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Connecticut - 4

Polling Data

PollDateSampleShays (R)Farrell (D)Und.Spread
Reuters/Zogby10/24 - 10/29500 LV44514Farrell +7
Research 200010/26 - 10/28600 LV434710Farrell +4
RT Strategies/CD10/24 - 10/26976 LV52436Shays +9
Univ. of Connecticut10/16 - 10/22805 LV434311Tie
Bennett, Petts (D)10/10 - 10/12400 LV4144--Farrell +3
Reuters/Zogby9/25 - 10/2500 LV414611Farrell +5
Univ. of Connecticut9/25 - 10/1753 LV464112Shays +5
RT Strategies/CD8/27 - 8/291,011 49429Shays +7
Key State Races: Senate | Governor | CT-2 | CT-4 | CT-5

(November 3) Connecticut which had been doing much better for the GOP ever since Lamont’s win in the Democratic primary has moved back towards the Democrats in the three key house races these last two weeks, primarily because of Iraq. Of the three Republican seats in play Shays looks like the most likely to go down. The last two polls show decent leads of four and seven for Farrell. We don’t take the RT/Strategies poll showing a 9-point lead for Shays seriously. Farrell has the edge.

(October 21) Hard to believe that Democrats have a very good shot at capturing the House even though they might not win any of the three Connecticut House races they have targeted for over a year. Shays is generally considered to be thought the most vulnerable GOP incumbent of the three CT seats in play (CT-2, CT-4, CT-5); however Shays is running an energized campaign and appears to be benefiting significantly from Lieberman’s strong Independent run. Shays raised $840,000 this last quarter eclipsing the record set by his opponent Diane Farrell earlier this year. This race will in all likelihood be a total toss up until the end. Ironically Ned Lamont may be the little bit that keeps this seat in the GOP column.

(September 3) Connecticut’s 4th Congressional District – which includes Stamford, Bridgeport and Greenwich – is probably best understood as a suburb of New York City. Just as he did in Long Island and New Jersey, Bush actually improved upon his 2000 margin in 2004, a “9/11 Bump.” Unfortunately, it did little to help 9-term Congressman Chris Shays, who actually recorded his worst-ever margin in 2004 against well-funded Westport First Selectman Diane Farrell. Much of Shays’ poor result had to do with his refusal to go negative. (continues below)


Chris Shays (R)
Diane Farrell (D)

Money Race

2004 Results
Shays (R) 52
Farrell (D) 48

Kerry (D) 52
Bush (R) 46

This year, Farrell is back for a rematch, and she is better funded than ever. Like Lieberman, Shays is not running away from his strong support of the Iraq War. However, recently Shays backed off the staunchness of his support to (a) criticize the Iraqis for not doing enough, (b) criticize the President for not offering a timetable based upon “benchmarks” like provisional elections to spur the Iraqis into action, and (c) comment that he has seen no progress in the country since January. Will Shays’ “the Iraqi’s are not doing enough” angle work?

Farrell, for her part, is offering what seems to be the standard Democratic position – that the President should fire Rumsfeld and offer a timetable for withdrawal. The subtext of this debate will almost certainly hurt Shays – whose district seems to be one of the few in the nation that is actually shaping up as a direct referendum on the situation in Iraq. Coming to his rescue might be Lieberman – who will probably play a major role in all three contested Connecticut House races, but who will play his largest role here, thanks to the similarities between Shays and him.

Another X-Factor – if, by October, the Republicans sense that they will keep the House, will they do everything they can to save Shays? He has been, in many respects, a thorn in the GOP’s side over the years. He alienated many colleagues by the way he pushed for the Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act – implying that those who opposed it were corrupt. However, he has been one of the most vocal supporters of Bush’s foreign policy. So, just how heartily will the Republicans support Shays? They might value a 2-member majority without Shays more than a 3-member majority with him.