CHRIS POWELL: State Democrats' 'push poll' hints at Republican chances

Published on Monday, 1 November 2021 20:56

Governor Lamont is in a "strong position" for re-election a year from now, according to the results of a statewide opinion poll announced last week.

But while the governor, a Democrat, is surely the favorite, Connecticut being heavily Democratic, the poll was largely a con job, less interesting for confirming the governor's front-runner status than for some findings its announcement didn't emphasize.

The poll was undertaken by a North Carolina-based operation that, while high-mindedly named Public Policy Polling, is heavily affiliated with the Democratic Party. Indeed, the poll was commissioned by Democrats for Education Reform.

On top of that, the poll's policy questions were ladled with goodies associated with Democratic campaigns even as popular positions associated with Republicans were omitted.

That is, this was a "push poll," framed to elicit particular responses.

The figures touted by the poll's announcement showed the governor comfortably leading the two most likely candidates for the Republican nomination for governor – 52-36% over the 2018 Republican nominee, Bob Stefanowski, and 52-32% over former state House Minority Leader Themis Klarides.

But the governor's lead fell sharply when poll participants were asked if, today, they would vote for Lamont or think it's "time for someone new." Then the governor led by only 50-41%, with 9% undecided.

Similarly, more people viewed the governor "unfavorably," 36%, than Stefanowski, 30%.

The poll's ranking of important issues was not so favorable to Democrats either. The issues most important to voters were jobs and the economy, at 36%, and taxes, at 21%. All impartial evaluations say Connecticut's economy is weak and its taxes remain extremely high.

So the poll did not really suggest much enthusiasm for Lamont even as it implied a few openings for a Republican campaign.

With the Biden administration sinking in public esteem so much that, amazingly, many people are starting to miss Donald Trump, Connecticut Democrats may need more than push polls by next November.

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THE MISSING CONVERSATION: Another issue on which Connecticut Democrats are weak is crime. They boast about a declining general crime rate even as criminal atrocities and enforcement failures explode, as others did last week.

Hartford police said a gang member fired a gun through the driver's side window of a police cruiser, nearly striking the officer inside, just hours after murdering a woman in an apartment nearby. The suspect was caught and police said he had a long criminal record with more than a dozen arrests, including some lodged just 11 days earlier for weapons, narcotics, and probation violations.

Hartford police Chief Jason Thody and Mayor Luke Bronin said the suspect's record showed he should have been held without bond for the most recent offenses charged to him before the murder and the assault on the officer. The mayor said "we need to have a serious conversation" about why the suspect was free.

But there is no mystery about why career criminals are on the loose in Connecticut. The state doesn't deter them. Many repeat convictions leading only to probations or token punishments often precede murders and other serious crimes. Connecticut tends not to take chronic offenders seriously until they kill someone, and the state has no incorrigibility law. Last week even a "10 strikes" law might have prevented that murder in Hartford.

This is the "serious conversation" Connecticut hasn't had yet, because it would be politically incorrect.

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DON'T REDUCE SCHOOLING: But obliviousness is not yet politically incorrect here. So some boards of education in the state are being asked to add a holiday to their school calendars – Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights.

The holiday's advocates seem not to have noticed that because of the virus epidemic many Connecticut students have just lost a year of education.

Incorporating religious holidays in school calendars must be determined by the number of families needing them. Diwali doesn't come close to qualifying yet, and given the recent loss of education, nothing new should.

Chris Powell is a columnist for the Journal Inquirer in Manchester.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Column on Monday, 1 November 2021 20:56. Updated: Monday, 1 November 2021 20:59.