Two polls released Thursday showed Democratic candidate Ned Lamont with an early lead in the gubernatorial race, although the margins varied greatly.
A Quinnipiac University poll showed Lamont getting the backing of 46 percent of voters, followed by Republican nominee Bob Stefanowski with 33 percent, petitioning candidate Oz Griebel with 4 percent and Independent Party candidate Rob Hanscomb with 1 percent.
Lamont’s lead over Stefanowski grows slightly in a two way race, 53-37 percent, the poll has found.
Sacred Heart University Institute for Public Policy released a second poll, commissioned by Hearst Connecticut Media. It showed Lamont leading Stefanowski by a 41-37 percent margin.
While the Quinnipiac poll showed Lamont further ahead, Poll Director Douglas Schwartz noted “there's a lot of time until Election Day, and a number of undecided voters up for grabs.”
He also pointed out that Gov. Dannel P. Malloy held a similar lead over Republican Tom Foley at the same point in the 2010 election.
Foley quickly closed that gap, and Malloy won by only 6,404 votes, or .56 percent of the turnout, for his first term in office. Malloy, who defeated Foley again in 2014, isn’t seeking re-election.
The two polls are the first glimpses of public opinion on the two major party candidates since the Aug. 14 primaries.
The Quinnipiac pollsters surveyed 1,029 voters between Aug. 16 and Tuesday via phone and cell phone interviews, and had a margin of error of 3.9 percent.
The Sacred Heart survey queried 502 voters, and has a margin of error of 4.32 percent. Officials with both polls indicated they will again survey Connecticut voters in the coming weeks.
The Quinnipiac poll found that, among other things, Stefanowski still has work to do to improve his name recognition. Respondents were nearly split on him, with 33 percent viewing him favorably, 31 percent unfavorably, and 35 percent saying they hadn’t heard enough about him.
Lamont had a stronger showing, with a 44 percent favorability rating compared with 28 percent of voters who viewed him unfavorably.
The poll also found that Stefanowski has an edge among independent voters, 45-38 percent.
The Sacred Heart poll found unaffiliated voters were split, 29.8 percent each, between the two candidates.
Both polls found voters have negative views of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy and President Donald Trump.
Quinnipiac found a 25 percent approval rating for Malloy and 30 percent rating for Trump. Sacred Heart found a similar 30.5 percent approval rating for Trump, but only a 15.9 percent approval rating for Malloy.
Quinnipiac’s polls, though, found that 63 percent of respondents said their view of Malloy had no impact on their responses in the governor’s race. Similarly, 57 percent said their view of Trump has no impact.