In 2007, after Mayor John Fabrizi walked into a courtroom to seek leniency on behalf of a sexual offender who was a friend of Fabs’ son, it changed the city’s political landscape. Dem party operatives sensed primary voters were freaking out and the feeling of the electorate was measured in a poll. The numbers showed Fabs could not defeat State Rep. Chris Caruso.
Party regulars such as John Stafstrom, Mario Testa and Tom McCarthy told Fabs he had to do the right thing for the party and step aside. State Senator Bill Finch was recruited and the party establishment won a squeaker over Caruso who they feared would powerwash their grip on City Hall into the Pequonnock River.
Last year OIB and Merriman River Associates www.merrimanriver.com joined forces on a poll of prime Democratic voters to test the standing of Mayor Bill Finch. The results showed the mayor trailing Caruso by a few points and the mayor ahead of Fabrizi by a few points. Finch performed best when measured against a large primary field splitting the anti-vote. Within the next few weeks we’ll sample the mayor’s standing once again. Merriman River, by the way, was the only pollster that had Dan Malloy leading Ned Lamont going into primary day last week. If you have any thoughts or questions and issues that should be tested, as well as potential candidates in the poll, let us know.
I suspect Democratic Town Chair Mario Testa will conduct his own poll to gauge the standing of the mayor who faces a number of challenges including the budget and crime. Don’t count out Finch just yet. He’ll be well financed for reelection, but if polls continue to show him in trouble it will create some trepidation within the Democratic establishment.
Speaking of polls, I don’t usually pay attention to poll results released by a campaign unless I can see the questionnaire and the demographic universe that was sampled. Two years ago Jim Himes’ campaign released an internal poll, questionnaire and demographics in the final weeks of his race against incumbent Republican Congressman Chris Shays that showed a tight race. Ayres, McHenry & Associates which conducts polls on behalf of Republican candidates has sampled projected competitive Congressional races around the country, including Jim Himes versus Republican Dan Debicella. The results show Himes has a battle, and judging Jimmy’s first ad going after Debicella the Himes campaign senses they have a battle as well. The makeup of Connecticut’s Fourth Congressional District, featuring heavy GOP suburban towns and cities Bridgeport, Stamford and Norwalk, suggests this should be a competitive race, given voter anger over Washington spending. Barack’s poll numbers also don’t look great right now in this mid-term cycle. From the Debicella campaign:
A poll released by the American Action Forum and conducted by Ayres, McHenry & Associates has the race for the 4th Congressional seat in a statistical dead heat. Among voters likely to vote, Debicella trails Himes by only 4 points, which is within the margin of error. Among those certain to vote, Debicella and Himes are tied.
Other highlights from the poll include:
• Only 40% of likely voters polled say that Himes deserves to be re-elected. 46% believe it is time to elect someone else.
• Debicella is ahead among independent voters 47% to 38%
• 63% of voters in the district believe the country is on the wrong track while only 23% believe it is headed in the right direction
• On the important issues like taxes and spending, voters believe that Debicella will do a better job than Himes (32% to 18% and 29% to 25%, respectively)
The poll’s results indicate how unhappy voters are with Jim Himes and Washington, according to Debicella campaign manager Jason Perillo. “The poll indicates clearly that voters believe Dan will do a better job of keeping taxes low and of controlling spending,” Perillo said. “Americans have lost faith in incumbent Congressmen like Jim Himes and their failed policies. We’re spending hundreds of billions of dollars and unemployment is still floating around 10%. Big government is not working.”
Dan Debicella is the Republican Party’s nominee to face Jim Himes in November.
Debicella’s economic proposals have included replacing the unspent stimulus money in favor of a temporary cut in the payroll tax that small businesses and middle class families pay, and creating a federal spending cap to rein in the nation’s $1.4 trillion deficit.
He grew up in Bridgeport where his father was a police officer and his mother was a secretary. He was the first in his family to go to college full time, attending the Wharton School and receiving his MBA from Harvard Business School. He has spent most of his career in business, having worked for management consulting firm McKinsey in Stamford, as Director of Strategy at PepsiCo and The Hartford Financial Services.
In the State Senate, Debicella has served as the lead Republican on the budget-writing Appropriations Committee. He recently co-authored a budget proposal that cut the size of Connecticut government by 5% through combining or eliminating agencies, privatizing social services, and resetting program spending to 2007 levels. Debicella also led the fight against the budget that ultimately passed, which raised taxes by $1 billion and borrowed $1 billion to balance the budget.