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Is Connecticut a Battleground State?

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A third consecutive poll finds Mitt Romney within single digits of the president in the Nutmeg State

connecticutseal10.pngA new Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday finds Barack Obama leading Mitt Romney by only seven points in the Democratic stronghold of Connecticut.

While no media outlets are rushing to slide Connecticut over into the 'battleground state' column, the poll is the third consecutive survey released in less than a month that shows the former Massachusetts governor within single digits of the president.

(Rasmussen and Public Policy Polling each found the president with an eight-point advantage in previous weeks).

Still, for a state which the president carried by 22.4 points to be this tight (and the last four Democratic nominees carried by an average of 17.1 points), suggests one of two scenarios might be in play:

First, the country could be in the midst of a Romney surge / Obama nadir, which would be reflected in significant movement toward Romney in national polling.

However, this has not been the case.

The Obama-Romney spread remains within a few points in either direction as it has across the vast majority of surveys for months.

Secondly, Connecticut could in fact be just a whisker away from a bona fide tight race, and thus just as legitimately a 'battleground state' as several others that have been trotted out as states to watch by media outlets over the past several months, such as Arizona, Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, and New Mexico.

Almost all of these aforementioned states currently have a larger Obama or Romney edge in Real Clear Politics' polling averages (or recent polling results where no average is available) than the State of Connecticut.

Romney's strength in Connecticut vis-à-vis McCain is borne out by a glance at polling conducted during July and August of 2008, which found McCain trailing Obama by 10 more points (an average of 17.3 points during this span) than Romney currently trails Obama (an average of 7.6 points).

Still, overcoming a 22.4-point deficit in Connecticut from 2008 to 2012 would admittedly be a nearly miraculous turn for the Republican Party and probably a sign that Romney wins in a blow-out.

Obama's victory margin last cycle was the second largest ever for Democrats in Connecticut since the formation of the Party in 1828 behind only the Election of 1964 when Lyndon Johnson routed Barry Goldwater by 35.7 points in the state.

Aside from 1964 and 2008, there have been only four other cycles in which a Democratic nominee carried the state by double digits: 1936 (14.9 points), 1996 (18.1), 2000 (17.5), and 2004 (10.4).

The largest deficit ever overcome by the GOP in Connecticut is the 5.2-point loss by Richard Nixon in 1968. Nixon carried the state handily by 18.5 points four years later.

And on three occasions Republicans have improved cycle-to-cycle by more than the 22.4 points facing them from 2008:

· The 34.5-point jump from Charles Hughes' 3.1 point win over President Woodrow Wilson in 1916 to Warren Harding's 37.6-point trouncing of James Cox in 1920.

· The 30.5-point bounce from Goldwater's 35.7-point loss in 1964 to Nixon's 5.2 point loss in 1968.

· The 23.7-point bump from Nixon's 5.2-point loss in 1968 to his 18.5-point victory in 1972.

Putting aside the last few cycles and looking through the long lens of history, it is less surprising to find a fairly close race in Connecticut.

Over the 100-year period from 1908 through 2008, only seven states across the country had more closely-decided presidential contests than the Constitution State.

The race for president in Connecticut has been decided by single digits in 13 of 26 cycles during this century-long span, tied for #8 in the nation behind Missouri (at 16), Pennsylvania (16), Wisconsin (16), Delaware (14), New Hampshire (14), Ohio (14), and Oregon (14).

In fact, from 1908 to 1992 (prior to this recent Democratic surge in the state), Connecticut ranked tied for second in the nation for the closest calls in presidential races behind only Wisconsin (14) and tied with Delaware (13).

Connecticut's presidential vote was decided by less than 10 points in 1912, 1916, 1928, 1932, 1940, 1944, 1948, 1960, 1968, 1976, 1980, 1988, and 1992.

The state also had a remarkable eight-cycle run from 1864 through 1892 in which every presidential race was decided by less than five points.

The recent strong polling by U.S. Senate nominee Linda McMahon is another reason to believe the Republican bite may have some teeth in Connecticut this cycle.

McMahon has narrowly led Democratic nominee Chris Murphy in both polls since the Connecticut primary earlier this month.

Democratic Margin of Victory (or Loss) in Presidential Elections Since 1828

Cycle
Democrat
GOP / Whig / Nat'l Rep
MoV
1828*
23.0
71.4
-48.4
1920
27.0
64.6
-37.6
1924
27.5
61.5
-34.0
1860
21.5
53.9
-32.4
1896
32.5
63.2
-30.7
1956
36.3
63.7
-27.4
1908
35.9
59.4
-23.5
1984
38.8
60.7
-21.9
1832*
34.3
55.3
-21.0
1904
38.2
58.1
-19.9
1972
40.1
58.6
-18.5
1900
41.1
56.9
-15.8
1952
43.9
55.7
-11.8
1840**
44.5
55.6
-11.1
1980
38.5
48.2
-9.7
1856
43.6
53.2
-9.6
1928
45.6
53.6
-8.0
1976
46.9
52.1
-5.2
1848**
43.4
48.6
-5.2
1988
46.9
52.0
-5.1
1872
47.6
52.4
-4.8
1844**
46.2
50.8
-4.6
1916
46.7
49.8
-3.1
1868
48.5
51.5
-3.0
1864
48.6
51.4
-2.8
1880
48.5
50.5
-2.0
1948
47.9
49.6
-1.7
1932
47.4
48.5
-1.1
1888
48.7
48.4
0.3
1884
49.0
48.0
1.0
1836**
50.7
49.4
1.3
1876
50.7
48.3
2.4
1892
50.1
46.8
3.3
1912
39.2
35.2
4.0
1852**
49.8
45.5
4.3
1968
49.5
44.3
5.2
1944
52.3
46.9
5.4
1992
42.2
35.8
6.4
1940
53.4
46.3
7.1
1960
53.7
46.3
7.4
2004
54.3
44.0
10.4
1936
55.3
40.4
14.9
2000
55.9
38.4
17.5
1996
52.8
34.7
18.1
2008
60.6
38.2
22.4
1964
67.8
32.1
35.7
* Denotes an election year in which the National Republican candidate was the chief opponent to the Democratic nominee. ** Denotes Whig. Table compiled by Smart Politics.

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4 Comments


  • Who is Wayne Winsley?
    Rosa DeLauro may be facing her toughest challenge in decades.

  • NO CONNECTICUT HAS GONE OVER TO THE SIDE OF LIGHT! It is no longer a battleground state. Look at McMahon polls. Connecticut had their governor put in by a stolen election and most people know it. We won't let that happen again!

  • DeLauro can't get away with it anymore. People from Connecticut are going to reject Obama, his destruction, and the role DeLauro has played in it.

  • It took 10 years or more to recover from the Great Depression!!!! We are just starting to recover people. I don't understand why people would vote for Romney when Massachusetts voters are polled over and over again stating they do not support him. Republicans laughed at him in 2008. I just don't get it. He hasn't given straight answers and him and Paul Ryan have been caught in many lies. Why would you trust someone who has gone bankrupt and won't reveal their income taxes? Not to mention the level of taxes he pays.

  • Leave a comment


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