Hours before debate, two polls brought good news for Blumenthal

After a slide in recent polls, Democrat Richard Blumenthal has comfortable leads over Republican Linda McMahon in two new surveys of likely voters in the U.S. Senate race.

Blumenthal has an 8-point lead in a survey done by the Merriman River Group for the CT Capitol Report and a 12-point lead in a separate survey by Public Policy Polling. Both polls were released today.

“With a month to go, Richard Blumenthal enjoys a competitive advantage stronger than the relatively close poll numbers would suggest,” said Matthew Fitch, executive director of the Merriman River Group. “He has crossed the 50-percent threshold, and his supporters appear committed, with 87.5% of them saying they will definitely vote for him.”

Merriman’s survey of 1,623 likely voters on Oct. 3 showed Blumenthal leading McMahon 52.4 percent to 44.7 percent. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.4 percentage points.

Public Policy Polling has Blumenthal leading, 53 percent to 41 percent.

“Most Democratic candidates are getting beaten badly with independents. Blumenthal is not. Most Democratic candidates are losing more Democrats than they’re winning Republicans. Blumenthal doesn’t fall in that category either,” said Dean Debnam, president of PPP. “He still looks solid with four weeks to go.”

The PPP poll was based on a survey of 810 voters conducted from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

Ed Patru, the communication director of the McMahon campaign, dismissed both polls.

“Merriman River Group and PPP are Democratic Party firms and their numbers are at odds with the findings of Quinnipiac, Rasmussen and our own internal numbers,” he said. “And frankly, I don’t believe the Democrats buy those numbers either because if they did, they wouldn’t be rushing to buy ads in Connecticut.”

The most recent Quinnipiac Poll released last week showed Blumenthal leading McMahon, 49 percent to 46 percent, a difference equal to that poll’s margin of error. Rasmussen Reports last week was not far off from Merriman. It had Blumenthal leading, 50 percent to 45 percent.

The Merriman poll was commissioned by Tom Dudchik,the editor and publisher of the CT Capitol Report, a web site that aggregates coverage of Connecticut politics.

“We feel it’s important to add another credible poll to the current Connecticut mix. In years past, certain media outlets in Connecticut produced reliable polling information during election years,” Dudchik said. “Now online publications such as CT Capitol Report are stepping up to fill the void.”

A poll he commissioned of the governor’s race will be posted Tuesday.