CAMPAIGNS/COMMENTATORS LOVE OR HATE POLLS DEPENDING ON RESULTS

Now that the state political nominating conventions are over, the next big event for several statewide offices is the August primary. Between now and then there will be plenty of polls giving us a snapshot in time of the most-watched races, particularly the races for governor and for US Senate.

Thursday morning, Quinnipiac University released a poll on those two races and one showed Democrat Richard Blumenthal shrugging off the controversy caused by his exaggeration of his military record and maintaining a healthy lead over Republican Linda McMahon, 56 to 31 percent. In March, Blumenthal was up 61 to 28 percent.

The reaction to the poll by the McMahon campaign as well as by popular WTIC-AM radio talk show host Jim Vicevich is troubling. It seems that observers either love or hate polls depending on whether the numbers come out the way they want.

McMahon Communications Director Ed Patru called the Q-Poll numbers “curious, perhaps odd” and that sometimes polls are just wrong and the Q-Poll is an example.

WTIC’s Vicevich spent a good portion of at least the beginning of his show slamming the poll and heaping praise on a Rasmussen poll that shows the race closer. In the comments of Patru and Vicevich, neither thought it necessary to cite a particular problem with the Q-Poll; not the sample size or the phrasing of the questions (which The Shad had well before 7 a.m.) or any other problem. They simply dismissed the poll because they didn’t like the numbers. Vicevich called it “worthless” but again, could offer no proof of any irregularity with it except to compare to another poll.

You can bet your last fund-raising dollar that if the poll showed McMahon ahead or tied with Blumenthal, both Patru and Vicevich would have been singing the praises of Quinnipiac.

For the record, the Quinnipiac website says, “For more than two decades, journalists, public officials and researchers have depended on the Quinnipiac University Poll as a major source for timely, objective and accurate information about what people are thinking…In the 20 years since the poll began, it has grown to be one of the most respected and reliable public opinion surveys in the country. Poll results are quoted regularly by The Associated Press and on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox, and in major newspapers.”

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Not one to be left out of the limelight for very long, Connecticut Senator Joseph Lieberman weighed in on the race to become his colleague in the US Senate. Lieberman said Thursday he’s open to supporting Republican Linda McMahon over Democrat Richard Blumenthal.

“I said I’m open,” Lieberman told POLITICO. “Is it theoretically possible? Yes. I probably know Blumenthal better, but I know Linda McMahon — she was on the state board of higher education, and I met with her a couple of times in that capacity. This is the great privilege that voters of Connecticut gave me in 2006 as an independent. Wait and see.”

Asked whether he is concerned about backlash from the Democratic Party should he back McMahon, Lieberman said: “I’m just saying I’m not eliminating it as a possibility,” adding that he was undecided on which party’s candidate to support in the Connecticut governor’s race as well.

Lieberman seems to take a strange pleasure in sticking it to the Connecticut Democratic establishment. Of course, he lost the 2006 primary to then anti-Iraq war candidate Ned Lamont before handily defeating Lamont in the general election. The voters’ decision didn’t sit well with the party.

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The “falling on the swords” has begun in the UConn basketball program. The university has scheduled a news conference for later this morning to give an “update” on the NCAA investigation into possible recruiting violations. Already, two members of the hoops program have resigned according to Hartford Courant. The paper cites sources that say assistant coach Patrick Sellers and director of basketball operations Beau Archibald are out in light of allegations against the program and the NCAA review.

One would hope that UConn already knows that head coach Jim Calhoun will not be implicated in any wrong doing or officials would have held off signing the coach to a massive new contract that will pay him millions. If it turns out that the investigation touches Calhoun in any way, school officials will have a lot of explaining to do for inking the coach to the new deal which puts him among the highest paid coaches in the country despite failing to make the NCAA tournament last year.