If any Democratic candidate needs more evidence of the power of the minimum wage issue, I present to you the case of Linda McMahon the Republican US Senate candidate in Connecticut who didn’t know what the minimum wage was and has seen a 3 point deficit grow to an 11 point deficit in two weeks.
According to a new Quinnipiac University poll of the state Democratic Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has reversed months of erosion of his lead, and with three weeks until Election Day, now leads Republican Linda McMahon,54%-43%. What is fueling Blumenthal rise is a surge of support from women. Female voters gave McMahon a favorable 37%, and a 55% unfavorable rating. The numbers were reversed for Blumenthal who had a 66% favorable rating with likely women voters, and only a 29% unfavorable rating.
Independents are split on McMahon. They gave her a 49%-43% favorable/unfavorable rating. Independents gave Blumenthal a 54%-40% favorable rating. Overall, Blumenthal had a 57% favorable rating compared to Linda McMahon’s 46%. There was also an 11 point favorability gap between each candidate with their own parties, 92% of Democrats gave Blumenthal a favorable rating compared to 81% of Republicans for McMahon.
Quinnipiac University Poll Director Douglas Schwartz, PhD said, “Blumenthal is running stronger among Democrats than McMahon is running among Republicans. He is winning women by an overwhelming 31-point margin, while McMahon has struggled with women throughout the campaign. They have a negative image of her but like him by more than 2-1.” Only 3% of the voters are undecided, so even if McMahon wins them all, she still would lose by 8 points.
It is not a coincidence that Linda McMahon’s standing has dramatically dropped in the weeks after she took a pro-business stance on the minimum wage and then when asked what the minimum wage was according to the courant.com Capitol Watch Blog, “McMahon was asked if she knew what the minimum wage in Connecticut is but said she did not know (it’s $8.25 an hour.) She was also asked whether any employees at World Wrestling Entertainment, the firm she and her husband built, earned minimum wage. She said perhaps some summer interns did, but, once again, she said she did not know.”
This explains why voters trust Blumenthal more with the economy by a margin of 76%-22%. Linda McMahon has tried to stake out a moderate, especially for 2010 Republican candidate, stance on abortion, so it’s a pretty safe bet that her two week plummet in the polls is tied to her answers on the minimum wage questions. As Rachel Maddow pointed out on her show last week, the minimum wage is a powerfully populist issue for Democrats, and the sudden decline of Linda McMahon should prove to Democratic candidates around the country that they need to seize on this issue in the remaining weeks of the campaign.