Ned Lamont accepting the Democratic nomination in May. mark pazniokas /

Democrat Ned Lamont holds a lead over Republican Bob Stefanowski that falls within the margin of error in the first public poll of the Connecticut race for governor, reinforcing an assumption long expressed by analysts: It’s a toss up.

A Sacred Heart University/Hearst Connecticut Media Poll released Thursday found 40.8 percent of likely voters supporting Lamont to 36.9 percent for Stefanowski, with the difference within the 4.32 percent margin of error.

Copies of the questions, full results of the survey or the time frame in which it was conducted  were not immediately posted by the university or newspaper chain. The survey was conducted via automated calling in which respondents were prompted to use their dial pads to answer questions.

The release steals the thunder of Quinnipiac University, which is scheduled to release its first Connecticut poll in more than two years at 11 a.m. 

The SHU/Hearst Poll found President Donald J. Trump with an approval rating of 30.5 percent, suggesting that Stefanowski’s embrace of the president in Republican primary will be no help in the fall. Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who has been shunned by the Democratic nominee, fared worse at 15.9 percent.

Electronic tolls, or least  expectations of their efficacy, were rated more highly than the president or the governor: About half the respondents said they “strongly agree” or “somewhat” that electronic tolls would be an effective way to raise money for transportation infrastructure.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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