the fall, having not voted for a Republican since George H.W. Bush in 1988. In this same poll, President Obama leads Mitt Romney by 53%-37%.