The Hotline notes that the most recent Quinnipiac poll shows Joe Lieberman with a surprisingly-narrow lead over his primary opponent, Ned Lamont. While Lieberman previously led by 45 percentage points, he now leads by 15:
The Big Number: 15
Every day, we'll highlight one poll number that we think teaches us something new about the political landscape. We forgot yesterday's, so here's a make-up from yesterday's Hotline. Today's big number is 15. Better put, it's 15 and possibly closing.
CT Sen. Joe Lieberman (D) leads his primary challenger, cable executive Ned Lamont (D), by a margin of just 15 points, 55%-40% in the latest Quinnipiac Univ. poll, after boasting a more than 45% lead in a Q-poll last month. What's worse, the margin is that tight even though only 17% of Dems know enough about Lamont to have formed an opinion (his fav/unfav rating among Dems stands at 11%-6%).
What could be better news for Lieberman, on the other hand, is that those who think he deserves re-election -- a full 61% of respondents -- cite a wide variety of reasons for voting for him. Those who think he doesn't mostly cite his views on Iraq, his conservatism and his closeness with Pres. Bush. Oh, and if Lamont does end up beating Lieberman in the primary and the senator decides to run as an indie, the Q-poll shows him rolling Lamont and GOPer Alan Schlesinger, 56%-18%-8%.
So, concerning to the incumbent on one hand, but intriguing cause for optimism on the other. [REID WILSON]
This primary poll is probably more worrisome for Lieberman than the Hotline conveys: Lieberman's 15-point lead is among all Democrats. It must be lower among the more liberal crowd that votes in primaries. Lieberman might well trail among that core group. Plus, once Lamont begins advertising, his numbers ought to improve.
On the other hand, if Lieberman loses his primary and chooses to run as an Independent, then look for the GOP to go very easy on him - in the hopes of bringing him into their Senate caucus as an Independent, should he win re-election.
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