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Friday, October 29, 2004

New UConn Poll Shows Shays Lead Over Farrell Cut to 5 Percent

A new Unversity of Connecticut poll out today shows incumbent Republican Rep. Christopher Shays has a narrow 5 percent lead over Democratic challenger Westport First Selectwoman Diane G. Farrell.

With only four days to go until the election,  Shays leads 47 percent to 42 percent among likely voters in Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District race, the poll found. However, 10 percent of likely voters are still undecided.

A UConn Poll conducted two weeks ago found that Shays held a 44 percent to 37 percent lead over Farrell among likely voters.

When “leaners”— undecided voters who say they “lean” more toward Shays or more toward Farrell—are added in to the mix, 49 percent of likely voters say they will support Shays and 43 percent pick Farrell, with 7 percent saying they don’t lean in one direction or another, the poll found.

Among all registered voters, Shays leads Farrell by a similar 5-point margin of 46 percent to 41 percent.

“The race is close, and at about the margin of striking distance tor the challenger,” said UConn pollster Ken Dautrich.

“But Shays seems to be holding on to a marginal lead, and time is running out. Just how close this race ends up depends on turnout.

“Newer voters are saying they’ll vote for Farrell in greater numbers. If they turnout, and if the remaining undecided voters break for the challenger, which is not uncommon in races like this, then this could be a nail-biter. But those are big ‘ifs.’”

Independent voters Opt for the incumbent over Farrell by a margin of 43 percent to 35 percent. Among Republicans, 71 percent say they will vote for Shays. Among Democrats, 70 percent support Farrell.

A large “gender gap” continues to persist in the race, the poll found. Among men, Shays leads Farrell by a margin of 48 percent to 34 percent. By contrast, women support Farrell (44 percent) over Shays (39 percent).

Shays enjoys very high levels of name recognition. Fully 82 percent of voters arc.able to name Shays as the Republican candidate for Congress, up from 68 percent two weeks ago. For Farrell, 54 percent can name her as the Democratic candidate, up from 45 percent.

In terms of overall impressions of the candidates, 67 percent say they have a favorable impression of Shays, while only 20 percent have an unfavorable impression of the Republican incumbent.

Shays’ favorability rating has declined a bit from the 73 percent favorable score he received in mid-October.

For Farrell, 53 percent have a favorable impression and 17 percent hold an unfavorable impression. Twenty-nine percent say they don’t have enough information about her to have an opinion.

“Shays is very popular and well-known, but Farrell has come to be quite popular and known through the course of this campaign,” said Dautrich. “That’s why Farrell is keeping the race within single digits against a long-term incumbent who has been safe for quite some time.”

The poll also asked voters to rate the job performance of incumbent Chris Shays.

Among voters, 61 percent give Shays a positive rating of either “excellent” (15 percent) or “good” (46 percent), while 23 percent say he is doing a “fair” job and 6 percent say “poor.” Ten percent say they don’t know enough to offer a rating.

In Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District, John Kerry enjoys a 48 percent to 41 percent lead in the presidential race over George W. Bush, with 8 percent undecided, the poll found.

The poll, conducted by the Center for Survey Research and Analysis (CSRA) at the University of Connection, was administered by telephone from Oct. 26 to Oct. 28 vith a scientific sample of 500 registered voters in Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District

Among the 500 registered voters, 432 are considered to be “likely voters” in the upcoming election. Sampling error for the 500 registered voters is +/-4.3% at the 95 percent level of confidence. Sampling error for the 432 registered voters is +/-4.6 percent.

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Posted 10/29/04 at 12:47 PM  Permalink