Lieberman's lead, Allen's plight and other news from the track

Plus: The Wall Street Journal on the battleground states that weren't supposed to be.

Published September 28, 2006 4:14PM (EDT)

The good news for Ned Lamont: Over the last six weeks, he has picked up two percentage points on Joe Lieberman in the Quinnipiac University poll. The bad news for Ned Lamont: With six weeks to go until Election Day, he's still 10 points behind Joe Lieberman.

"Ned Lamont has lost momentum," says Douglas Schwartz, director of the Quinnipiac University poll. "Lamont wins among those who say Iraq is the most important issue to their vote, but that is only 35 percent of the electorate. Lieberman wins on all the other issues voters say matter most to them, including terrorism and the economy."

According to the Quinnipiac poll, likely Republican voters prefer Lieberman over Lamont by a 69-15 percent margin. Independent voters prefer Lieberman over Lamont by a 50-36 margin. Lamont leads only among likely Democratic voters, who prefer him over Lieberman by a 57-37 spread.

Other polls have the race much closer. A recent Rasmussen poll has Lieberman over Lamont by just two points. And, as a reader notes below, the most recent Zogby poll has the race tightening, with Lieberman leading Lamont by a within the margin of error 1.8 points.

The Republican candidate, Alan Schlesinger, doesn't lead in any of the polls and draws just 5 percent among likely voters in the Quinnipiac poll. While even "undecided" is drawing more support in Connecticut now, Schlesinger appears to be unfazed. He says that Lieberman is afraid to debate him more than twice because "he's very concerned that we're within striking distance of winning this election."

In other horse race news:

Senate outlook: The New York Times says today that Democrats "suddenly face a map with unexpected opportunities in their battle for control of the Senate." The Wall Street Journal says today that the GOP is gaining ground and "on course to retain control of the Senate." Why the diverging spin? Here's one reason: The Journal's "battleground" polling doesn't include either Montana or Rhode Island because, the Journal says, those states were considered "solid for Republican incumbents" when the WSJ-Zogby 2006 project began. The latest public polls show Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse neck-and-neck with Republican Sen. Lincoln Chafee in Rhode Island and Democrat Jon Tester ahead of Sen. Conrad Burns in Montana.

Virginia: In a nice bit of understatement, SurveyUSA declares the George Allen-Jim Webb race "volatile." The firm has Allen up by five points right now, but its day-to-day polling over the last few days has bounced around from having Allen up by 11 points to having Webb up by three points. Whatever the latest poll says about the race "cannot be considered stable," SurveyUSA says.

Tennessee: The analysts at CQ Politics have just moved Democrat Harold Ford Jr. into a dead heat with Republican Bob Corker in the race for Bill Frist's seat. "The consensus among state and national politics watchers is that Ford, since the primary, has run a much more effective campaign than Corker, who has faced some dissent among staunch GOP conservatives and repeated allegations launched by Ford and other Democrats about his actions as mayor and his personal financial dealings," CQ Politics says.

Pennsylvania: A new Strategic Visions poll has Bob Casey Jr. up by nine points over Rick Santorum.

By Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

MORE FROM Tim Grieve

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2006 Elections Joe Lieberman War Room