Democratic U.S. Rep. Chris Murphy has a slight "razor-thin" lead over Republican Linda McMahon in the race for the U.S. Senate, but it's well within the margin of error, according to a new Siena College Poll.
And the election on Nov. 6 could well be decided by the 8 percent of likely voters who are still undecided.
The poll, released Wednesday morning, gives Murphy 46 percent to McMahon's 44 percent among 552 likely voters, with a margin of error of 4.2 percent. They are tied at 47 percent in Fairfield County, with McMahon's support from northern Connecticut at 50-38 percent; and Murphy solidifying voters in the southern half of the state 54-35 percent.
"At this point, Connecticut's electoral votes appear solidly blue as the President has opened up a 15-point lead with a commanding margin among Democrats and a five-point bulge among independents," said Don Levy, SRI's director. "The identity of Connecticut's next junior senator is far too close to call. Right now, Murphy leads among Democrats but with one in five D's crossing party lines and independents favoring McMahon by five points, Murphy's two-point lead is razor thin."
The Oct. 4 Quinnipiac University Poll, a much-bigger sample of 1,696 likely Connecticut voters with a margin of error of 2.6 percent, also showed an evenly divided Senate race, with 48 percent in favor of McMahon and 47 percent supporting Murphy.
That poll had President Obama with a 54-42 percent lead over Romney.
Twenty three percent of those surveyed by the Siena College Poll live in Fairfield County; 40 percent live in the northern part of the state and 37 percent in the southern half. Democrats comprised 36 percent of respondents, Republicans 20 percent and unaffiliated voters 41 percent.
Levy said that both McMahon and Murphy have negative ratings among electors that outweigh their positives.
McMahon has a 41 to 49 favorability rating, with Murphy's at 36 to 45 percent.
"Connecticut residents now have high negatives towards both McMahon and Murphy with over one in ten viewing both candidates unfavorably," Levy said. "Murphy is underperforming relative to the top of his ticket while McMahon has more support among most groups than does Romney. This one may be decided on who turns out and how the last minute deciders feel as they walk into the polls on November 6th." President Obama has a positive 55-41 percent, while Romney has a 42-51 percent, negative rating.
Income levels of those voters surveyed included 30 percent making less than $50,000 a year; 29 percent with incomes of $50,000 to $100,000; and 27 percent making $100,000 or more annually.