Former Wrestling executive Linda McMahon has reversed a 10-point deficit to Republican rival Rob Simmons and now leads him 44 – 34, a significant turnaround in the race for the Republican nomination to replace Democrat Chris Dodd who is retiring.

But before the McMahon campaign gets too excited, even if she did win the nomination, the poll shows she loses to Democratic favorite Richard Blumenthal 61 – 28 (but even that is an improvement from 64 – 23 in January).

For his part, Blumenthal remains widely popular, beating fellow Democratic Merrick Alpert 81 – 6. He also beats Republicans Rob Simmons and Peter Schiff garnering more than 60-percent against each.

“What explains Linda McMahon’s rise in the polls? Money. She is the only Senate candidate on TV right now. She quickly has become as well-known and well-liked among Republicans as the former frontrunner for the Republican nomination, three-term Congressman Rob Simmons,” said Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, PhD.

“In the general election, however, Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has a commanding lead over all three potential Republican opponents. Blumenthal’s approval rating continues near 80 percent. While money could make the difference in the Republican primary, it will have less of an effect in the general election. It is very hard to change the public’s opinion of an elected official they have known and liked for 20 years.”

Favorable to unfavorable ratings for other Connecticut U.S. Senate candidates are:
• Alpert: 93 percent don’t know enough about him to form an opinion;
• McMahon: 36 – 26 percent with 36 percent who don’t know enough about her;
• Simmons: 38 – 21 percent with 40 percent who don’t know enough about him;
• Schiff: 85 percent don’t know enough about him.

Connecticut voters say 46 – 36 percent they prefer a candidate who relies on campaign donations, rather than a wealthy candidate who relies on his/her own funds. Results are similar among Democrats, Republicans and independent voters. The next Connecticut U.S. Senator should generally support President Barack Obama’s policies; voters say 56 – 36 percent.

There were other questions about Obama which The Shad will detail soon.