From Chris Keating, Hartford Courant:
President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are locked in a fierce battle across the nation, but that is not the case in Connecticut.
A new poll by the University of Connecticut and The Hartford Courant shows that Obama has opened up a 21 point lead in Connecticut. The president leads Romney 53 percent to 32 percent, with 12 percent of likely voters undecided. The poll of 508 likely voters taken Sept. 11 to 16 has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.
Meanwhile, an additional UConn/Hartford Courant survey of voters nationwide found Obama leading Romney 46 to 43. The 3 point difference makes the race too close to call because the margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. The poll of 1,186 likely voters shows that 8 percent are undecided in a race that is being fought in battleground states across the country. Other polls released this week show that Obama has been gaining momentum in some swing states at a time when Romney is defending remarks made in a secretly videotaped speech at a fundraiser in Florida.
The UConn/Hartford Courant national poll was taken from Sept. 11 to 18, largely before heavy news coverage this week about Romney’s Florida speech. The remarks have caused a storm of controversy, but Romney has said that he was explaining that Obama has a built-in base of about half the electorate and he, too, expects to receive half the votes in a tight race.
In Connecticut the poll also shows that Obama is running strong across the state, leading by wide margins in the Hartford and New Haven areas. He is leading Romney by 7 percentage points in Fairfield County and Litchfield County–the two counties that traditionally have the largest amount of Republican strength. The last Republican to hold a Congressional seat in the state was Christopher Shays in lower Fairfield County, where he won multiple elections with wide support in the Republican strongholds of Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien and Wilton.
“Given that southwestern Connecticut has been a major source of Republican support for so long, it’s surprising that Mitt Romney isn’t doing better with voters there,” said Jennifer Dineen, the poll’s director.
Connecticut has not voted for a Republican for president since 1988, when Vice President George H.W. Bush was the party’s candidate. Obama defeated Republican John McCain by more than 20 percentage points in 2008 in Connecticut, and Democrats say they expect another strong showing this year.
State Republicans were hoping they could convince the Romney campaign that Connecticut was potentially as much of a battleground state as Ohio, Pennsylvania and Florida. But Democrats and national analysts responded that Connecticut, despite a potential solid showing by Romney, would not be voting for a Republican for president this year.
In Connecticut, Romney received support from 84 percent of self-identified Republicans, 68 percent of conservatives and 3 percent of liberals, the poll showed. Romney, the former governor of Massachusetts and the founder of a private equity firm, is also favored by 82 percent of voters who supported McCain and his running mate, Sarah Palin, in 2008. Only 5 percent of Obama supporters favored McCain-Palin.
The Connecticut poll also showed that Obama is supported by 93 percent of liberals, 89 percent of self-identified Democrats, and 21 percent of conservatives.
Regardless of whom they were voting for, 58 percent of those polled said they believe that Obama will win in November and 17 percent said that Romney would emerge victorious.
Full story here.